Procol Harum

the Pale

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Procol Harum at Longwood Gardens, PA, USA

A brief review by Bill Slish Wednesday 16 June 2010

I had the great pleasure of attending the Procol Harum/Renaissance concert outdoors at beautiful Longwood Gardens, outside of Philadelphia PA on 16 June 2010. I have been a lifelong PH fan and saw them seven times in concert between August 1970 and May 1972.

Renaissance were in good form as the opening act with Annie Haslam looking great and hitting all the notes of the classic songs I heard in concert on their first American tour in the fall of 1973. Long time composer and collaborator Michael Dunford accompanied on acoustic guitar and the new band members were all excellent musicians.

Procol Harum opened with Cerdes, a personal favorite, and it was spot-on with Pegg and Dunn anchoring the eerie riff and Phillips providing the Hammond accents that put it over the top. Whitehorn was a little low in the mix. Broken Barricades was perfect with Phillips on synth and Dunn doing a creditable version of BJ's great percussion fills on the outro. Homburg was poignant with Gary in great voice. One Eye to the Future had a great swinging feel to the tempo. The Devil Came from Kansas was pounded out in strong form and Whitehorn approached Trower's frenzy during the guitar solos. Strong as Samson sounded great with Gary's vocal strong as Brooker. Grand Hotel was powerful and elegant with great piano work by Gary for all twenty-one chords! Wall Street Blues was a highlight for me, as Whitehorn's solos were hot, and Dunn was swinging. I could have dug a little more solo work from Gary as he struck some very funky fills behind the guitar. Blink of an Eye was fine and the concluding chorus of Robert's Box was very powerful, led by the guitar and Hammond chording. Sister Mary had a jazzy feel to the chord structure as Gary shone again on vocal and piano with Whitehorn chiming in. Salty Dog was spectacular, emotional with a soaring vocal and Whitehorn providing the sea gull chirps. Conquistador marched strongly along with Phillips providing the orchestral flourishes on synth to close the set. The encore featured Whitehorn leading a smoking Whisky Train with Dunn providing a great drum break to end the song. Three verses of A Whiter Shade of Pale were heartfelt and Phillips' Hammond was majestic and fitting, including a great solo between verse two and three.

A great setting, a beautiful night, an appreciative audience and a wonderful performance. Bravo to Gary and the band. If this was my last opportunity to see Procol Harum in concert, I left a happy and satisfied listener.

Procol dates in 2010

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