Procol Harum

the Pale

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Procol Harum at Upper Darby, USA

Review by Leigh Goldstein 20 July 2012

On 20 July I saw Procol Harum play a pretty uninspired set at The Tower Theater in Upper Darby Pa ... the home of the tremendously  talented Todd Rundgren who hasn't released any music of substance in thirty years.  That is a whole other article.

Procol started out with Wall Street Blues and quickly progressed to As Strong As Samson, a newer tune [sic] that gets  covered  quite often by the band  when playing live. It must be one of Gary's favorites because they play it a lot.

Pandora's Box was a nice surprise and it leads well into Homburg and its slow and hauntingly beautiful melody. It never disappoints me.  I've always loved Homburg. An Old English Dream is pleasant enough as it segues into the incredible and majestic  A Salty Dog, and when Gary can hit the high notes it sounds as beautiful as ever.

Simple Sister  still rocks like a mother and Whitehorn screams as violently as Trower ever did ... he is one master guitar player and his enthusiasm for the music never fails to project  in his larger than life persona ... the old-style guitar histrionics mixed in with the classically oriented Procol music always presents a humorous dichotomy in their visual presentation. How can one not  love Geoff  Whitehorn, as his obvious love for all the Procol music has clearly allowed him to stamp it his own.

It's  always a treat to hear Outside the Gates of Cerdes  coming  from the fully loaded first album which has quite a large collection of songs especially for a band's debut  album.  I always  enjoy the very old tunes as they show such a raw and unfinished version of the band, yet are filled with many glimpses of the promise that  would become so majestic in the future.

A Whiter Shade of Pale always leaves me awestruck in its elegant beauty. It will always be  loved by everyone and it never fails to enrich my soul, in this often dark and soulless world.

Procol needs to be much more creative with their sets these days [as they are, when not constrained to a single hour]. It seems like all the previous shows were using much the same songs, and with their  huge body of work the band would serve itself well by varying the shows significantly. There's no excuse for not having many different songs at each show which keeps the band fresh but also is a bonus for fans who come to multiple shows.

And finally a word about the merch ... or lack of it ...where were all the newer live records that are available at the 'Beyond the Pale' website? [they are available at the 'Beyond the Pale' website ... they don't exist in any physical form]  Where are all the reprint cd re-releases??  People would buy procol merch ... but they won't buy tee shirts for $35!  And  that's what they were selling them for!  I'd buy one for $ 15 and I would have gotten 2 for $ 30, but please don't  insult me with outlandish prices or $ 35 per  tee shirt ... and sell some Procol books...There is a great history of the band called Procol Harum : Beyond  The Pale by Claes Johansen  that is available and there are plenty of great  CDs and  concert DVDs that people would love. As uninspiring as the merchandise counter was at this show, I am afraid that Procol came across the same way this evening ... I would like to see them reinvigorate themselves and their products with the passion and excitement that a Procol Harum concert usually has, because this band still sounds great after all these years.

Procol dates in 2012 | Booking information

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