Procol Harum

the Pale

PH on stage | PH on record | PH in print | BtP features | What's new | Interact with BtP | For sale | Site search | Home

Procol Harum at Aalborg, Denmark

Setlist 28 October 2018

Brooker, Dunn, Pegg, Phillips, Whitehorn
with Matilde Isabella Arenholt Mosekjaer
If you were able to be at this show, please send photos, and souvenirs to for sharing with the wider world

A small club, seating about 450 ... quite a change from the capacious halls Procol have played elsewhere in Denmark. Low lighting from glass chandeliers ... something of the atmosphere of the Fillmore West. Audience eager for  music ... largely ignoring the merchandise before the show, but falling on it like locusts afterwards.

I Told on You
The now-standard, twinkling opener. 'You changed the wiring' has all the mysterious, Pinter-like oddness of classic mid-period Reid.

Bringing Home the Bacon
Ferociously swinging version; the little solo cameos including Gary's strangely compressed Christmas Camel intro, alongside Josh's growling Smoke on the Water riff.

An Old English Dream
Gary compounds the Englishness here not with references to Brexit, as heard in past nights, but with references to the two tour tee-shirts, whose colours he characterises as 'Imperial Purple' and 'Bridgewater Bay Mud' (Bridgewater, the unromantic town on the Bristol Channel). The mud there has the property of making old men's skin feel like a baby's ('You know what a baby is? A small adult?'). But Gary clarified that he had this information at second-hand, from a  member of the merchandise team who lives nearby ... 'I haven't felt any of these men myself.'

(You) Can't Say That
High-energy stuff, with good interplay between the fretpersons

Sunday Morning
It's clear now that this song -- though it didn't make the Radio 2 playlists -- was indeed the perfect lead single from the Novum album; as Josh said backstage, he wishes he'd added the plaintive Hammond half-way through verse two as he now does. Tonight's version restored the piano to the intro, taken last night on Montage strings only. It all builds beautifully and earns lavish and protracted applause.

Pandora's Box
The Hammond solo at the end continues the current trend of relying less on sheer speed and more on an intriguing melodic contour.

Simple Sister
Impressive and pleasing clapping from the audience, which for a while hit only the third beat of each bar. By the 'Cool Jerk' bass solo section, however, it was back on 2 and 4. A superb guitar break from GW who'd earlier said he feared he'd be 'too tired to play a note'. Later he advised BtP he had been 'running on fumes ... you can quote me on that.' But where can we get these fumes, Geoff?

A Salty Dog
The song was dedicated (not by name) to a great drummer friend of GB's, who had -- as he remembered -- died on exactly this date.

Shine on Brightly
Played with notably elastic tempo; very warmly received.

Fires (Which Burnt Brightly)
As last night, this featured the excellent Matilde Isabella Arenholt Mosekjaer, singing the Christiane Legrand parts, onstage from the outset, in fetching Bridgewater Bay tee-shirt and leather trousers. A consummately professional and beautiful performance, revisiting the previous night's triumph, and again accomplished with only one sound-check run-through. Smiling band, standing ovations. Quite rightly so. Do other bands have fans of this calibre?

Also warmly received, and with standout Hammond snaking about behind the chorus vocal in the manner of the original single, but not particularly revisiting the notes of that recording.

Still There'll be More
A much-anticipated addition to the tour (which is named after the Boxed Set, not the song itself). This had been sound-checked a few times, but only tonight made the stage. Starting with Geoff Dunn's jungle drums, Gary's hard-edged vocal and piano heralded an uncompromising performance from Geoff Whitehorn, really digging in to a song from the album that got him hooked on Procol Harum (and which many fans still consider the band's masterpiece).

The Only One
Still a spooky rumination on solipsism, with its haunting throwaway lines from a non-existent deity ... 'now figure that one out'! The ensemble-playing grows organically, as on Sunday Morning, but to much darker effect. A great number.

In soundcheck, aided by his 'valet' John Magner Gary often locates a convincing accordion sound on his touring Yamaha stage piano, but I don't recall ever actually hearing it in performance. Some interesting new fills on both keyboards tonight, and the now-standard ending with pistol-pointing from GW and JP, and a snare-shot from GD. How long before performances include the ghoulish Brooker laughter that followed his gunshot in the studio at the end of the original recording?

Whaling Stories
A heavy, soulful song ... but nevertheless preceded by an enquiry, 'Ready, duck?' to the totemic waterfowl that squats on the faux grand, eyeing the audience with its non-existent surveillance camera. Full-force guitar from Geoff, accompanied by vengeful facial expressions on the power-chords. A magnificent performance!

Cerdes (Outside the Gates of)
It seemed unlikely that Geoff would top the excitement of the forgoing, but he did, twice, one solo making liberal and surprising use of harmonics. Marvellous vocal too, great bass and drums as well.

Prefaced by Gary's apposite remark, 'How long have you got, while Procol Harum have an argument about who stole the bottle of Gajol?'

A Whiter Shade of Pale
Two verses, intricate, Baroque-inspired organ solo ending with a fetching rising scale in tenths; typical preamble about the 'hypnotising' effects of the descending bassline, starting with Senza Madonna, then a good long chunk of Air on the G String, reaching the second subject before faltering, then Percy Sledge and Bob Marley. 'All these writers are dead, except me!' quipped Brooker. Great end to a mesmerising concert.


and others ... in hilarious yet convincing cocktail jazz style

Still There’ll be More

All This and More

Don’t Get Caught

Fresh Fruit


In Held 'Twas in I
(with a broad Brummie ‘Held Close’ from Matt, and informal Grand Finale harmony choir courtesy of Kim, Matilde and Roland by the sound desk)

The Teddy-Bears’ Picnic
(piano and guitar only)

Fires (Which Burnt Brightly)
feat. Matilde

I Told on You

Click image for more pix







18 songs altogether: 2 From Procol Harum 1 from Shine on Brightly
1 From A Salty Dog 2 From Home 1 from Broken Barricades
2 From Grand Hotel   From Exotic Birds and Fruit 1 from Procol's Ninth
  From Something Magic   From The Prodigal Stranger 1 from The Well's on Fire
5 From Novum 2 non-album tracks Photos by Erik


Procol dates in 2018 | Booking

PH on stage | PH on record | PH in print | BtP features | What's new | Interact with BtP | For sale | Site search | Home