It was twenty years ago today ...
Well almost. Me and a friend was going to see Eric Clapton Band at Johanneshovs Isstadion in Stockholm, Sweden. I think it was in 1981 [9 October 1981: thanks, Frans]. Iíve never liked Clapton very much, but this was my chance to see Gary Brooker live because I had never seen Procol perform live because the first Procol album I bought was their last!
The Eric Clapton band was EC / Albert Lee (Guitar, Vocals), Dave Markee (bass), Henry Spinetti (Drums), Chris Stainton (keyboards) and the man himself Gary Brooker (Keyboards, Vocals). [NB: significantly, all of these play on the Brooker album, Lead me to the Water RC]
I canít remember very much from the concert, but I remember two things very well. In the middle of the set Gary performed A Whiter Shade Of Pale. I think Gary played a Yamaha acoustic Grand Piano and Chris Stainton played the organ (I think it was a Hammond). Gary and Chris had also a couple of synthesisers. The audience lit their cigarette lighters and Eric Clapton played a long guitar solo!
It was great to hear Gary, but that was the only song he sang I think. Maybe he did some R&B standard or something at the end, but Iím not sure. Maybe they also performed Catch Me If You Can which they wrote and sang together.
The other thing I remember very well is when Eric left the stage and let Albert Lee take over. I remember I had seen Albert in a documentary about Rockpile, but that was all Iíd heard of him. When Albert broke loose in Country Boy I understood why Eric had left the stage. I couldn't believe my ears and eyes! Albert Lee is one of the best country guitarists Iíve ever heard and I think Eric was brave to use him as second guitarist in the band.
Ten years later I saw Procol Harum at Cirkus in Stockholm ... and that was at least ten times better than the EC band!
I saw Brooker with Clapton in Norway (Drammenshallen, Drammen [12 October 1981: thanks, Frans]) on the same tour as Mikael Werkelin saw this constellation in Sweden. I was there to see and hear Gary Brooker and left halfway in the show, after the band's version of AWSoP.
Gary had just released Lead Me To The Water and the band performed Mineral Man from this album. Gary played piano on this tune, but turned to organ (it's true) for a great version of AWSoP. Clapton played a beautiful solo on AWSoP.
Any more Brooker / Clapton reminiscences? Please let us know
|Gary Brooker's page at BtP
|More Brooker concerts