Procol Harum / LSO: Barbican
High culture met low last night when the LSO teamed up with Procol Harum in the latest example of a crossover concert. Classical musicians are poorer but more free than their rebellious counterparts. Pop musicians, when young, sign a Faustian pact which, in exchange for fame and wealth, obliges them to perform the same half dozen songs for the rest of their lives.
Southend's Gary Brooker, lead singer, songwriter and pianist, fandango'd through A Whiter Shade of Pale with the same hoarse croon that he had used in the 1960s. He always sounded like an old man then but now he has the physique to match. He sat and strained at the Steinway like a misunderstood adolescent while the orchestra played O-level harmonisations of cod Bach.
In Conquistador, the brass had a field day, although for all their huffing their sound was still dwarfed by the casual plucking of the band. In Homburg [sic!], guitarist Geoff Whitehorn played the sort of solo respectable parents used to close their childrens' [sic] ears to. In Grand Hotel, the adaptable Chameleon Arts Choir surged full-throatedly into the fray. Brooker had insisted on a choir. 'We've got to reach nirvana on the night,' he said.
We achieved the foothills on the wings of volume and nostalgia. Inventiveness was not a part of this flashback concert and ultimately the music's unchanging eight-bar patterns and constant [sic] four-four pulse became wearisome. How have they stuck it for 30 years?
Read a suitably brilliant review of the same concert