Procol Harum

the Pale

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Grand Hotel: the promotional party

Beverly Peyton

Beverly Peyton adds this account of the Procol party at a very Grand Hotel (probably Tuesday 17 April 1973, before the
CW Post concert on 19 April) to her catalogue of Procol reminiscences at 'Beyond the Pale'.

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"Hello, Procol Hairum. Good afternoon!"

"AL-LO? Bev'ely?"

"Yes! BARRIE! HI!"

"QUICK! GO RENT A TUXEDO! They're throwin' us a bash at The Plaza tonight!" (As was Barrie's nature, there was that ever-distinct and welcomed laugh).

I knew Procol Harum were due to arrive that week, but this particular call came as a surprise, so I suspect according to tour dates, that
there might have been a diverted night for the party in New York with a return a day or so later.

Barrie and I completed our conversation and no sooner had I placed the receiver back in the cradle, Keith and Dickinson phoned to extend the same invitation only they didn't mention renting a tuxedo! Everyone sounded happy to be back in New York and I, of course, was elated to say the least! I had been receiving bits and bobs about the release of Grand Hotel so this party must have meant something special was about to unfold. I don't ever remember anyone giving them a party quite this elaborate!

I finished things at work and raced over to my favourite local boutique, 'A Stone's Throw'. Funny how certain things stick in our minds. I recall entering the shop very excitedly saying, "Doris! Dress me! I haven't time to decide what to wear!" There wasn't a proprietor in the neighbourhood who wasn't aware of my affiliation with the band given the name of the salon so it didn't take much to cause a stir. Just for laughs, I toyed with the thought of actually renting a tuxedo, but decided the black and white suit complete with voile silk Hawaiian print blouse set off the red heels quite nicely. I was ready to ROCK and ROLL! I was ready to PARTY!

After securing a few incidentals from home I was off to The Plaza. I had discovered staying overnight in the city was less of an expense than taxiing back and forth so I reserved a room, which surprisingly enough, (if I am not mistaken), only amounted to $28.00 per night. My accommodations weren't anything spectacular given the age of The Plaza and I can still envision the pipes that ran along the ceiling. Be that as it may, one couldn't help but sense the glamour, opulence and charm while roaming about the establishment despite my meager lodgings and of course... the service was impeccable and certainly a treat given the company I was in!

We arrived in *grand* fashion all of us ... dressed to the nines. This legendary hotel which boasted hosting the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald was about to become part of Procol Harum's history, but who was thinking that far ahead? To say we were all spirited was putting it mildly and seeing that invitation now gives rise to the rumour that my pocketbook could sometimes resemble Pandora's Box! That in turn almost caused us to enter the room of a wedding party rather than attend the party being given in Procol Harum's honour!

This whimsical invitation to the Grand Hotel promotional party (where BJ met Andy Warhol ... see here) was kindly sent to BtP by Barry Sinclair ... see his website here.

A monocled ostrich, sporting the garb of an Edwardian toff, steps out towards two crinolined ladies equipped with a plainly-inadequate parasol.

The text, with its oddly-spaced line-breaks, reads ...

Grand Hotel

The grandeur of your grace
is expected at the place

The essence of your presence
can never be replaced

So come in style, stay
a while and get
properly spaced.

Procol Harum / Chrysalis Records

As I recall, some of the entrances contained names such as 'The Baroque Room', 'Louis XV', 'The Blue Room' and 'The Grand Ballroom' which needless to say, had us very confused. You'll have to excuse my memory ... perhaps the invitation meant for us to attend the 'Edwardian Room'! However, after much consideration it might have been 'The Terrace' since the room did actually have a terrace that overlooked the view below where most everyone was gathered. In fact, the landing was where Carly Simon and James Taylor chose to spend the evening rather than join the masses.

Someone finally escorted us to a huge dining table in the centre of the room. I don't recall spending much time being seated, but gather we dined at some point. Most of the night was spent laughing at the penguin suits. The boys couldn't have been more entertaining, exchanging routines every chance they got and I can still see the Professor's grin which never faded from sight. And of course the highlight of the night was when, amidst the crowd of what appeared to be hundreds, BJ came barrelling toward me with the man sporting 'blue' hair ... "This is Andy Warhol! He wants to put me/us (motioning wildly with his hands) in one of his movies!!!!"

Aww, Barrie ... I think everyone wishes he had!

Thanks Beverly!

More about the Grand Hotel album

More from Beverly Peyton

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