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

Britannia Rules the Waves?

Hollywood Bowl: The End of the Evening

SEA CREATURE OR DRAGON? wonders Beverly Peyton

In perusing this godsend of a website, {thank you Jens, thank you Roland} I recently linked on to the page informing fans about the concert at the Hollywood Bowl. It appears to be that no one has bothered to mention the ultimate surprise guest of the evening.

I had flown in from New York and was very excited at the prospect of hearing my favorite band, Procol Harum play live with The Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and The Roger Wagner Choir. A very rare treat. If I remember correctly, Grand Hotel had just been released and this particular setting really lent itself to the pomp and circumstance that surrounded this masterpiece.

From what I could tell, this magnificent concert bandshell sat amidst a wildlife park and would probably make for a lovely way to spend the day as well. It also celebrated the likes of Sir Georg Solti, Isaac Stern and none other than the Beatles. Aside from many other distinguished artists the place was simply exquisite.

The technical problem that everyone has spoken of since was not apparent to me that evening. The only clue of concern was revealed when Derek Sutton approached me and inquired as to how the sound was, from where I was sitting. I recall giving a nod for more volume on the piano. If the audience had any complaints, they could have fooled me. The applause and ovations were equal to my exultations and I was thrilled to be a witness to this event.

When the unfortunate close to the concert neared and everyone started taking their bows, the additional lights made me realize that the stage contained what appeared to be two pools of water or so it seemed, one to the left and one to the right. As Procol Harum re-entered the stage from their right for their third or fourth bow, Gary was in the lead position. Without warning, up from the depths of the stage right pool rose this giant sea creature. It may have been a dragon but, whatever it was, it easily stood some 25 ft. tall and it startled everyone, to say the least.

Throughout the audience you could hear oohs, ahs and then fits of laughter as Gary reached for his heart and fell backward into the other band members. In a very Marx Brothers'-style routine, they began scrambling, as if looking for cover. At the time they were very taken by the movie Jaws so, to those of us who knew this, it had an added element of hysteria.

I wonder where Peter Benchley was that evening!!

Our main page about this concert

More material from Beverly Peyton

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