Procol Harum

the Pale 

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Procol Harum - Live (DVD)

Reviewed in Classic Rock Society Magazine

Some DVDs look like they have been churned out to make a fast buck whilst others appear to have been crafted with love and devotion and I am pleased to say that this fine DVD is an example of the latter. Procol Harum were always a classic band with a fine pedigree but they were also somewhat difficult to categorise having a very unique orchestral sound and they have always managed to intrigue me. I saw them way back (around 1977 / 78) when touring the Something Magic album and was blown away by the way Gary Brooker stamped his authority over the proceedings. Things have been quiet since then except for The Prodigal Stranger in 1991 and the occasional sporadic tour.

This DVD was recorded in Copenhagen on 15 December 2001 and shows the 20th incarnation of Procol Harum in very good form indeed. Gary Brooker is there of course, sitting at the piano with his distinctive voice and is joined by long time band member Matthew Fisher (organ). The remainder of the band being ex-Crawler Geoff Whitethorn [sic] (guitar) and remember he actually replaced the legendary Paul Kossof in Back Street Crawler, Big Country’s Matthew Brzezicki [sic] (drums) and Matthew Pegg (bass).

The 100 minute concert is basically a trawl through the Procol archives and will surely cover all your favourites tracks as they belt through twenty tracks including Pandora’s Box, Homburg, Grand Hotel, A Salty Dog, Conquistador, Wizard Man and Whiter Shade of Pale (the encore, naturally). The hair may be greyer but Gary’s voice is still rich and full and the years literally [sic] melt away as you watch a band still capable of producing an emotional performance.

The camera work is exceptional and all in glorious Dolby Digital 5.1 sound make this an excellent investment. There is also a nice range of extras with an informative family tree, discography and biographies of the band with top marks for the 50-minute feature showing the band rehearsing for the tour and includes a number of songs not played on the tour.

This DVD shows how versatile the medium is and is an essential item for Procol Harum fans.

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