Procol Harum

the Pale 

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Procol Harum - Live (DVD)

'Treats a-plenty for keyboard players '

Martin Bostock writes to BtP with the following clarification of our original review of the Procol Live DVD from Copenhagen. He adds, however, "I should point out that for those of you are not middle-aged wannabee guitar heroes, what follows is a relatively minor gripe, and should not put you off what is a superb record of the band in action! The overall sound and picture quality is quite outstanding."

In your review of the Procol Live DVD you spoke of "long, detailed shots of each musician in turn". True enough but not necessarily the shots you actually want to see!

As a bass player and guitar player I was eagerly looking forward to seeing how Geoff and Matt tackled their jobs. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that the director/camera crew were clearly keyboard fans who seem to come from that lost generation of people who used to film Old Grey Whistle Test in the 1970s.

In other words, they do not understand that what we guitar players want to see is the guitar player's fret hand. It is so utterly uninteresting to see the pick or pluck hand it doesn't tell you anything! But that is just about all we get on this DVD.

True there are occasional (very, very brief shots) of Geoff's left hand but mainly when we see him we just see his right hand strumming away. Snore!

And as for Matt, by the end of the concert I still do not know what model of bass he plays because there is not one single shot of his fretboard or headstock or his left hand. At one point in Bringing Home the Bacon he even plays a stunning little solo. And what do we get? A shot of his head and shoulders! Unbelievably disappointing!

But when it comes to Matthew Fisher well, treats a-plenty for keyboard players. There are even long shots of his hands locked on to a single chord, with no decoration whatsoever. Great if you like that kind of thing! I enjoy seeing him play when he is actually playing something. But just holding down a static chord? Please ...

So. Forgive the rant, but I was disappointed with the camera work, which for me spoils what could have been a minor masterpiece. Having said all that, I can't wait for Saturday when I will be in the front row in the Fairfield Halls.

Thanks, Martin whose own bass playing may be heard here

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