Procol Harum

the Pale

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Procol Harum at Utrecht, Netherlands

13 February 1992: another view!

Anyone who managed to get a copy of the 1995 Castle AWSoP CD (ESS X 2048) will be aware of the superbly atmospheric live A Salty Dog and Repent Walpurgis that it includes as bonus tracks. The band actually recorded and mixed the whole of this set, the penultimate night of their 1992 European tour, but the other tracks did not see the light of day, until it was released in September 2000, an excellent live album. Fred Schröter, however, was there in person, and sends the following report:

I have read Bas Möllenkramer's review of the concert at Utrecht on 13 February 1992.

And I thought "well that's funny, his idea about the concert is a bit different from mine" and decided to add some details and a few of my experiences during that concert.

On 13 February 1992 I sat there on the first row with my 13 year-old nephew. His mother and I have poisoned him with our love for symphonic rock which throughout the years has only been produced by Procol Harum. All the other bands just made copies. I only went to Procol Harum performances and I am still sorry I missed the band playing at Uden in 1970: Procol Harum had just become a quartet.

Back to 1992: the band gloriously opened with Conquistador, Gary Brooker playing a digital piano disguised as an acoustic one, Matthew playing like hell but there was no sound to be heard from the organ and he was looking desperately to the sound technician. Mark drumming superbly, oh and yes there was also a guy playing the guitar and someone trotting along the whole time hidden behind a bass guitar.

At the end of Conquistador Matthew began signaling the technician and when Shine on Brightly began there was that famous organ played as only Matthew can.

The listing of Bas reflects a lot of old Procol work but misses The Truth Won't Fade Away which was the first song they played from Prodigal Stranger. It was played just after SoB. I am not sure but I think they played Holding On as well. They also played Bringing Home the Bacon.

The first encore started with Little Queenie (I've never heard or seen Procol perform a rock'n'roll song in the same set as their own material, but most of time they do it for an encore). And this time Gary was not behind that awful sounding digital piano, he was just singing.

What struck me most during this concert was that when they played the songs from Prodigal Stranger Gary stood behind that musical thing he was playing and there was far more energy in it than in the old songs. Eventually even Matthew stood behind the organ. In my opinion the old songs sounded as gray as Gary's hair ...

I liked the new songs much more than the old ones, which were a bit like that feeling that Matthew expresses in Going for a Song.

The most blasphemous part of the evening to me was Geoff Whitehorn playing Whisky Train. He has made a CD called Geoff Who ... Geoff Whitehorn. After playing that CD I changed the name to Geoff Whitrhorn ...Geoff Who?. All the time he started pulling the strings he had that look on his face "This is me, don't you think I am fabulous!!". But why am I worrying about that guitar player and that bass player because my foremost reason for going to that concert was: seeing for the first time in my life Matthew performing live (I think Joan May will understand this). And now I have seen him perform live.

If there is another Procol Harum concert I will only go and see it if they line up with Brooker, Fisher, Trower, Knights and a drummer who is as original in his drumming as Barrie was, and yes I like the drumming of Mark Brzezicki. It may be a good idea to organize a BJ Wilson memorial concert.

A very different review of the same gig

Review of the Valentine concert the following night last gig of the tour

One More Time: the CD recording of this concert

 Fred's review of the Live Album of this concert

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