Ross Taylor writes to BtP (7 May 2003)
I'm sending this without out looking at George's so resolving the differences between our accounts can provide employment for future scholars.
Had the silly urge in the parking lot, lobby etc. to ask people "So, y'all here to see Procol Harum?" The two couples I did talk to were fellow Virginians, never seen Procol Harum before, didn't know about the website. I think they thought I was a roving BtP promoter. Saw fliers for BtP in the merch area. Saw LOTS of people who looked like people I've seen in BtP photos, i.e. several potential Allens, a number of guys who looked like Jens. How bizarre – a big room full of Procol fans! An experience I'd like to have again. A friendly fellow asked me "Are you Frank?" just as I was in a big hurry to get back to the ticket office.
We were in the Maf zone, straight back from Matthew, two or three tables forward from the back wall.
Robe of Silk
Gary looks at his book, asks for requests. "We're not just here to make a fortune playing at the Birchmere, we're also on the run from the British tax office." Elton John makes lots of money, "But is he really happy?"
Wall St. Blues
Gary about Beatles "Dr. Robert" –"We never really went in there, of course" – laughs
Gary reads note: "Dear Gary, would you like to join the Strawbs? Hm, that must've been from these guys" [the band]
Gary drinks his Guinness "If this was 1972 there would've been some acid in that."
Short piano solo; 2nd solo, Geoff as BB King (I realize there's a lot of him in his playing & facial expressions); 3rd, nice organ solo; 4th, guitar/organ trade-offs
Gary "Keith Reid couldn't be here, he's out in California accepting an award – for Biggest Asshole in the World." Big laugh. "He usually lives in Tribeaca in New York City, and he was in a nasty mess a while back"
The Blink of an Eye
Gary – stuff about touring Norway, then "there's a little website we've got nothing to do with, so we should be even more grateful, never even been to it but apparently it's very good – we'll dedicate this to it" [Roland – at this point my friends made well-meant but pointless comments like "Ross, that's what you were talkig about earlier" so I didn't get GB's exact quote]
Beyond the Pale
More jokes – Gary "but seriously, folks"
Shine on Brightly
An Old English Dream
Introductions – finally, Gary: "And looking very relaxed on the vibes, Adolf Hitler!" looking at Maf. After a bit, Matthew calls up a vibes sample & plays a few notes. Gary says lots of nice things about Matthew, incl. "He wrote this next thing to pay his mother back for milk money from 1963." Crowd is excited about Maf.
A Salty Dog
… band leaves stage, big standing ovation
Piggy Pig Pig
A Whiter Shade of Pale
During next to last instrumental break, Gary points to Maf "on organ, Matthew Fisher": big cheer
Gary "we had a great time and we'd like to be back"
No problem dude. You don't even have to call before you show up.
Over all, I was a tiny bit disappointed that the guitar filled in so many places where I was hoping for more Gary or Maf, but I'm totally won over to Geoff. He looks really natural, no prancing rock star, and he can play the blues. Band was tight, sound was good, my friends & I remain blown away.
Stood in line for a bit, but had baby sitting issues & wait was long, so left, alas.
Have fun, all of you on down the line!