Silvio Arbiser writes to 'Beyond the Pale' (8 May 2003) from Argentina
I'm an all-time Procol fan from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Since 1968, when I first got exposed to that incredible sound, I always thought that Procol Harum was in a category by itself. In particular, Gary's exquisite mastery of chord progressions ignited feelings inside of me like no other rock composer did.
I lived their latest reunion as a sort of miracle, got tremendously excited after seeing the DVD, greatly enjoyed The Well's on Fire and finally could make arrangements to fly to Boston to live my dream for decades: to see Procol live!
During soundcheck I met Geoff , who gave me a very warm response after knowing I was from the distant Argentina. We chatted for a while as two long-time Procolers should and he handed to the rest of the group my copy of The Well's to be signed. One minute later, there he was, the master himself with a big smile giving me back the CD, already signed ...
How could you put into words and thank someone who has done so much to you during most of your life? While trying to control my big emotions I said thanks to him and tried to explain how important he was, the crucial role he played in the history of Rock (without Procol there might not have happened Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, Queen, and so many others) and that he should deserve even more world recognition.
We went down the stairs to the bar where he had a beer and the bartender took us a photograph. I didn't want to bother him so much , so I said goodbye and just asked him if he could play Fires(Which Burnt Brightly).
I was able to attend the concert in first row, his piano was within my arm's reach. The performance of the band was absolutely superb, the public response was overwhelming. As a matter of fact we were listening to one of the best bodies of work that rock music ever produced ...
By the middle of the first part of the show Gary went into the intro of In Held ... and suddenly jumped into Fires. After finishing that song he pointed his finger at me!
Once the incredible concert finished, I stayed at the bar with my Argentine best friend who lives in Boston, hoping to see some of the band members. After half an hour I saw Matt Pegg coming down, so I went upstairs again and was able to meet Matthew Fisher, had a nice talk with him, took some photographs with the rest of the band and then again could talk with Gary who signed my Salty Dog tee-shirt, my Japanese Salty Dog CD, and shook my hand telling me, "From now on you are my friend".
Maybe he had noticed that I was absolutely enthralled during the whole concert, lip-singing all the lyrics including the ones from their latest record ...
Regarding a comment he did during the concert about the absence of younger public, I told him that I left to one of his aides a CD of just one song, A Salty Dog, recorded in my computer by my 18 year old son, who loves classic Rock (Dylan, Beatles, Stones, Hendrix, Brian Wilson) and thinks Gary Brooker is one of the greatest rock composers of all time...
Long live Procol Harum!!