Two German fans kindly wrote to 'Beyond the Pale' in the hours following Procol's 23-song Hamburg gig. Here are their impressions of the concert:
The concert started at 9.05 pm and ended 23.35 with a 15 minute interval.
It was a great event and I must say it was the best Procol Harum I ever heard (I didn't miss a single concert in Hamburg over the years, starting in 1968 when they toured with the Bee Gees).
After playing Shadow Boxed someone shouted "Gary, you promised to play Every Dog Will Have His Day". Gary answered, "Oops, does anyone know the chords it's written in?" and Geoff said, "We're vegetarians now". Then the Commander wandered through his song book and began to play a few notes while Geoff and Mark looked quite interested in what he was doing. And suddenly it seemed he found the right chords and they all started playing a wonderful version of the song, with Gary making that barking sound from the beginning throughout the whole song. That's how we came to be hearing that song for the first time played in a concert.
Listed on the setlist for the encore were AWSoP and Repent Walpurgis. But surprisingly Gary started to tell and play the complete intro of In held 'Twas in I which led directly into This World Is Rich.
As you can see on my entrance ticket, in Germany they don't even know how to correctly write the band's name. Maybe my ticket is a rarity, as others had tickets on which the name was written in the right way. The commander almost twisted his tongue when announcing Weisselklenzenacht in German!
Yes – I have been there last night and it was much different from the two times I have seen Gary performing before. First time I have seen Procol in Hamburg at the Prodigal-Stranger-Tour. I remembered that it was in a classic building called "Musikhalle" and there where a lot of magic moments with standing ovations (specially after Grand Hotel) and a very moved and sentimental Gary.
Then two years ago I have been in the "Fabrik" to see Gary with the Rhythm Kings. It seems they all had a lot of fun at this evening and Gary was doing a lot of jokes and even dancing!
Yesterday to me seems different. The beginning was – frankly spoken – not very moving : only a short 'hello' and some pieces of music so the crowd was also very quiet. But it turned out much better – it seems as they started to enjoy playing in such a strange building, where you have people standing on the second floor even behind the musicians so they can cheer up and wave to the people on top of them (maybe a little bit scared if some beer might drop down?).
I was smiling all the time because it was funny to see Matthew always taking his glasses when he had to change some adjustments at his instrument and then taking them off for playing.
I think it was a mistake to make a break because it took place when the music was powerful and the audience really liked it. After the break again it took some time to get the crowd, but then Gary was more and more doing jokes and the band seemed to have a good time.
After the final reprise (AWSoP – surprise, surprise) they left the stage and I was little bit moved because Gary really looked old and tired with his back down. I hope I will see him again on stage in Hamburg and I hope they will continue to write new songs because they really fit in the programme and so, fortunately, it was not that kind of "oldie-tour"!