Procol Harum

the Pale

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Procol Harum at Bloomsbury, 6 March 2005

First review : Cameron Devlin

The quick review: astounding.

Now the long one. When the The Idol began, I knew this was going to be a special one. The whole band seemed at the top of their game, and the sound in the venue really lent itself well to that - especially Mark, whose drumming I've never been more impressed by, maybe because I haven't been able to pick out each individual hit on the hi-hat so easily or maybe because he's thrown a few new tricks into the mix. Josh, the new keyboard player, definitely came into his own very early on, clearly comfortable in the role vacated last year by Matthew Fisher - a tough act to follow (not that he hasn't done it before, but that was over ten years ago).

Picture from Cameron's mobile 'phoneI think the most surprising part of this concert, and the reason I'm bothering to actually write a review of it when there'll be so many others, is the setlist. I've seen Procol Harum four times, since they returned at The Web Festival in Guildford back in 2000, and this was by far the most interesting selection of songs, for me at least. The (previously mentioned) Idol, Luskus Delph, Alpha (!), Kaleidoscope, New Lamps For Old and, of course, In Held 'Twas In I with Keith Reid being the (obvious) standouts.

If I had to make any negative comments, and since this is a review I suppose I have to, I would say that the trumpet sound on Conquistador sounded a bit cheap and was too loud, I could do without hearing The Blink Of An Eye in favour of basically anything else from The Well's on Fire (or maybe something from Prodigal Stranger), I STILL haven't heard Nothing But The Truth (the song that got me into this band) live and, most glaringly, after In Held 'Twas In I the rest of the evening felt a bit aimless (really should have done those last five songs before the final encore and then finished with the masterpiece).

But when I got home at 11:30pm, I fired up the record player, stuck on the first album and I've been going chronologically ever since. It's now 4am and Live at Edmonton is about to finish - only sleep will stop me going further... and that can be put off.

Procol at Bloomsbury

Procol Harum concerts in 2005: index page

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