Helter ruster ikke
Gary Brooker gets older with class
To see Procol Harum at Festiviteten is to take the lift-ride straight back to the late 60s and early 70s, at least for those of us who grew up with Procol’s first albums and the great hit songs.
The band opened hard with The VIP Room from The Well's on Fire – the British band's latest album from 2003. It was unknown material for the bulk of us, but then Gary Brooker turned the time machine back to 1967. Homburg was the band's other big hit, strangely-enough not included on the bands eponymous début album. Homburg showed that Brooker's voice is just as good as in their heyday. He is the undisputed band leader, to the left in the room behind the piano, while Josh Phillips handles the organ on the right wing: he has excellent mastery of the keys, like Matthew Fisher had in his time.
Procol Harum is a strange mix of beautiful ballads with classic origin and short complex pop songs, along with blues such as Something Following Me, one of the evening’s highlights for this reviewer. Guitarist Geoff Whitehorn can also turn his hand to a heavy style: this way Procol Harum stands up as a rock and pop band flirting with many styles, but always with Gary Brooker’s vocal as a landmark.
Procol Harum er en merkelig blanding av nydelige ballader med klassisk utgangspunkt og korte komplekse poplåter. Samt blues som i «Something Following Me», et av kveldens høydepunkt for denne anmelder. Gitarist Geoff Whitehorn kan også være tung på labben. Procol Harum framstår dermed som et rocke- og popband som flørter med mange stilarter, men alltid med Gary Brookers vokal som kjennemerke.
Yesterday evening he was in good shape: his small-talk with the audience made us laugh. But it also put many images into our minds, of class parties and slow dances in the community centre to A Whiter Shade of Pale, which, thank God, came as the second encore: the equally lovely A Salty Dog preceded it.
The concert at Festiviteten was a nice blend of old classics and new songs that most of us haven't heard (I bought the last CD to check out today’s Procol Harum). I would of course have liked to hear the instrumental Repent Walpurgis, and She Wandered Through the Garden Fence. But we did get Shine on Brightly, Simple Sister and the grandiose Grand Hotel, complete with tango and dance-steps. Gary Brooker grows older with style, and so does the slightly greyish audience.
This review is based on the first (closed) concert, and parts of the second which had a slightly different repertoire, and whose audience-temperature was generally higher.
Reviewed online here
Translated by Jens / Roland