It was upon a freezing Warsaw night on 14 December, six years ago. Almost 2,500 people came to the Congress Hall for legendary British rock group: the one of the best live performances that I have ever seen. And I hope the audience shared my feelings. The band was late and a little nervous before the concert. Then I could notice a few lapses of musicians' playing during the show, especially in its first part. But it was an insignificant matter because they were playing from the bottom of heart and "that 'transcendative vibration' stopped just half an hour before midnight". No one grumbled on high price of tickets (about 100 US dollars).
Thanks to this gig I could meet one
fantastic guy from Holland. This 'flying' Dutchman – he owned a company
specialising in complicated international air-logistical projects – arrived in
Warsaw just on 14 December for his business trip. Someone from Polish Airlines
got the ticket for him and then he went to the Congress Hall to relish great
music. And he wrote fine report about this gig for
BtP and obtaining two "Bin Laden" tee-shirts from John Grayson's stall.
[To clarify the 'Bin Laden' reference, click
here and search for 'mirthlessly': of
course such shirts never existed, nor would Procol have endorsed, or indeed
tolerated, them if they had. The shirts in question are the standard, iconic
Salty Dog ones]
In those days we did not know each other yet. Probably in 2002 I needed some information about Dutch affairs for my new novel and sent mail to a man I had only heard about. From this time we became colleagues and sometimes meet together in Warsaw. Finally Jos – not only businessman but also writer and traveller – sold his company and then published unique album titled Poland 1963.
I am writing a book inspired by his inexhaustible II World War archive and his passion. Just a few days ago Jos and his wife Truus invited me on special business party. Where? In my city, in my home. When I came out on to Warsaw street after the party I could see under the roofs bright skyline of Palace of Culture and Science where this memorable concert took place six years ago.
Automatically I thought about 14 December 2001 and that is why I decided to write some words about that fantastic event that I can not forget. Please enjoy of a few unknown pictures of the concert that I selected from my photo box:
Gary Brooker at the piano
The inimitable style of Matthew Fisher, brilliant at the Hammond
Matthew Pegg on the electric bass
Geoff Whitehorn, electric lead guitar
The man they call The Commander
A brace of Matthews
The full band with their long-serving and popular drummer, Mark Brzezicki