Gary Celebre writes to 'Beyond the
I attended all three NY area shows (Harrisburg, Westbury and Collingswood), which were all fantastic shows in their own right – although I must say the Westbury show was simply outstanding.
The audience was very upbeat and respondent to every tune Procol played, from the first notes of Shine on Brightly to the last note of Procol's third encore, A Whiter Shade of Pale. Every song that was played resonated forcefully, as fresh as the day begins!
Geoff did a fabulous job on the frets to Wall Street Blues and Simple Sister... the build-up in Whaling Stories was one of the best I have heard. I have seen Procol perform Whaling Stories live many times, but this was just a magical performance by the band !
After the intermission Procol rejoined the stage once again to Kaleidoscope, Blink of an Eye then into Pandora's Box in which Josh displayed his wizardry on the keys! Matt does a wonderful solo in Strangers in Space and Gary's arrangement to Barnyard Story still amazes me ! It's so Procol Harum.
An Old English Dream was next on their repertoire followed by Gary's 'To all the souls that look down from above'... after A Salty Dog Procol left the stage and wished the audience a good night, taking their bows. The audience responded like a 12:00 New Year party! Procol returned to the stage moments later to a belting Whisky Train: Geoff Dunn's drum solo was extraordinary and in Conquistador, both Geoff's riffs and Josh's organ solo were a pleasure to the ears !
Then came "the real surprise", Procol's second encore. The crowd was still a-hootin' an' a-hollerin' when they entered the stage once again (for encore two), Gary played the opening to In Held (a lot of people in the audience still clapping and hootin') didn't realise what Gary was playing. Gary got a bit louder on the piano... it was then the audience got as quiet as a church mouse and something really magic was about to occur! In Held 'Twas in I in its entirety!
UNBELIEVABLE to say the least! An amazing performance! I, along with others at this venue, were in shock! Noone ever expected it. I think what prompted Gary to go ahead with it was the huge audience response throughout the evening.
After the show I had the pleasure to speak to a band member: Gary threw them a curve, they didn't know they were going to do it either!
Gary thanked the audience for letting them 'rehearse In Held', and a third encore followed with A Whiter Shade of Pale, Gary remarking 'For all who have never seen us before, we cannot leave without playing this tune for you.
This is an evening I will remember in mind, soul and spirit for all time. Thank you for sharing your talents and being so generous with your time, to all us fans, Procol Harum!
Procol dates in 2010