Procol Harum

Beyond
the Pale

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Procol Harum at Clarkson, MI, USA

Michael Harper reports 6 August 2012


Some personal observations:

The show was set to start at 7:30 p.m. local time, but the boys took the stage five minutes early, apparently raring to go...

Wall Street Blues started things off (as is the norm on this tour), and it featured a great guitar solo by GW, which really whipped the sparse, but enthusiastic crowd into shape...

Pandora's Box featured an extended ending this time around, which let Josh get to do some clever instrumental interplay with The Commander, who, now some two weeks into this lengthy tour, is still in gloriously good voice and showing no signs of vocal fatigue...

After Homburg GB told the crowd that he is still getting over his "knock in the head," and then, apparently to prove his point, he launched into the intro for An Old English Dream -- in the wrong key. GW was the closest band mate to him and his eyes immediately got big as saucers, but somehow Gary got back on track, and then everything was fine from that point on...

Next up, before starting off A Salty Dog, Gary mentioned that the band was a little lost because they were so "far from the sea," but then he added that they'd just have to "make do with a great big lake." (Two years ago, in Chicago, Geoff Dunn was apparently nursing a broken collarbone, so he wasn't able to add much to this classic -- which, in my mind, will always be propelled by BJ Wilson's amazing percussive track -- but this time around Geoff did indeed prove that he knows his way around a set of drums.)

A sidebar: from A Salty Dog on, every song Procol played got at least a partial standing ovation from the crowd, with full standing ovations for the final two performances...

Simple Sister was slower than usual, and the band was really grinding it out -- I almost expected to see a stripper pop up on stage, complete with stripper pole...

Before Cerdes, Gary mentions the good old days -- namely, their late 60s' shows back at Detroit's legendary Grande Ballroom, which instantly sent me back to that night when they played one of their usual lengthy sets, then left the stage, only to return with blues guitarist Johnny Winter (?!) in tow, who then joins the boys for five more songs (and the sound and image of Johnny jamming along with Robin Trower on Juicy John Pink will forever be burned into my brain...), and then, once that's all over, Procol once again leaves the stage and then returns four separate times to do two more encores each time around. (I'm pretty sure that the club owners had to cut the power to get everyone to leave...) In any case, GW absolutely kills it again on his solo for Cerdes, and the whole band's performance here is spot on perfect...

Also, GW's new solo for AWSoP was very tasteful and underplayed, so the purists in the crowd didn't get upset in the least...

One final note: This year is the fortieth anniversary of Pine Knob's existence, which The Commander duly noted to the crowd, but then he added, "We've been going a bit longer..."  

And, might I add, they're still going strong.


Procol dates in 2012 | More from this author, this tour

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