Procol Harum

the Pale

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Procol Harum: 'The Mother of All Concerts'

Friday 8 March 2013 • Henrik Gøttrup reports

Procol Harum with the Danish Radio Entertainment Orchestra at the Falkoner Centre, Frederiksberg, Copenhagen

I can’t remember how many Procol Harum concerts I’ve been to, but I do remember that the first one was in 1972 or 1973. At that time Procol Harum concerts was psychedelic rock concerts attended by acid-heads, wannabe philosophers trying to decipher the lyrics of Keith Reid and find the meaning of life.

Life was a beanstalk reaching for the unlimited sky, and Procol Harum helped us all on the way to Nirvana.

Most concerts suffered from bad sound. Amplifiers, PA-systems etc. weren’t always checked properly. But it didn’t mean a lot. There was music. And what music !!

From then on the sound-quality at concerts got better and better. You could actually hear each instrument, not just a massive wall of sound that made you deaf for days.

Those concerts were fair, later most concerts were good, the 2006 Lejre concerts were very brilliant and so were the New Year concerts in 2011. Adding a full orchestra showed us all the potential of Procol Harum’s songs. The live recording from Edmonton had given us a taste of what could be made of those songs, but the quality of that recording did not fully realise the potential.

But on 8 March 2013 Copenhagen was treated to a majestic concert, the mother of all Procol Harum concerts. The band and orchestra were tightly knitted: we were awestruck by the musicianship. And a setlist consisting of the Procol Harum grands-oeuvres! Including the Scandinavian première of In Held ‘Twas In I performed by the band with a full orchestra and choir. (see here)

Performing this 'symphony' is no mean task. It’s so complex that it could all have gone wrong. But it didn’t. It raised the roof, brought laughter and tears to the audience. This performance was like nothing you’ve ever heard. It’s a masterpiece.

Whaling Stories usually is the tour-de-force of Procol Harum concerts. Not any more.

Writing these words in the morning after yesterday’s concert I still can’t understand what hit me (and the rest of the audience). All I know is that from now on Procol Harum has set such high standards that even they may struggle to live up to it again. But they’ve surprised us so many times before that maybe they can raise the bar even higher.

If they do they will sit proudly on top of the mountain of rock-bands. At the moment they’ve left so many bands so far behind them, that they can’t even see the Procol Harum tail-lights.

Procol Harum: a humble Procoholic bows before you. This was majestic !

Procol dates in 2013 | Live performances of In Held 'Twas in I

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