Procol Harum, Dominion Theatre, gig review: Poised to reclaim their
rightful place alongside Pink Floyd in the prog rock pantheon
When the psychedelic group who soundtracked the original Summer of Love
launch into the 1967 chart-topper A Whiter Shade of Pale still
irresistible to these ears despite being the most played UK single of all time
the rush of nostalgia proves as heady as patchouli.
With a Bach-like prelude by violinist Darryl Way, of Curved Air fame, and the sixty-piece BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by David Firman, Pale remains the Holy Grail fusion of symphonic pop, as acknowledged by the fans who join in on the crowd called out for more.
Indeed, there was always more to the good ship captained by pianist and
composer Gary Brooker, MBE, the sole original member, as they demonstrate with
the plangent opener Homburg, their second 1967 Top 10 hit, and A Salty
Dog, which makes the most of the 40-strong Crouch End Festival Chorus, beloved
of Ray Davies, and closes the first half.
Brooker's affecting vocals share the blue-eyed soulfulness of his late 60s contemporary Steve Winwood on the title tracks of cult albums Broken Barricades and Grand Hotel before the five-piece band and ensemble run the gamut from the pastoral An Old English Dream to the predictable The Wall Street Blues, before encoring with another epic classic, Conquistador, arguably bettering the version from their 1972 hit album Live In Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.
Procol Harum seem poised to reclaim their rightful place alongside Pink Floyd in the great British progressive rock pantheon.
Friday Night Is Music Night presents Procol Harum is broadcast on BBC Radio 2 on Friday 28 November at 8pm.
Procol dates in 2014 | Procol Harum dates with orchestra