Carmen la Rosa, for
Photograph (c) Express Image Photography
Although this event has been thoroughly reviewed by Bert and Carina Saraco for BtP, I would like to add my impression since I was one of the winners of the free tickets that were graciously provided for the event.
Although I was raised in Philly, I have been to NY several times, and I am fully aware of the horrible intense traffic around NYC especially this time of year. That’s why my wife and I typically take a bus trip so we can eliminate the driving hassle. However this time we had no option since it was in the evening and any other transportation other than my car was not available. If it wasn’t for Gary Brooker’s presence, we would not have attended this particular event at this time. We live in the Harrisburg PA area and it was a grueling five hour drive to get there.
Paul Winter’s 37th Annual Winter Solstice Celebration was a unique sensual experience in an incredible setting, a true celebration of sounds and visuals to excite the soul. After the opening spectacle with Paul Winter, Gary was introduced and began the evening with A Salty Dog, beautifully played and sung. It’s amazing how Gary can still sing the high notes so well.
Afterwards Gary spoke of this being the 37th celebration of the Winter Solstice in the world’s largest Gothic Cathedral. As a lead into the next song, Gary said that the British have also been celebrating the Winter Solstice for several thousand years at Stonehenge. He said the English can dream about putting a roof on Stonehenge or about winning the football title, both of which were An Old English Dream. (England has never won the European Football Championship, after fifteen attempts over fifty-six years.) This song was also nicely performed with some slight changes from the original recording.
Afterwards, Paul Winter spoke of the late Sir George Martin and his and Gary’s musical collaborations with “the Fifth Beatle”. Paul said that his first Winter Solstice Celebration took place ten days after John Lennon’s burial. Gary then appeared, to surprisingly sing a moving solo arrangement of Lennon/McCartney’s In My Life.
Gary appeared again after the intermission to sing Conquistador surrounded by the dynamic “Forces of Nature Dance Theatre” dancers, a truly exciting visual and auditory experience.
The final Procol Harum song by Gary was of course a beautiful orchestral arrangement of A Whiter Shade of Pale accompanied by the Paul Winter Consort, as well as the massive Cathedral organ. This was a great finale for Gary and Procol Harum’s music. Gary also sang Silent Night along with the exciting gospel singer Theresa Thomason. The reappearance of the light was powerfully expressed by the rising of the Sun Gong towards the ceiling of the Cathedral.
Overall this was a truly magnificent event and experience. Thank you BtP, and
thank you Gary Brooker and Procol Harum for the great music that has inspired me
for fifty years.
Procol dates in 2016 | More about these shows