Procol Harum

the Pale

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Procol Harum at Wintershall UK, 2 July 2016

Photographs and words by Michel Birrell for BtP

Having been to a previous Wintershall concert in 2011, I received notification in April of this year's concert and noticed that Procol Harum were listed on the poster. I double-checked with the organisers that this was correct, since there was nothing ‘Beyond the Pale’ wasn’t able to confirm … and because it was a very good bill anyway I decided to buy a ticket and take the chance.

I am so glad that I did as the band did play and there were some other very good sets by other artistes; and I got to see two theatre performances over the two preceding nights, a long walk along the river from Guildford to Godalming and back the day before, and to see Carole King (performing Tapestry in its entirety and other famous songs she had written) and Don Henley in Hyde Park the following day.

Getting to the Wintershall Estate was just as challenging as it had been the previous time. involving catching a ’bus from Guildford to the ’bus stop closest to the Estate and then a 1½-mile walk to the concert site, and having to shelter from a heavy shower on the way. However, it was all worth it once the music began, with a great performance from my favourite band and other very good sets from Mike and the Mechanics, Steve Harley, Roger Taylor, The Jones Gang (Josh Phillips playing some great keyboards on their set of Bad Company, Small Faces, Faces and Who classics), Roger Taylor and Jeff Beck. It even stayed dry for the whole concert.

Procol Harum, with Graham Broad standing in for Geoff Dunn, played a short but very well-chosen and well-received half-hour five-song set. Opening with Man with a Mission from The Prodigal Stranger album with some excellent guitar work by Geoff Whitehorn, they continued with the band's second hit single Homburg. Next up was An Old English Dream off their most recent studio album The Well's on Fire, and their 1972 hit single Conquistador. The final song which as always got the biggest cheer and most applause from the crowd was A Whiter Shade of Pale.

Listening to some of the comments from the audience around me, and talking to people on the way out, Procol’s set was one of the highlights of the day for many people. Gary looked resplendent in a white jacket, black shirt with a black-and-white bow tie and black trousers, and was highly praised in a speech by Edward Hutley for his participation and help with these concerts since their inception.

The evening ended with a magnificent fireworks display; a very kind couple who remembered me from the last concert (once seen never forgotten, with my mop of curly white hair!) gave me a lift back to Guildford on their way home to Somerset. Having heeded the advice contained in an e-mail from the Estate Office the day before the concert, I wore sensible footwear (green wellies) unlike many of the other concert-goers, and kept my dinner-suit clean in spite of its being very muddy underfoot.


Geoff Whitehorn, guitar

Matt Pegg, bass. He may appear to have his right arm in plaster, but that's a trick of the light. Everything is all right.

Gary Brooker, with his batman John Magner in close attendance as ever

Josh Phillips, Hammond and synth

Graham Broad [not photographed during the Procol set, as there was either too much dry ice
or Geoff Whitehorn was standing in front of him. 'I took this during the evening when he was
playing percussion during Roger Taylor's set,' our photographer explains].

Procol dates in 2016 | Setlist 

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