Procol Harum

the Pale 

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Gary Brooker and Matthew Fisher on the USA's 'Letterman' show (1)

Larry Pennisi writes: Matthew Fisher and Gary Brooker on David Letterman's television show in 1991: typical late-night fare in the Johnny Carson genre, rather more adolescent even though the man is in his 50s. The man with the glasses is  Paul Shaffer, keyboard player for the 'World's Most Dangerous Band', the Letterman house band. Paul made his start as pianist on the original Saturday Night Live in 1975. Letterman started out as a late, late-night talk-show in the 80s and slowly worked his way up to the 11:30 pm 'prime time' spot opposite The Tonight Show, now with Jay Leno who replaced Carson. Letterman seemed to find humor in Gary Brooker's red jacket and made cracks about ' ...just sit down and don't make any trouble'. That's Letterman.

This was aired in September of 1991, several days before the Procol Harum concert at NYC's 'Town Hall'. Only Gary Brooker and Matthew Fisher appeared and the house band filled in for the rest of the Harum. They performed the opening theme of the show, several Procol songs as leads-out and -in for commercial breaks, an impromptu rendition of Autumn Leaves at Letterman's request for a  New York fall song and The Truth Won't Fade Away.  Paul Shaffer was like a kid in a candy store, making endless tributes to Fisher and Brooker as the night went on. He also alluded to the 'Phantom Lyricist', Keith Reid, during the evening. Songs played during intermissions, of which only minute fragments remain, are Repent Walpurgis, Conquistador and The Devil Came from Kansas.  Paul Shaffer played Hammond organ on Procol's spot tune, The Truth Won't Fade Away, while Matthew played the synth line using, quite obviously, the same guitar sample that was manufactured from his son Peter's guitar and used in concert and on the Prodigal Stranger.

Fisher and Brooker with the studio band (Sid McGinnis on guitar)

 Paul Shaffer

Letterman jests with Brooker at the pianoforte

'... like a kid in a candy store ...'

Matthew plays the sample

The two keyboard wizard men

Nice action shot of Fisher

Thanks to Larry Pennisi, Marvin Chassman, Joan May and Ted McCallion

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