Procol Harum

Beyond
the Pale

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Gary Brooker Band

Markthalle, Hamburg, 18 February 1983


We know of only this one gig by the GB Band, promoting Gary's second solo album, with a mix of Paramounts and Procol material, other solo tracks of his, and a standard.

An edited version was broadcast in the Rockpalast television series; we believe this is the full set-list (below)

When BtP asked for more information about this concert, Whaler Paul Thelen promptly sent this informative memoir.


This Gary Brooker gig in Hamburg was briefly mentioned on the radio and I heard it by accident. There was to be a Rockpalast event, for subsequent broadcast on TV.

After Procol Harum had been first to play this programme (recorded 17 January 1976) Gary was now invited for his solo efforts. Since Hamburg is 600 kilometres away from where I lived, and it was long before world-wide ticket services a brother of a friend had to get the tickets at the place. This friend I took along although he had no Procol prehistory at all.

The news of this concert hit me right in the middle of the period in which Gary made himself very scarce: 1977 was the last year I saw Procol Harum live, and it was long before the PH reunion and the Rock Meets Classic concerts. Thus, it was no hard decision to go there, but I had no idea what a unique event this one-and-only gig of a Gary Brooker Band was to be.

The Markthalle was a much smaller location than the halls we were used to for Procol concerts and fortunately it was sold out. Overhearing conversations from other visitors before the concert I gathered that these people were well-educated in Procology, since one enthused about the great skills of the Procol drummer and hoped to see him that night again. I myself was in doubt because his personal trademark, the gong, was missing at the drum kit on stage. Unfortunately, my hunch was true and there was not to be that last chance to enjoy BJ once again.

   

What happened then had only little resemblance in sight and sound of a Procol concert, as one could tell right from the opener, Fat Cats. Sound and appearance were equally casual. The promoters of Gary Brooker solo-efforts at that time deemed his Procol merits to be a darker shade of past. And if you look at the set-list you hardly see any reference to Procol history. But nevertheless it was highly appreciated by the audience including my friend, and me being biased for Procol sound. Gary recruited his men for this gig from his actual collaborators with Clapton and Collins, plus all-time fill-in guitarist Tim Renwick.

Fat Cats
Mineral Man
Homeloving
Lead Me to the Water
Say It Ain't So, Joe
A Shot of Rhythm & Blues
Another Way
S.S. Blues
The Cycle
Badlands
The Angler
A Salty Dog
Chasing the Chop
Hang on Rose
No More Fear of Flying

First encore and introduction of
the well-applauded musicians:

Poison Ivy
Switchboard Susan

Second encore

Homburg

 

This mixture of Procol songs, standards and solo material, being first class Rock'n'Roll, kept the audience enraptured as Procol Harum had done before.

Although I must admit, watching the Rockpalast video nowadays, only the Procol Harum songs again could stand the test of time.

Thanks, Paul


Gary Brooker, voice and piano


John Giblin, bass


Tim Cross, synthesiser


Tim Renwick, guitar


Henry Spinetti, drums

 


Gary Brooker's page at BtP Rockpalast website

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