The group has one of the more exotic names in music, evoking images of the Orient with dancing harem girls and swirling, diaphanous veils.
Yet, Procol Harum is a classic rock-blues group and they brought to Ravinia the other night that old slow drag, four-four beat that makes you tap your feet and drum your fingers.
The English group played to a predominantly young, hip audience who crowded around the outside fence to the auditorium. As soon as the lights dimmed, kids swarmed over the rails, smashing into the Andy Frain ushers and scrambling towards the numerous empty seats near the front of the stage. .
At first it was a losing battle for the husky ushers who took kneeling stances in the aisles with arms outspread to stop the crowd.
The ushers spent the rest of the concert checking tickets and doing a thoro [sic] weeding out of all rail jumpers. One of the larger Andy Frains would collar a bearded fellow and dramatically wave his arm, ‘Out!’. Watching the Frains was almost as good as watching Procol Harum.
Procol Harum was at the mercy of Ravinia’s acoustical feedback during several numbers. This is unfortunate, since Keith Reid's lyrics are generally outstanding.
But if the audience couldn't always hear the words, the strong rhythm of the songs came thru [sic]. Drummer Barrie Wilson had some very good moments particularly in Dead Man's Dream. This song has a surreal sound that's ideal for Gary Booker's [sic] smooth voice.
Booker [sic] does all the vocals for the four-man group and also provides the melody on the piano. Robin Trower on the guitar and Cris [sic] Copping alternating between the bass and organ are responsible for the amplified beat that’s their trademark.
In fact, the Procol Harum sound is the kind of music you want to dance to – and that's what many of the young couples did on the Ravinia grounds.
Highlight of the evening was A Whiter Shade of Pale, one of Procol Harum's more successful songa. The enthusiastic fans got an hour and a half of straight rock – and they shouted for more. Procol Harum obliged with an old-fashioned rock-n-roll tune that started the audience a-clapping and a-stomping.
And then the concert, which many considered far too short, was over.
More concert reviews | Another review of this show | Another review of this show | Press background | 1970 tour dates