Procol Harum

Beyond
the Pale 

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Procol Harum : 'Live at the Union Chapel' 

Reviewed by Richard Solly for BtP


Just as people unfairly compared The Well's on Fire with The Prodigal Stranger I suppose we're all going to be guilty comparing the Islington DVD to the Copenhagen DVD. OK here we go ... Copenhagen was breathtakingly clear but sanitised to the point that it lacked atmosphere. No such problem here.

I was fortunate enough to be at Islington and I can tell you the DVD is a fairly accurate reflection of what happened that night. The audience-reaction is too low in the mix really and the crowd shots whilst a good idea to have them in black and white seem a bit amateurish. Perhaps I'm only saying this because there is a superb shot of the lady sitting next to me but only my nose, elbow and glasses are visible. Perhaps this would have attracted a PG classification from the censors. I suppose I'll spend the next few weeks scouring the sea and scaling the globe for another microsecond of me on this DVD.

The alternative shots I could do without frankly but the atmosphere is enhanced greatly by interviewing people at the bar. This was a very good idea.  The interview with Gary Brooker is also well worth it.

As I've said this DVD really captures the evening well. As I remember it the band really started to warm up during Quite Rightly So and by the time they got to Simple Sister they were absolutely cooking. This comes across perfectly on the DVD. It was the end of the tour and Procol were out to enjoy themselves. Every Dog Will Have His Day was a good example of this and was great fun. 'Tis a shame Wizard Man was axed especially as the version on 'Copenhagen' is a bit effete. We were all standing during this one clapping along so perhaps it didn't come out too well ... it was just the anger of the moment perhaps. But there is plenty here for everyone to enjoy. Everyone in the band performs extremely well. Procol Harum are a very exciting band and I'm so honoured to have been there.

You see some DVDs and you have to listen to see if people are miming or singing these days. Not the case here though. Eagle have left in a  few rough edges. Although slightly edited they don't shy away from showing GB desperately trying to find the words to The Question or Matthew with an intensely glum 'Did I leave the gas on?'  look on his face at one point. A couple of bits are uncomfortably off-key but this is what makes PH live so exciting ... that subtle hint of danger.

It's only rock and roll ... but I like it :-)

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