Here are the edited highlights of Steve Clarke's long NME piece about Procol Harum's gig in the Roman amphitheatre on16 August 1975 (by a sad stroke of fate BtP's lightning visit to the amphitheatre took place on 15 August 1975). Of course if anyone would like to type out the whole piece, they should get in touch!
Tiberius Claudius never saw it like this … Listen, 12,000 European hippies are stashed inside what used to be the Romans’ main gig at Orange, then a provincial capital of the Roman Empire in Transalpine Gaul, better known as France … the rock’n’roll to be presented over the three-day period is predominantly British, Tangerine Dream, if indeed one can call them a rock’n’roll band, being the only Continental act …
So Procol Harum had better be good. And there were, approximately ten times more exciting, more inspired and enjoyable than their first set at London’s Palladium the previous Sunday [reviews here (praise) and here (unpraise)].
Harum tapered their set to suit their shorter time allocation, and rather than spending and [sic] hour and a half warming up they came straight in and did it, combining cuts from their new album (I Keep Forgetting was especially good, the R&B side of Gary Brooker’s voice ideal for the song), old chestnuts like Homburg, Nothing but the Truth, Power Failure and encoring with, surprisingly, Be Bop a Lu La and You Know What.
Only their over-long version of Strauss’s Blue Danube was tedious. Otherwise Harum played as the great thinking rock’n’roll band. There was nothing either doomy or decayed about them. They had fire.
You know, those Romans were smart geezers. Hail Caesar. We who are about to lig …
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