Procol Harum

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Procol Harum at the Bottom Line, 9 May 2003

Elizabeth Bryson reports

Elizabeth Bryson writes to BtP (May 2003) with this review of two Bottom Line gigs (see also her review of the Birchmere show, a few days before)

The Bottom Line is a relatively small club and a place where there are both tables and chairs which are pushed very closely together. Having never been there, at first it seemed a bit cramped, but then it just seemed like a very intimate place to see a concert and certainly a great place to see a concert if the energy is there. It was indeed there on the 9th of May.

One of the first things that became apparent at both the shows in New York was the tremendous energy and enthusiasm from the crowd which also seemed to draw out more energy from the band. There was a barrage of song requests throughout both shows, and particularly during the first show (most of them seemed to be for songs off Broken Barricades).

The band was amazing. There was a passion and synergy that really brought out the music and the words in a powerful, sometimes very touching way. Gary's voice was again in top form and his playing, particularly his left-hand work (which I think is very underrated in the overall sound of the band), was brilliant. Geoff Whitehorn had some incredible solos, most notably Wall Street Blues and Weisselklenzenacht. Once again, everyone in the band played strongly and each stood out in there own way. The overall musicianship of the band is truly outstanding.

There was no denying the energy coming through from the audience and the band. There may have been at least a few requests not played that night, but from what I could see after the shows, no one seemed disappointed in what they heard. The only time I ever felt an energy level at a concert similar to this was when I saw U2 for the first time many years ago during the War tour. It was really incredible.

I wanted to stick around after the shows to perhaps talk with Gary again, but there seemed to be a lot of people there who wanted to meet the band, so we didn't stay afterwards. However, we were there in line early for the first show and when we walked inside the club I saw Gary and waved to him. He said hello and even remembered my name, after having only spent a few minutes with me a few nights earlier. That made me feel pretty good. He couldn't remember which venue it was that he met me in and when I told him the Birchmere, he showed me his Birchmere tee-shirt that he was wearing. We only talked for a couple of minutes before he had to go backstage again. It was really nice to see him again and I hope that we'll get to chat again some other time. By the way, I actually had my camera with me but forgot to take any pictures. Sorry!

Thanks, Elizabeth

Procol Harum concerts in 2003: index page


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