Procol Harum

the Pale 

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A fan's Procol tour diary: Japan (4)

3 November 2003 : Al 'One-Eye' Edelist

Sunday, November 2: I decided to stay in Tokyo and view the sights. The band and crew went on to Osaka (see white schedule below).

I checked out of Tokyo this morning, Monday 3 November, and made my way from Tokyo Station by Bullet Train to Osaka.

Upon my arrival, I saw Chris and Geoff in the lobby of the Osaka Hilton. Chris gave me directions to the venue.

Soundcheck began around 2 pm

This World Is Rich
Something Following Me
The Idol
'Twas Teatime at the Circus
Mabel (part)
Beyond The Pale

Procol travel scheduleIt is now 10 to 5 and Yonin-Bayashi is getting close to completing their last set of the tour.

This is an early show as the band will go on at 5:45 pm.

The Sankei Hall is a nice small venue that seats 900. It has a balcony and yet it is intimate.

The sound at soundcheck was very nice, but not quite as brilliant as at Club Citta.

I am preparing this report as the band is getting ready for their final set in Japan.

5:45 pm Procol Harum takes the stage.


Shine On Brightly
Pandora's Box
An Old English Dream
Grand Hotel
The Question
Simple Sister
The Blink Of An Eye (added to the paper list)
Shadow Boxed
(Whaling Stories not played)
(VIP Room not played)
Beyond the Pale
(As Strong as Samson) played after Weisselklenzenacht
The Signature
A Salty Dog


A Whiter Shade of Pale
Nothing but the Truth (added)
Repent Walpurgis

The Underture starts, and continues into Shine on Brightly, which gets a nice applause.

"Arigato and Good Evening," Gary welcomes.

Pandora's Box has roving red lights with 360-degree swirling white lights around the venue crossing the stage. Gary is in great voice, and Maf provides a wonderful solo.

An Old English Dream gets a nice new solo from Geoff, and he gets a crying sound during the last break. A very mature Procol Harum sound this song.

Nice applause during and after Grand Hotel with the added tango tonight.

Technical adjustment is required for a monitor problem as Geoff is waving to the side-stage tech. It is adjusted quickly.

Geoff starts everyone clapping as The Question begins. The song is accompanied with nice purple and yellow still lights crossing. Maf's solo and Gary's solos and the excellent interplay between Geoff and Matthew move this song along to translate perfectly live. The band gives a prolonged jam tonight which brings big audience response for a usually very polite Japanese crowd.

Gary comments about Rugby and baseball.

Gary thanks RCA Victor for re-releases of all albums through 2015. (I don't know if the date is accurate or just a joking comment.) [Marvellous to hear that RCA had so many Procol albums for sale. BtP learns that the band were treated like true stars and thoroughly enjoyed the Japanese visit]

Geoff is singing "Cool Jerk" during in the first portion of the instrumental passage of Simple Sister.

"You know how long we've been touring? Three days in Japan and thirty-five years around the world."

"We'll play this from our first album. Well, certainly our first year."

Mark is more active on the drums of Homburg.

The Blink of an Eye is added to the set and dedicated to firemen of New York. A collage of colors like rainbows swirling and strobing to the start of the song through the first verse and later again at other points.

As Gary looks through his song sheets, he comments, "Checking my e-mail any chance I get."

Gary notes, "We're playing this song for our friend up in Norway who unfortunately went to Valhalla yesterday" as a tribute to Jens's father who passed away on 1 November. False start in the wrong key. "We start in the right key!" says Gary, in a somewhat Norwegian accent. And Beyond the Pale receives a big response. A second go-around and prolonged an encore for "Hoy": but Gary asks for a "Hai."

Gary introduces the band which draws very nice applause for all. He introduces Geoff as "The man who's saving up for a suit."

Maf is intro'd to play Weisselklenzenacht. Yellow lights streaming on all. A nice and slightly different piano solo from Gary during the mid-passage. A powerful double-pump ending which bring a very prolonged applause and whistling. Geoff débuts another new lead; this one quite different as he used the green guitar.

Gary starts As Strong As Samson by singing "Sometimes the world never changes. Sometimes it just looks bad."

There is a kinda spaceship effect out of mid-solo, and Mark and Matt bring in a reggae feel prior to third verse. This song is very powerful and 'rock', and then concluded with a new, softer, and more emotional ending.

A Salty Dog brings Mark to the forefront again with excellent drumming; like BJ, but updated. The Pearl kit again brings amazing tones. Perfect drumming. The rounded-bell triangle completes the ship's bell effect. Gary sings something at its conclusion that I can't make out.

Conquistador is brilliant, and Maf's final solo is as good as a solo can be.

The set concludes with prolonged unison clapping and whistling.

Gary says, "Thanks Japan! We hope to come back one day."

A Whiter Shade of Pale is just classically played.

Nothing But The Truth is started immediately and came out of nowhere. It was not part of the original setlist. Many in the audience are clapping along with the song. And with all due respect to The Professor and the recent discussions on Hammonding on 'The Beanstalk', MF's outrageous organing here couldn't have been played any more perfectly, imho.

Gary reintroduces the band, and again refers to Geoff as "The Duke of Gravesend."

Gary says, "He's stuck to it and has been there forever, Matthew Fisher!" to a wild applause.

Geoff states, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Gary Brooker" to a massive applause.

Gary leads clapping in time to Repent Walpurgis as he stands behind the Roland-RD 600. Geoff lands a premature power chord before the first band-gathering passage, which brings a funny look and smiles from everyone. The crowd approves anyway.

Matt Pegg is right on with the mid-section (sometimes known by fans as the David Knights' bass passage) and sans the original wrong note double-pumps the bass line perfectly. Geoff provides an incredible screaming Whitehorn guitar. Applause erupts after first of the five power endings as Mark is creating a powerful bottom. Geoff stands in front of the Marshall and gets loud feedback at the ending. And then an additional surprising quick full one-chord ending.

The crowd is now going wild with a Standing Ovation with clapping and yelling.

Gary salutes, "Thanks to Japanese crew, and thanks to the box at the back."

A unison bow as Gary concludes, "Arigato and Sayonara."

I have been sitting to the rear of the theater next to the soundboard. Graham and I agree that it was quite a show.

A guy comes up and thanks me for a great concert, like I really did anything! Of course I made myself noticeable by wearing my " One More Toast" tee-shirt.

The Japan Tour Epilogue will follow.

Oe, the monocular one


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