Procol Harum

the Pale 

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A fan's Procol tour diary: North America

9 May 2003 : Al 'One-Eye' Edelist in New York

Today's soundcheck is bits and pieces of guitar, drums, and checking the microphones. Gary playing a bit (very softly) to himself of The Worm. Then the band plays the following: The Emperor's New Clothes, An Old English Dream (then the same to practise harmonies), Quite Rightly So, The Blink of An Eye.

Keith Reid arrives and we have a brief conversation.

The following are Palers who attended either or both of the Friday gigs, known to me through present and previous introductions (a number of these people attended one or all of the European parties):

Stefano Ciccioriccio and Andrea his son, from Rome, Italy (also attended the Paler Parties and the Italian Tour)
Unsteady SchizoFreddie (Manchester veteran)
Marvin Chassman (Guildford and Manchester veteran)
John Oman
Bob Kloner (DJ #6)
Jeff Gauthier, Kansas
Tito Davila (Guildford veteran)
Sam Behrend, Tucson
Kentito Segall, NY
Phil Dinauro, NY and attended Guildford
Mike Chaudhuri (Lewisham and Manchester veteran)
Tony Sadowski (Manchester veteran)
The Saracos, Bert & The Lovely Carina
George Lovell (veteran of gigs too numerous to list)
Joe Driscoll
Don Milione (Manchester veteran)
Ken Stasion (Manchester and Croydon veteran)
John Ferrari, Texas
Jeff Levine (Manchester, Croydon)
Charles Pitluck (Croydon)
Alan Semok
Karl Baker
Larry "Cerdes" Pennisi (Guildford, Manchester, Croydon, Lewisham)

The Early Show:
Standing-room only in the club, and a standing ovation as Procol Harum comes on stage. The sound is very clean and crisp.

A guy yells out in what seems a fake Irish accent, and Gary comments about he didn't realise there are that many Irish here, which gets a big laugh.

Gary says they are staying in a pit, and being paid to stay there. "But once we stayed at hotels where each room has a string quartet." He gets a bigger laugh.

Wall Street Blues: I don't believe I mentioned that during the musical bridge, Geoff's lead replaces the piano lead.

Big cheers at the end of the first verse of, and the end of, Homburg.

Also big cheers for Shine on Brightly. This song is nailed, and Matt's bass lines are astonishing. Matthew's solo gets a big response, and this song is perfect; the band is perfect and receives a massive standing ovation.

The crowd is energetic. The concerts preceding these have brought the band to an advanced state of co-ordination and co-operation between players. They are a tight-knit group and full of energy.

Gary jokes again about paying $45 for a room and $50 for breakfast; and they - the hotel - thinks they're ahead.

Geoff receives a nice applause for his solo on As Strong as Samson, which gets the featured reggae touch during the third verse.

Gary asks for a Heineken and four straws, if anyone's at the bar.

Matt plays an amazing melodic bass on Fellow Travellers, and this song receives its best audience response of the tour, imho.

Here come the Heines! Gary yells out for a whisky.

Lots of requests. He says, "How about The Worm?" and he jokes quickly about spoken words.

Crowd falls in love with M&M: sorry, but you have to see this one. Geoff gets off on the crowd yelling "to the bridge." So Far Behind receives a very favorable response.

Band stays stationary as Shadow Boxed's last note fades.

Drum fill in last chorus of A Salty Dog is perfect. Major standing ovation!

Beyond the Pale is played, but no tribute to the site on this occasion. Gary says they "... found Valhalla above the fjords and some good acid."

Introductions: Gary introduced as "Him" by Geoff.

Weisselklenzenacht is beautiful and hand-bell sounds come through cleanly this evening. Massive Standing Ovation prolonged for a half-minute.

Same response for Conquistador and AWSoP, the encore tune.

Gary thanked me for coming on tour at my own expense and helping sell the tee-shirts and CDs. Of course, I missed this tribute as I had run to the restroom prior to the encore so I could feel relieved prior to the onslaught of fans exiting by the merchandise booth. I told Gary and we had a laugh.

Second Show

Just the highlights:

Maf was noticeably active and enjoying himself immensely during VIP Room.

Gary jokes. "The last time we played it was in '95 at the Pompano Beach Quiet Riot show just prior to Grand Hotel." Tony and I shook our heads in agreement as Geoff completes the lead solo. This was just as punchy with the tones as it was recorded.

This crowd doesn't appear as wild as the early show's group.

Gary jokes that the band are out because of the money - "Not really."

Ad libs a blues opening like he does for Whisky Train as they start Wall Street Blues and the crowd reacts to Geoff's awesome solo.

Nailed Homburg! An awesome Piggy Pig Pig!

Mark plays a drum fill that catches Gary off guard. It's a beautiful fill that caught me off guard as well, as I love the drumming on The World Is Rich. This one was complete BJ!

For Shine on Brightly, Gary asks "Is it B flat with a seventh?" The crowd goes nuts during Maf's solo. A Major Standing Ovation.

As Strong As Samson, a full, clean sound. Mark creates nice beats. Simple Sister has brilliant rhythmic build-ups to the guitar solo. Matt Pegg is very animated, and the band stands motionless with the sustained ending.

Tonight, imho, An Old English Dream has finally come around as a live song.

Robert's Box ... but they don't tell Maf, and just start. They stop so he can set the Hammond. Kinda looked like a practical joke because Gary commented about 'Who needs a doctor'.

Standing ovation for A Salty Dog.

A massive response again for Maf as the follow-up to Repent Walpurgis is introduced. Again this evening the crowd's mistaken reaction to The Signature first note, and Weisselklenzenacht gets its nightly crowd reaction.

The night concludes with a three-verse AWSoP which tears down the house.

The crowd responded to "And the crowd called out for more" at both shows. At the late show, Gary asks the crowd to join in for the last chorus which brings a thundrous applause at its conclusion.

Great evening! Every one is buzzing. And thanks, Cerdes, for helping me at the merchandise booth.

--oe, the monocular one

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