Procol Harum

the Pale 

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Gary Brooker in Poland

28 May 2004

Mac Gajda and Mirek Plodzik report from Poland on the 30th anniversary concert of the band, Budka Suflera (video clip here):

Press release pre-concert:

A Whiter Shade of Budka (from here)
A second special guest of the celebration gig, after Garou, will be Gary Brooker, leader of Procol Harum. "I'd rather say Gary Brooker is our most honourable guest," Tomasz Zeliszewski, Budka's drummer and manager told us. With all respects, Garou is mostly talented and popular, though a young man, whereby Gary is a legend, our idol of our youth. It is therefore our great privilege that he will sing with us. He will sing together with Krzysztof Cugowski a song Dancing with Ghosts from our last album, as well as the greatest hit of Procol Harum, A Whiter Shade of Pale.

After the concert:

Second part of the concert was performed by Budka Suflera band, celebrating their thirty years in Opole, featuring special guests. These included Urszula, Natalia Kukulska, Felicjan Andrzejczak and foreign guests - Garou and Gary Brooker, leader of legendary formation, Procol Harum. Audience stood up to listen to Brooker sing the greatest hit A Whiter Shade of Pale. (from INTERIA website, here)

Concert was broadcast live on Programme 1 of Polish TV nationwide, and shortly before it started Gary gave a five-minutes interview. Asked how many times he performed AWSoP he replied "5422 times, oh sorry, 5423 times!" Next question was about meaning of the words, and the journalist asked if Gary could tell him what it was about. The answer was straightforward "No"; he smiled then, and the journalist looked to be a bit puzzled. Then Gary added "Oh, you know, it's difficult to be understood in Polish, I can only tell you it's a love song." The journalist looked uncertain, not knowing whether it's truth or joke, and changed the subject asking Gary about his previous concerts in Poland. "We played here first time back in 1975, then I played on my own in Sopot, and then a few times more. I think you in Poland like our music." Next question was about a reason of celebration that night. Gary answered, "I guess it's somebody's birthday." "It's Budka's 30th birthday tonight, and yours tomorrow, isn't it?", was the answer.

Half past ten Budka Suflera appeared on the stage and played a number of their hits. Then was Garou, a Canadian singer, singing Georgia on my Mind, and then Krzysztof Cugowski, Budka's leader announced:

"When I first heard this music back in 1967, it knocked me down and changed my life. I've never dreamt I can meet this man and sing together with him. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Gary Brooker!"

Some papers wrote that appearence of foreign guests (namely Gary Brooker and Garou) was the "death" on long festival tradition because there were never foreign singers on Opole stage before. But when Gary, dressed in black jacket and grey trousers, sat down at the piano (Yamaha) after one verse he got a standing ovation which lasted until last sound, and he received the greatest applaud of the night. Gary sang then, together with Krzysztof, Budka's Dancing with the Ghosts, their song from last album (words by Jonathan Carol). There was a big ovation again, and they both performed greatly. Gary showed up again together with all other artists at the final.

The large photo above is taken from very popular daily Fakt, and it shows Gary and Krzysztof Cugowski, Budka's vocalist

Gary is singing with Krzysztof Cugowski on Dancing with Ghosts, Budka Suflera's new song (video clip here)


Gary Brooker in non-Procol concert


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