Procol Harum

the Pale

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No Stiletto Shoes, Chiddingfold Club, Surrey, UK

Setlist: 22 December 2007

Never the Bride

Catherine 'Been' Feeney (piano and organ); Nikki Lamborn (vocal, from Bristol);
'Heathcliff' (guitar); Greg Harwood (bass), John Tonks (drums)


Mercedes Benz

The Janis Joplin parallel is often drawn ... and amply justified


Another Little Piece of my Heart



Two into One Won't Go

 'The Thelma and Louise of rock and roll we go over the edge a little'


Colour him Blue



Feel like Making Love

Been played 12-string and piano. Nikki explains 'we've been together 15 years since we were 5'


The Living Tree

Been played 12-string and organ (watch the band here if you don't know how good they are!)


These Boots were Made for Walking

(dedicated to Gary Brooker)


It's a Man's World

(very long, and with superb organ and guitar solos)


Pinball Wizard

('from Chiddingfold down to Brighton')

Gary Brooker holds an auction: 220 raised for the signed autobiography of Eric Clapton. Then there's a fairly long gap during which Ron, Johnny and the PA people wrestle with a duff mic channel; turns out there's a dodgy cable in the multicore. Eventually it's decided that Andy and Dave will share a mic when the Shoes take the stage. But first ...

Procol Harum
Gary Brooker, voice and piano; Geoff Dunn, drums; Matt Pegg, bass; Geoff Whitehorn, guitar


Memorial Drive

a suitably driving version supported by sensational drumming from Geoff.



Geoff Whitehorn's guitar plays the Fisher organ counter-melody in the choruses, and the slightly cheesy tick-tock clock effects in verse two, which interestingly changed from up-down to down-up amid smiling Brooker / Whitehorn eye-contact.


Missing Persons

Fine guitar lead from Geoff; this was the only song where the lack of organ was felt, to these ears. Still, the song has developed impressively since its first airing in London in July. Will it grow a middle-eight, that's the question.


Whisky Train

Starting with 'Hey Bartender' courtesy of Mickey Jupp: stupendous bass-playing from Matt Pegg and a very strong vocal from Gary. Brief drum solo from Goff Dunn (playing Graham Broad's kit, but with his own snare drum). During this performance people emerged from the dressing room to watch from sidestage and the Chiddingfold audience was stilled by its force and excitement. Very admiring reaction.

No Stiletto Shoes
Graham Broad, drums; Gary Brooker, voice and piano; Dave Bronze, bass and vocal; Andy Fairweather Low, guitar and vocal, Frank Mead, saxes etc; with Geoff Whitehorn (guitar); GB onstage at the start, introduces the players as they come on, then leaves himself for a moment ...



Let the Good Times Roll

Gary, lead vocal throughout, unless otherwise stated; in this song he jumps from his stool in excitement. Frank, tenor. Matt Pegg wielding his Nikon in the wings ...


Mystery Train

Cooking very well from the outset. Andy, lead voice; Frank, two tambourines; a bit of tapping on the bass.


Poison Ivy

Again the song is introduced as 'Parlophone 163'. Dave ('calamine lotion') and Andy (la-las), backing voices; Frank, tenor


If Paradise is Half as Nice

Gary asks what label this Amen Corner hit came out on; after a few false guesses, Andy puts him right. 'Immediate, eh?' says Gary. 'You never got paid for that, then!'. Frank alto tonight; some comic jostling for the mic with Dave Bronze. Andy's black guitar is used on this number, tuned a tone lower since, though he can sing the songs in the original keys ... no mean feat! ... he prefers not to put his voice through that treatment three nights running. So the black EC signature Strat comes out when he wants to sing lower, and it's tuned in open D: he doesn't have to re-learn the songs he's been fingering the same way for forty years.


Shake Rattle and Roll

Andy back to his cream-coloured EC signature Strat; Dave prompts Gary to 'Plug the CD' which he duly does, explaining that 'Someone made a bootleg ... nothing to do with us; and that some of the takings go to 'The Old Folks' (towit, St Martin's Rest Home in Westcliff, Southend). Dave and Andy backing voices. Frank, tenor. After a great passage with a wandering bassline, Gary announces 'Take it up a key' and it seamlessly rises a tone for the final verse. Cick the logo if you want a copy of the CD. We have about ten copies left.


Get up, stand up

Gary, lead voice; call and response backing vocals from Dave and Andy. Frank, tambourine and vibraslap; Andy wah-wah guitar; 'Broady', mostly hihat and rimshots. A long, detailed version of this song: really enjoyable despite its relatively slight musical content. Latterly, a fine alto solo from Frank which, despite its complexity, he is able to end with a vibraslap downbeat! Lots of subtle manipulations of his sound and his instrument, as we'd earlier seen from Geoff Whitehorn (in close-up it was touching-distance one really sees how much shifting of pickups and twirling of volume controls goes on). Gary looning at the piano with hat over his eyes. GB stood all through this number and ended up playing his VK7 which was fitted above the piano on a double stand.  


Lay My Burden Down / Will the Circle be Unbroken

Andy (a Welshman, of course) says he was 'brought up Chapel' as he introduces this number with great affection. Broady plays brushes, moving on to hotrods; Frank plays tambourine, then soprano. Andy, lead voice; Gary and Dave backing voices. For the 'Undertaker' verse Gary summons organ sounds from his piano keyboard; two rounds of piano solo from 'The Rev Gary Brooker' according to Andy.


Santa Claus is Back in Town

Gary plays a piano-solo incorporating Jingle Bells; Frank plays an exciting alto and Gary mimes sax-playing, 'blowing' on his thumb while four fingers flapped before his eyes: very funny. It's now very hot on stage. Andy is playing his cream EC signature Strat, Dave a red Fender Jaguar bass.


Women be Wise

Andy acoustic guitar, Frank soprano, Graham playing with brushes ('whiskers' as our Danish friends apparently call them). Andy and Gary alternate singing the verses: all pretty good! 


Putting on the Style

Andy recycles last night's 'musical amphibian' gag as Gary is getting ready with his acoustic guitar: this time he dubs him 'Railroad Bill Brooker' this time, not 'Real Rude Brooker'. Andy explains that his father had brought Lonnie Donegan records into the house. Andy and Gary, acoustic guitars; Andy and Gary, lead voices; Frank, jaw's harp; Graham, hot-rods. Towards the end Andy asks the band to 'hold it on the one'. 'Which one's that?' quips Gary.


Blueberry Hill

Gary voice and a great piano solo; Frank, tenor; Andy back to electric guitar. Lots of singing-along in the crowd, which was absolutely packed. The 'Usual Suspects' included Heidi from Switzerland, Michel from Jersey, Axel and Juliette from Denmark, Ian from Oman, Stefano and Andrea from Italy, Linda and Roland from Bristol, Peter Christian from London; noticeably missing, Jens from Norway, One-Eye from Los Angeles.


Wide-Eyed and Legless

With a lot of audience participation. Andy singing with the black, detuned EC Strat; Frank, alto. Andy does the band intros during this number. Gary wearing a House of Blues tee-shirt: 'Gospel Bunch, Hallelujah'.


A Whiter Shade of Pale

Just piano and voice, first verse. No Andy ... just Procols (on bass and drums) and Geoff joined the fray after the song had started. First solo from Frank on soprano, second ... admirably fluent ... from Geoff, going very high. Again, no trace of the famous organ melody, but the song works fine without it and was very well-received. Geoff shakes hands with Dave as the song ends.


Goodnight Irene

Andy back in to sing lead on this, Geoff still present. Matt Pegg not playing, but taking photos in various parts of the hall. Frank, one last great alto solo. Andy first verse, Gary second, Andy third. Geoff plays a curiously Swiss-sounding solo exploiting echo on his Hughes and Kettner rig. Dave on backing vocal. Andy mildly fluffed a guitar solo and said 'Bollocks' rather loudly, after which he apologised and said 'I'm already on the M4' (the motorway, or highway, that he takes to get home to Wales). At the front of the audience is Pam Parrott, who tells BtP about a group of people who get together to sing verses of this song for an entire evening, and produces an entertaining and wildly-improbable pamphlet purporting to explain Leadbelly's mysterious lyric in terms of casino cant ('Good nought, I win'). Splendid end to a marvellous concert.





The previous night's show

Procol Harum concerts in 2007: index page

Brooker concerts outside Procol Harum Letter from the charity, and from Gary Brooker


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