Procol Harum

the Pale

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Procol Harum in The Kremlin Palace, Moscow

Concert review, 29 May 2001

This report was kindly written for BtP by Evgenyi Makeev: his first text in English.

First Procol Harum’s concert in Moscow
New times bring new seeds. Impossibles came through the barricades of human ignorance and became reality. One friend of mine told me about the possibility of Procol Harum’s concerts here: 'If they (PH) will come here the old chaps will fall the tears'. Time is passing and now I can not believe I experienced this concert …

Wise man told me about our national special feature: we (Russians) bought the tickets on the interest concerts in the last time – close to the begining. I think the ticket’s calculation was good. Only several people sold their tickets in the entrance according to their real prices and some bought them. I noticed one interesting young man (approximately over 20 years old) with the old vinyl album – Polish edition of Procol’s Ninth in his hands. Procol Harum was known here (in the Soviet times especially in 70s) only due to this album – the people imported this edition from Poland. This guy was wearing on shabby clothes and he was lame – he held a stick. I asked him about the price of his album. He answered: 'I do not have money to go to the concert and I would like to get any ticket in exchange for this album – if anybody present me the cheapest ticket – I’ll be happy!'.

The concert hall was full. The main people was over 30 years old. In the centre of the hall were tables with four chairs around each table – this was VIP area. There were candles, water bottles and several little pieces of cakes on each table. I occupied VIP place near the table number 119 and was ready to listen. Waiters scurried everywhere and brought their trays to the people who love to eat (fortunately there were a few such people). Imagine my surprise when I noticed lame fellow at the VIP place! One woman gifted him a good ticket and took the Procol’s Ninth album – what about I got learn later.

Musicians delayed but finally their show was unexpectedly modestly. I saw Gary, Matthew and could not believe that this event is reality. Gary promised to introduce to our people the best Procol’s songs on this concerts (in his interview for the Radio Echo Moskvy). But the main part of the audience didn’t need such introduction. People began to clap their hands after the first sounds of each song and even one man shouted to Gary: 'Happy birthday!' (ain’t no use to remind about that) – it was really special day! In the pauses between the songs the voices from auditorium still screamed Conquistador! Beyond the Pale! A Salty Dog! Pandora’s Box! but Gary filled the pauses with good jokes. And the best Procol Harum’s songs followed one after another … Shine On Brightly, Homburg, Cerdes, TV Ceasar. Gary sang with his strong voice and all musicians played with great coordination, very good and what is the most important in old Procol’s style!

Musicians ended the concert with Repent Walpurgis and it was unexpectedly . When they finished it they all stood up, bowed us and then the band left the stage. A friend of mine joked: 'Gary decided to give himself a gift in his birthday and refuse to sing A Whiter Shade of Pale.' But the audience was obstinated and began to clasp with their hands, shouted, whistled and stamp their feet … And musicians came back! I am in the same age like A Whiter Shade of Pale and then I heard the first notes of this beautiful song - I was ready to weep.

Thank you Gary, Matthew, Mark, Geoff, Matt, all producers and all other people who brought Procol Harum in our Russian land!

Set-list for this gig Index of Russian dates, 2001
Procol Harum concerts in 2001: index page  

Thanks, Jonas Söderström, for the banner!

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