Procol Harum

the Pale

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Procol Harum at Freising, Germany

Setlist Oakapple Day, 29 May 2014

Brooker, Dunn, Pegg, Phillips, Whitehorn

If you were able to get to this show, please send us your photos, souvenirs and bulletins

The gig opened with an outstanding set from the band RPWL. Anybody who likes the music of Pink Floyd is strongly advised to check out this outfit, which was enjoyed, backstage, by the Procols, and, front of house, by a large and very appreciative audience. Kalle Wallner in particular is a terrific guitar player. The set (which started on the dot of 8 pm and lasted exactly one hour) was: Shine on You Crazy Diamond, Welcome to the Machine, Have a Cigar, Wish You Were Here, Shine on You Crazy Diamond (reprise, with instrumental solos) and the encore, Money.

Bringing Home the Bacon (last-minute modification: double-length (4-bar) feature instrumental breaks: Matt's was his characteristic lightning tour of the upper fretboard strings (for his 55th gig of 2014), very bright!; Geoff's was a terrific brief drum solo; Gary's was a bite of Sugar Plum Fairy (Tchaikovsky) followed by a dip into the Hall of the Mountain King (Grieg); Josh's was an extra helping of Smoke on the Water).

Happy Birthday to You sung not by the band but by the audience in recognition of the Commander's birthday. 'Gracias, soixante-neuf' was his multilingual response.

Pandora's Box

An Old English Dream (preceded by some topical banter about the World Cup, in which Germany came second in 1966)

She Wandered Through the Garden Fence (which had been aired briefly at soundcheck)

Grand Hotel (with band intros, and the story of GB's birth, 'listening from his mother's tummy' and 'coming out when the bangs had stopped' on the cessation of World War II)

Missing Person (with impeccable snare reverb supplied by Geoff Curtis on sound)

Barnyard Story (performed not by Procol Harum but by 'The Procol Onstage Revue')

Wall Street Blues (with a titanic guitar solo)

The Blink of an Eye (dating, said GB, 'from the time I bought my first ISA')

Simple Sister (as at the last gig, at Leffrincouke, super mandolin-effect from the guitar, assisted by GW's new 'appliance' and its sophisticated modulation capabilities)

A Salty Dog (dedicated to St Ignatius, 'the patron saint of sailors)'

Beyond the Pale (dedicated to 'the website run by Roland Clare and Jens Jensen, who have brought a lot of friends along')


Encores (after a long gap and much hollering and singing of 'Happy Birthday')

New Lamps for Old (heard also at soundcheck: very attractive reharmonisation, namely a major chord for a minor, in bar six of the verses)

A Whiter Shade of Pale (starting with a good-length piano quotation from 'Air on the G String', going into a full verse and chorus of No Woman No Cry (sung also by the crowd), then a fresh organ melody over the opening AWSoP chords, then verse one, and a chorus, then a guitar solo, a bit of When a Man Loves a Woman giving way to a piano solo (with organ elaborations), leading to the usual second verse, chorus, etc, and finally a climactic statement of the iconic 1967 organ theme).


15 songs altogether: 2 From Procol Harum   from Shine on Brightly
1 From A Salty Dog 1 From Home 1 from Broken Barricades
2 From Grand Hotel 2 From Exotic Birds and Fruit 1 from Procol's Ninth
  From Something Magic   From The Prodigal Stranger 3 from The Well's on Fire
1 non-album tracks 1 Brooker solo song

Very nice to see John Magner on stage again, as part of the Procol crew; a particular job was to fetch GB's 'snotrag', which ended up as a headband during the curtain calls

After some signing for the audience, the musicians, crew, and fans removed to the band's hotel, for a convivial couple of hours' chat; the bar stayed open, and the evening ended in the reception lobby where, once the remainder of last night's Methuselah of bubbly had been drunk, Gary Brooker (in his capacity as a ship's captain, and in his naval jacket) officiated at the marriage of Brendan and Kellie, who had come from Ireland presumably not exactly expecting such an eventuation.

A memorable day for everyone, from a pre-breakfast conference which saw GB singing a rare Procol song in the car park, while one of the BtP webteam played the tiny piano on an iPhone right through the dramatically impressive gig to the bonhomie of the surreal, marital finale. Thus ended the Brooker Birthday Celebrations in Freising.


Procol dates in 2014 | Booking

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