Procol Harum

the Pale

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Procol Harum at Paris, France

Ian Hockley's concert notes • 2 July 2014

Kaleidoscope (long introduction, great organ solo)

(nice groove)

GB greeted the audience, apologised for being late. Being waylaid by a "Brazilian Samba"

Missing Person

Simple Sister
– maybe the best rendition I've ever heard, blindingly loud and heavy; Gary Brooker played a bit of air guitar, very good reception.

Then a bit of banter about the World Cup; GB asked GW who had won the tennis, somebody called "ich"? Then if anyone was good at snooker, 
then moving on to 'stay at a hotel run by gay boys because they look after you better”

Grand Hotel (very loose, languid and carefully played)

Gary then talked about how magnificent the theatre was, and asked when it was Built. Someone shouted '1926', but I suspect it is about fufty years earlier: does anyone know? Then long chat about 'bankers' rhyming with "an English world we can't say in public "

Wall Street Blues (long version, but long extended and very bluesy piano solo before verse three. Blistering guitar follows verse three; GB and JP stopped playing completely)

An Old English Dream (GB appeared to have forgotten it completely, so the band started without him; then he stopped the song and asked the audience if anyone knew the words ... it was very lighthearted and funny. It  ended with a few bars of Elgar's Nimrod played by GB alone.

A Salty Dog (preceded by chat about the noise trains make, the three-note whistle inspiring the song etc)


Whaling Stories (again very loose and languid)

Then some chat about the World Cup again, and now “we'll play a samba”

Pandora's Box

Good Captain Clack (one verse)

Bringing Home the Bacon (with the usual little solo interpolations)

Barnyard Story

Shine on Brightly (lovely organ playing)

Nothing But the Truth (introduced as “What Jools Holland calls 'boogie'”, played with weird synth sweeps in the middle eight and Psycho-like string stabs)

A Rum Tale



La Bamba (fragment)

GB introduced the band and got to GW then went off on one about Pocohontas, who is buried in Gravesend. Then we got “Let's write a song about her now” – so we got the whole band improvising on something on Like “Pochahontas a lovely princess, copped her lot in Gravesend”.

Then much fun and games about descending chord sequences ('Albinoni being the first rock star')

So ...

Albinoni Adagio (a good-sized chunk, about a minute's worth)

When a man loves a woman (one verse)

No woman no cry (one verse)

Air on a G string (one ground)

A Whiter Shade of Pale (extended piano cadenza ending)

This was the best Procol Harum gig I've been it for some time; Gary Brooker was in really sparkling form and excellent voice with much banter and interplay with the audience. Théâtre itself was a beautiful place, all red velvet seating, I guess around 800 capacity and a very good enthusiastic crowd, who were all on their feet by the end of a long evening. Show started late just after 8:30, wrapping just before 11 pm. The band clearly enjoyed themselves and GB literally skipped off the stage at the end of the show.

Thanks, Ian

Procol dates in 2014 | Setlist and analysis

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