Procol Harum

the Pale

PH on stage | PH on record | PH in print | BtP features | What's new | Interact with BtP | For sale | Site search | Home

Procol Harum at Liverpool, UK

Setlist • 10 May 2017

Brooker, Dunn, Pegg, Phillips, Whitehorn
If you were able to be at this show, please send photos, and souvenirs to for sharing with the wider world

I Told on You [If anyone knows a catchier or more appealing number about whistleblowinmg on the radicalised, I'll be interested to hear it]
Still There'll be More
[a brilliant gem, with organ solo then guitar solo and a raging leading vocal]
Last Chance Motel
Pandora's Box
As Strong as Samson
Sunday Morning
[received with applause from the first notes ... beautifully performed, with added Hammond]]
[first time live on stage ... very convincing!]
A Salty Dog

Image of the Beast
An Old English Dream
[Part of Blowing in the Wind]
Grand Hotel
Can't Say That
Cerdes (Outside the Gates of)
[Part of When I'm 64, for Peter Williams from Southport, whose birthday it was]
[Happy Birthday to You, for Emma Phillips, whose birthday it also was]
[works very well later on in the programme]
[Fragments of Tchaikovsky from the piano: Nutrocker, and Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy]

The Only One [exceptional]
[Parts of For No One, Air on the G String, When a Man Loves a Woman, No Woman No Cry]
A Whiter Shade of Pale
[three verses; piano solo, then guitar solo, and magic drums in verse three]

18 songs altogether: 2 From Procol Harum 0 from Shine on Brightly
1 From A Salty Dog 1 From Home 0 from Broken Barricades
1 From Grand Hotel 1 From Exotic Birds and Fruit 1 from Procol's Ninth
0 From Something Magic 0 From The Prodigal Stranger 1 from The Well's on Fire
8 From Novum 2 non-album tracks

Superb atmosphere, lots of very inventive playing; hard to recall a more enjoyable PH show. Novum songs already sounding well integrated in the Procol set ... shall we hear Soldier or Somewhen on this tour, that is the question! (Or Honour of course).

Mike Kidson sends this excellent addition to the setlist page. As he notes, 'Anything below in quotation marks should be taken as ‘or words to that effect’ rather than accurate reportage!'

Still There’ll Be More was introduced with the words ‘I think this is from our fourth album?’ :-)

In a moment of silence prior to Last Chance Motel a lady somewhere in the circle called out ‘Gary, I luv you!’ in a pronounced local accent. Amid much laughter from the audience Gary responded with ‘Isn’t that sweet? I haven’t heard that accent for years.’  The lady repeated her statement, to which Gary replied, ‘Tell you what, you can be the girl in this song’ (a somewhat backhanded  compliment, considering the fate of the lady in the song!).

Almost immediately after Last Chance Motel the band began, without preamble, Pandora’s Box, to an audible ripple of applause and appreciation from the audience. The same reaction greeted the announcement of As Strong as Samson - there was a lot of love in the audience.

Possibly before As Strong as Samson - memory already fails me – Gary launched into an extensive comparison of Manchester and Liverpool which is perhaps best left unquoted (but it was in Liverpool’s favour). He also asked what county Liverpool was in, ‘Lancashire or Yorkshire’: repeated shouts of ‘Merseyside!’ from the audience resulted in the comment ‘so Liverpool’s in its own county’, which went down well.

Some time around this point in the proceedings Gary expounded on a theory that the British sea ports were the great centres of ‘50s/’60s r’n’b because they had direct access to American singles - ‘You’d get singles that hadn’t been released over here. And Levi jeans – if you had a pair of Levi’s in the ‘50s, you were king!’.

Sunday Morning was prefaced with the comment ‘We’re playing quite a few songs from our new album – I hope you don’t mind.’ (the crowd indicated that they didn’t), then ‘I like this one at the moment – and I’m fussy.’

A rumination about how many people from the band’s history have passed away concluded with the comment ‘We’re getting a bit gruesome, aren’t we? Anyway, this song is for all those who are no longer with us.’ A Salty Dog followed:  I’m not ashamed to admit that I had a tear in my eye.

On to the second half. An Old English Dream was prefaced with some comments about how the country is in a bit of a state, ending with ‘...but we’ll get it right.’ Grand Hotel was prefaced with some chat about how ‘we used to stay at the Adelphi – now we’re on a bus, staying at an Ibis...’.

Neighbour was introduced with ‘You can all sing along to this, except you don’t know it, but maybe one day you will. Does anyone hate their neighbour?’ Various cries of agreement were heard from the audience. ‘Rotten, isn’t he?’ said Gary. ‘I bet his sweet peas are already ten feet tall! Let’s get him!’

At some point during the second half, Gary somehow started talking about Eurovision, and how impressed he was that Ralph McTell (‘We love Ralph McTell’) had written a Norwegian entry which gained ‘nul points’. This was followed by ‘He’s Matt’s Uncle Ralph, isn’t he Matt?’, and Matt stepped up to the microphone to say ‘He was allowed to spank me when I was naughty!’

To put the setlist description of various classical music quotations prior to Conquistador into context, Gary had previously said something like ‘You know if the Royal Liverpool – mustn’t forget the Royal! - the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra played with us, I bet we could raise the rafters’ (to which Geoff responded with ‘Yes sir!’ Gary then played a comically-botched version of the opening to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 before launching into the Tchaikovsky fragments mentioned. Geoff did a little dance during Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy.

Finally, the list of quoted songs preceding A Whiter Shade of Pale resulted from Gary commenting that ‘A lot of songs have descending chord sequences... The Beatles did one, didn’t they?’, followed by an instrumental stab at the opening of For No-One. During Air On The G String, Gary commented ‘Hamlet’ before breaking off and saying ‘But we can’t smoke in here.’ As he began When A Man Loves A Woman he commented ‘I hope I can manage this, it’s a bit high’. (He managed superbly, making me wish he’d done the whole song.) No Woman, No Cry lasted for a full verse and a chorus before it ended, and Gary said ‘We’ll do one of our own.’

Thanks, Mike, for text and picture

Come back to this page soon ... more concert notes when quotidian priorities permit

Procol dates in 2017 | Booking

PH on stage | PH on record | PH in print | BtP features | What's new | Interact with BtP | For sale | Site search | Home