Procol Harum

the Pale

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Procol Harum at the Royal Concert Hall

Words and pictures by Kevin Cooper in The Nottingham Post • 15 May 2017

Procol Harum were at the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham on their 1967–2017 tour, marking the band's fiftieth anniversary.

Début singles do not come more auspicious than Procol Harum's A Whiter Shade of Pale, which was released fifty years ago. Back in Nottingham after twenty two years, founder group member Gary Brooker MBE showed this respectful crowd at the Royal Concert Hall why that song is still the most played UK single of all time.

Touring to promote their latest album, Novum, most of the current line-up have been together since the early 90s. There was bassist Matt Pegg, drummer Geoff Dunn, guitarist Geoff Whitehorn and Hammond organ player, Josh Phillips; all who served to deliver a fine, polished performance.

The set was divided into two – the first half saw them mix old and new songs, with set opener, I Told On You coming from their twelfth and latest studio album.

Their second single from way back, Homburg, came next and with no shortage of back catalogue to choose from, the audience were treated to a sprinkling of Procol Harum throughout the decades.

Other new songs included Businessman and the terrific Last Chance Motel, before As Strong as Samson was showcased with its glorious back swirl of organ. Finishing the first set with A Salty Dog, Brooker had this crowd wanting more.

With these original symphonic rockers still at the top of their game, the second set started with another new song, Image of the Beast. If some vocalists make life hard for themselves by adopting a vocal delivery in their early twenties that gets more and more difficult to pull off as they hit their seventies, then Brooker chose wisely, as his voice was undimmed or withered by the passing of time.

With such delights as Grand Hotel and Neighbour, it was the fabulous Conquistador that was the highlight of the second half. Finishing the show with one of the most recognisable, most majestic and surely one of the most beautiful songs of the late 60s, A Whiter Shade of Pale which was simply stunning.


Procol dates in 2017 | Setlist from this show

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