Procol Harum

the Pale

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Procol Harum at Randers, Denmark

Setlist 22 September 2017

Brooker, Dunn, Pegg, Phillips, Whitehorn
with Matilde Isabella Arenholt Mosekjaer

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I Told on You
A great opener still
Pandora's Box
Man With a Mission
‘You’ Can't Say That
Sunday Morning
GB explains that he sings this song in another person's voice: 'I'll be acting.' 'Not for the first time,' says GW. GB explains that he was in the Evita film. The song then starts 'When I leave home every Friday ...' Applause for this number is rapturous and quickly ... as on many occasions in the show ... coalesces into a unified quick quaver-pulse.
As Strong as Samson
Stirring applause also; GB then plugs the Procol Merch Stall, in particular the Fiftieth Anniversary 'Unique Entertainment' badges
Crowd claps along from the opening notes ... they know this material well. As GB said afterwards, the band could have kept time by that clapping.
A Salty Dog

Fires (Which Burnt Brightly)
With soprano solo! Pre-show Matilde, who's known the band's music all her life, was showing clips of own vocal work backstage on an iPad. She sang a few live notes of Fires, then Roland from BtP (just before his merch duties began) accompanied her on the dressing-room piano as she sang the famous scat solo all through, in her rich coloratura. Subsequently Josh 'banged through it' with her again, whereupon it was suggested to the Commander that she might participate in the show. 'Are you up for it?' said Gary. 'Yes' said Matilde. Her appearance on stage was heralded only by a very businesslike Thomas Wyler adjusting the height of Matt Pegg's mic stand mid-song, then, just before the final chorus, the black-clad blonde-haired figure strode on stage and brought the house down with a performance of brio, serious poise,  and sensuous confidence. As GB put it afterwards, 'She went for it!' Matilde ... who sang A Salty Dog with the Procols many years ago at soundcheck ... graduated from the Royal Academy of Music, in nearby Aarhus, in June 2017. Among her other musical work (including ‘Babysalmesang’ … early-months music workshops for new-borns) she works with the vocal group Concordia and trains the Danish Police Choir of Eastern Jutland. Her father has been a Procol fan since 1967 and she saw her first PH show at age twelve; in her own words she was ‘adopted by the band’ at age fifteen and has thus known them well for half her life. Referring to her unplanned feat of musical bravado (or bravada perhaps?) in front of a sold-out hall of Procol aficionados, she told BtP, ‘I was not nervous, though my hands were shaking. I felt totally calm, as if I were among family. Procol are absolute heroes of mine and this evening was something that’s going to remain big for me, I know it.’ Gary Brooker remembers just three previous live performances of the demanding Christiane Legrand vocal solo (whose originatrix recorded it off the top of her head after hearing the backing-track just twice!): one performance by chanteuse Christiane herself, in the 1970s in Paris with Procol; one by Jane Clare (then just 18) with the Palers’ Band (Guildford Civic Hall, 2000); and one by Katie Hockley (also with the Palers’ Band, in Zoetermeer NL, 2016)..

Last Chance Motel
Hilarious and appropriately rambling intro to the next song, about the status of Batman in the 60s; he may have been in black and white, and the special effects unconvincing, but 'with a couple of joints and some acid inside you' his antics were an inspiration. 'Batman isn't actually real,' Gary concludes. 'But if he was, he'd get Trump'. Mighty applause for that ....
Rambling On
Somewhere in this set, a nano-version of 'Keep a Knocking' ... just about eight few tantalising beats
Gary explains about neighbourly rivalry. 'Maybe your neighbour has a nicer wife ... no, if you're Danish, you've got a nice wife (cheers from the audience). If you're Norwegian, then it's a problem
Grand Hotel
Splendid! Complete with Victor Borge antics at the piano
The Only One (fantastic performance, and response)

'Thank you for a lovely evening,' says GB, 'I only wish we could give you something in return.'

A Whiter Shade of Pale
Unusually for this tour, the '500 years of falling basslines' tour: Albinoni, JS Bach from Leipzig; Percy Sledge. Bob Marley ... the reception for AWSoP  was, it need hardly be said, sensational.

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

Many more concert notes were written, in a pitch-black auditorium ... almost entirely illegible / palimpsested in the morning. Sorry.

A marvellous show, memorable for superb music, hilarious banter, an extraordinary guest appearance and, it must be said, most unimpressive lighting. Geoff Whitehorn was obliged to dodge comically about, while soloing, to try and get get into the spotlight provided ... sometimes the band was in absolute darkness ... sometimes there were blinding lights on the audience. The show was a triumph 'irregardless' (horrible new word one now hears even on the BBC) ... and maybe this Randers show suffered by comparison with the beautiful, dynamic  and imaginative lighting at the Portalen gig the night before. Otherwise, though, it was a lovely venue with nice staff and great sound.

Backstage aftershow snaps by Linda Clare


Procol dates in 2017 | Booking

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