Procol Harum

the Pale

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Procol Harum at London's Royal Festival Hall

Setlist 3 March 2017

Brooker, Dunn, Pegg, Phillips, Whitehorn
with The Senbla Concert Orchestra and The English Chamber Choir
and Sam, Bam and Wam, ukuleles
Conductor, David Firman
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Shine on Brightly [orchestra, no choir]


Grand Hotel
[lovely piano-playing]

Toujours l'Amour
[lots of orchestral whip!]

Symphathy for the Hard of Hearing
[terrific guitar]

A Salty Dog
[very fine, standing ovation]

In ... 'Twas ... Grand
[three sections from In Held 'Twas in I, probably never heard like this, without the missing parts, before]

[band only, feat. GW on harmony voice, Sam Brown and two other exponents of the ukulele, and GB out front playing piano accordion]

Interval [on the way out, GB tripped and fell on the stairs down from the stage: evident drama as he was eventually helped to stand. So the intermission was greatly extended, while a paramedic validated Gary Brooker's stated intention to go back onstage. His eventual, courageous re-appearance, with bandaged forehead and nose, with one hand 'broken', was greeted with a standing ovation. Read subsequent medical note from Franky Brooker here]

I Told on You [band only: Josh playing GB's piano parts; also feat. Josh on deep vocal at the end of the song])

Man With a Mission

Whaling Stories
[after some chat about how to get started, given that the piano intro could not be played]

[terrific organ solo]

Into the Flood

Sunday Morning
[orchestrated, and with strongly-featured organ: an absolute  highlight, with a spectacular choral climax and superb Brooker vocal]

A Whiter Shade of Pale
[two verses, and audience participation. We were invited to sing along. 'Tomorrow we might all be dead: so have a go tonight.' Protracted standing ovation]

Songs were played with band, orchestra and choir except where otherwise stated. Sound? Not quite up to the mark of the Danish orchestral concerts, nor the BBC's Dominion Theatre presentation in 2014. Nice to hear three new songs from Novum; Neighbour, the Small Faces-influenced comic number; I Told on You, solid and straight-ahead rock; and the single Sunday Morning, greatly enhanced by the orchestration and the presence of organ, which isn't heard on the album version ... and which also had a marvellous vocal performance despite GB's bandaged nose (Geoff W introduced him to the audience as 'the most accident-prone man in show business'!): for those who haven't heard the single (we put a link to it on our What's New page) it starts with more than a hint of Pachelbel's Canon, but quickly takes its own way, and is hellishly catchy as well as having stately grandeur. Good to see Gary backstage after the show, walking tall and greeting his guests, and to be assured that the injuries are not initially considered to be serious (we don't think they will interrupt the Commander's heavy promotional schedule publicising Novum). Also very nice for the Paler contingent to chat with band members and Manager Chris Cooke at our aftershow party at Bar Topolski.

Never a dull moment with Procol Harum! Kudos to Josh Phillips in particular for covering some of the piano parts, on his Montage synth, that GB's injuries prevented him from playing ... and to the whole ensemble for playing so late, and not pulling anything from the prepared setlist despite the onstage problem.


15(17) songs altogether: 1 From Procol Harum 2 (4) from Shine on Brightly
1 From A Salty Dog 1 From Home   from Broken Barricades
2 From Grand Hotel   From Exotic Birds and Fruit   from Procol's Ninth
  From Something Magic 1 From The Prodigal Stranger   from The Well's on Fire
3 from Novum 3 non-album tracks 1 Brooker solo track
Pre-order Novum from Amazon UK / Amazon USA


Procol dates in 2017 | Booking | About GB's injury

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