Procol Harum

the Pale

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The Harlequin, Redhill, July 1997

Douglas Adams introduces Procol Harum

Ladies and Gentlemen ...

This is going to be a very, very special evening ... ah ... this is a very, very special band, as you all know. I think um ... even people ... even people who only know that one song know that this is a special band, and I think everybody in the world knows that song. Um, I think they've recently discovered a tribe in the Papua New Guinea which hadn't heard it before [laughter] but they've heard it now, and they like it, and they want to know what all that stuff about the vestal virgins means [laughter].

I ... um ... I ... I know it's going to be special because I was actually here a little bit earlier listening to a rehearsal ... I have to say ... no, I think I'm not allowed to say what's actually on the set list tonight. But there were one or two tracks that I've never, ever heard played live; and I said to Gary, 'I've never heard that played live: that was wonderful!' and he said, 'We've never done it as a band before!' That ... that ... tell me ... this ... I, I, I promise you, that is going to be a real, real treat, it's going to be absolutely amazing.

Douglas Adams making his speech: the bouquet for Barrie Wilson can be seen at the foot of the drum-riser

Um, I have to ... um ... I have to interrupt myself at the moment and  just ... er ... I'm under strict instructions from my sister to say that Gary is gorgeous [whoops from audience!] ... um ... I'm not going to hold you up very long because you want to listen to the music and so do I ... um ... but ... the ... I just wanna tell you how much I ... I've always loved this band ... abso ... I can remember the first, first Christmas, 1967, when I'd been waiting and waiting and waiting for this bloody album to come out, six months after the single ... and ... er ... I think it was every single aunt and grandmother I had, it was on my Christmas list so I had to be absolutely certain that somebody was going to give it to me, and ... and luckily one did, and then that was the whole of ... sort of Christmas taken care of just listening to this album, over and over and over again.

And um ... you know ... all those tracks .. the interesting thing about Whiter Shade Of Pale was the first time you heard it you assumed it was ... err ... that these guys were from Detroit [laughter] and then you hear Good Captain Clack and you know that ... no this isn't Motown [lots of laughter]. Um, what else is on that ... oh err ... err ... She Wandered Through the Garden Fence, later rewritten by Paul McCartney as She Wandered ... She Came In Through The Bathroom Window [laughter]. Umm [someone shouts out Something Following Me ... they're expecting Douglas to have a gag ready about every song!]

There's ... I mean, what's quite extraordinary is that ... you know they reformed again recently, they put out an album, first album for I don't know how many decades ... er ... and er ... and ... and there's one track on it that, that is ... I think is one of the three best tracks they ever made, er ... Holding On [applause]. I don't think they are playing it tonight ... but I want to solicit your help here ... which is ... we will throw the band to the ground and kneel on their windpipes until they play that song [laughter].

I'm not going to hold you up any more ladies and gentlemen, I just want to introduce you to the band, to Procol Harum and to its ... its ... its great leader, musical director, gentleman scholar and Rear Admiral, Gary Brooker [huge applause and yells of approval] ...

Read how Douglas Adams introduced Procol Harum at The Barbican, 8 February 1996.
He was not quite as excited on that occasion: but he wasn't just about to perform with them, was he?

Douglas Adams interviews Gary Brooker

BtP's page about Douglas Adams

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