Procol Harum

the Pale

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Palers' Convention and Live Music

Preliminary Field Report

They never really had a name, despite innumerable comic suggestions: but here are the players whose versions of Procol,
Fisher, Trower and Brooker music have whiled away the last evening before the Millennium Concert.

Suffice it to say that we had a fabulous party. A spirit of celebration and conviviality distinguished the whole affair. The band had a whale of a time, and it was a delight to play with Procol’s Dave Ball.

Gary and Franky were surprise guests and Gary sang A Rum Tale at the piano as a present for guitarist Richard Beck. ‘I think Richard should do the right thing by Donna, don’t you?’ urged Gary, at which Richard, from the stage, proposed to Donna … whom he met, online, as a result of his Procoloid net-alias. Hurrah!

This was only one of many delightful and marvellous moments. Many saw tears well in the Commander’s eyes during the swingle solo in Fires (Which Burnt Brightly). Sam gave a very informative and funny talk, and set a challenging spot-the-backwards-clips competition (mp3 here. played forwards!), which was won by Dave Montserrat {answers: A Souvenir of Malmo (Frede Fup), Long Gone Geek (Brut), Power Failure (Leo Kottke), Whisky Train (Dave Steffen Band), Shine on Brightly (Get out of my Fishtank) In Held ('Twas) in I (Transatlantic)}. Henry had brought some great film clips … the late night brigade was still shining brightly at 4.30 am.

Numerous greetings from Palers all round the world, who couldn’t be there, were read out, and well-received. Pam Quinn, whose BJ scrapbook was featured at BtP earlier this year, was one of many Procol insiders whom it was a great pleasure to see.

We also had the first hearing for a new Brooker / Reid collaboration from the Commander and Professor Copping, recorded in Australia earlier this year. We stood and drank a toast to Chris.

Gary and Franky unexpectedly sent a box of Procol goodies to be auctioned in aid of the cause and this process was begun, (thanks, Sev, Tom, Tito in particular) … more of this later.

Later of course we will publish the full set list and a detailed report of all that went on, but when we’ve all had a bit more sleep and when the blisters on my playing fingers have begun to subside. [You can acquire a recording of the Palers' Band concert here.]

Many people, far too many to thank here until we have sorted out a proper list, gave generously of their time, talents and energies. The petrol crisis had made great difficulties with getting people and kit into the town but the Procol spirit prevailed. Perhaps it would not be invidious to mention one name, Dave Godfrey, whose technical work on sound, light and stage management made it possible for the Palers’ band to give of their best with absolute confidence.

We have lots of pictures in the pipeline of course, but for the moment please enjoy these rehearsal shots, taken at the Civic Hall in the afternoon by Linda Clare. You’ll see some studious faces … we had 24 songs to crack in an inhumanly short time with jetlag and adrenalised insomnia into the bargain. And we did it!

Band rehearsal: general view

Greg Panfile, Robert Barnes

Dr Cameron recites Keith Reid

Jane, Peter and Roland rehearse Wreck of the Hesperus

Larry and Tito

Dave Ball and Richard Beck, guitarists born three days apart …

Greg Panfile and Larry Pennisi

Steve Wallace from Australia, with Jens and Roland (Malčne in the foreground)

Antonio Costa Barbe, Wolfgang Lieke, Robert Barnes

Millennium Concert : index-page

Buy the Official 2CD souvenir of the Palers' Band


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