Procol Harum

the Pale 

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Procol Harum Live in Denmark on DVD

The Ledreborg DVD reviewed by Pete Pardo (June 2009) online here

Now this is what the combination of rock band and orchestra SHOULD sound like! Leave it to those cagey veterans Procol Harum to once again (they did it to great effect back in 1974 [1971] with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra) put together a stellar live event utilising this odd pairing and making it work in spades. Set in the gorgeous backdrop of Denmark's Ledreborg Castle in 2006, complete with a moat, lush green grass, trees, and a few thousand fans, this show features the Procol Harum line-up of pianist/vocalist Gary Brooker, drummer Geoff Dunn [Mark Brzezicki], organist Josh Phillips, guitarist Geoff Whitehorn, and bassist Matt Pegg (son of former Jethro Tull bassist David Pegg), along with the Danish National Concert Orchestra and Choir.

The audio and camera work on this DVD are stellar, paving the way for the treasures that lie ahead as you make your way through the set. Though Brooker is the only original member in the band these days, he's assembled a fine cast here, and they bring to life such classics as Grand Hotel, Somthing Magic, Butterfly Boys, 'The VIP Room, Simple Sister, Homburg, A Salty Dog, and of course A Whiter Shade of Pale, Whaling Stories, and Conquistador. Brooker, even at his 'elder statesman' age, is a revelation and an inspiration, his vocals powerful and melodic througout this set, clearly sounding as good as he ever has, especially on the wonderful Fires (Which Burnt Brightly), the emotional Symphathy for the Hard of Hearing, and a truly unforgettable version of A Whiter Shade of Pale, the latter which brought a tear to this writer's eyes. The orchestra added that magical touch to Conquistador, Into the Flood, and really just about every tune here, helping to make this concert even more of a grand and magical event. The band Brooker has assembled here are tight and do these songs justice, and mention needs to be made of guitarist Whitehorn, who plays a mean slide guitar and does his best to replicate the bluesy licks of Robin Trower, David Ball, and Mick Grabham from the original recordings. He even throws in some Van Halen-ish two hand tapping technique from time to time for a neat effect.

As an added bonus, you get six songs from a 1974 Danish TV performance, back when the band had Chris Copping on organ, the lethal guitar skills of Mick Grabham, drummer BJ Wilson, and bassist Alan Cartwright. This show is set in an almost cafe/bar/coffee shop atmosphere, in front of a small, quiet crowd sipping their beers, and the band runs through a few songs, such as Grand Hotel, Butterfly Boys, Bringing Home the Bacon, and The Devil Came from Kansas among others. It's a welcome addition to an already fabulous DVD.

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful stuff here.

Score 5 stars

Other Procol Harum recordings | Procol Harum record reviews | This concert on audio CD | More of this concert on DVD | Order now from Amazon UK or from Amazon USA

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