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Procol Harum - Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra CD (album) cover


Procol Harum


Crossover Prog

4.09 | 137 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars If you would exclude some extremely rare cases, I usually don't like the combination of a rock band with an orchestra. The remarkable exception being "El Dorado" (ELO).

What I dislike the most, is the Purple example (their 69 stuff) when the band and the orchestra play separately, with no cohesion. When the orchestra serves as a backup to the band, my judgment is somewhat more flexible.

And it is exactly what happened during this recording. The orchestra serves the music of the band quite well and doesn't look for the major role. When ones knows how symphonic some Procol Harum compositions can be, one can only be guaranteed a great musical experience while listening to this live album, even if major members had left the band at the time.

The band only had a day and a half to rehearse with the orchestra (comprising of fifty-two musicians). Garry Brooker said: "an excited nervousness is present instead of confidence". The band was also using some quadraphonic tape effects in conjunction with the orchestra. Garry goes on: "Keith (Reid) told me that the seagulls sound like they were circling above our heads" (during "Salty Dog" I guess).

The set list is rather impressive. Most of these songs were amongst the best of each corresponding album (at least as far as I am concerned). The revisited version of "Conquistador" is particularly well crafted and wonderfully enjoyable. A highlight (and a hit).

"Whaling Stories" is one of their top three songs IMO, and this version is just on par with the great studio version. The combination with the orchestra fits remarkably well this fantastic number. Another highlight?

If you are looking for emotional tracks, wonderful ballads: look no further. This is it! "Salty Dog" is opening its arms and awaits that you just succumb to its beauty. And it works. Superb.

The only song which probably does not completely belong here is "All This And More" from the average "Broken Barricades" album. But still, it was one of the good songs from it.

Another highlight is of course their epic "In Held T'was In I". It even sounds more impressive than the original version. It was written for this type of interpretation. Definitely. Majestic, bombastic. Magical.

There are two reasons why I wouldn't rate this work with the masterpiece status.

First is the length (just over forty minutes). I guess that their concerts were longer than that (at least I hope so for the audience). The second is of course the absence of "Writer". Rather incomprehensible. How great it could have sound!

Four solid stars for this excellent live album.

ZowieZiggy | 4/5 |


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