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LIVE IN CONCERT WITH THE EDMONTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

Procol Harum

Crossover Prog


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Procol Harum Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra album cover
3.99 | 86 ratings | 13 reviews | 42% 5 stars

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Live, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Conquistador (5:02)
2. Whaling Stories (7:41)
3. A Salty Dog (5:34)
4. All This And More (4:22)
5. In Held 'Twas In I (19:00)
i) Glimpses Of Nirvana
ii) 'Twas Teatime At The Circus
iii) In The Autumn Of My Madness
iv) I Know If I'd Been Wiser
v) Grand Finale
Bonus track:
6. Luskus Delph (3:38)

Total Time: 45:17

Lyrics

Search PROCOL HARUM Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Gary Brooker / lead vocals, piano, orchestration
- Dave Ball / guitars
- Alan Cartwright / bass
- Chris Copping / organ
- Keith Reid / words
- Barrie James Wilson / drums
+ The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra
- The Da Camera Singers

Releases information

LP Chrysalis CHR 1004 / LP Chrysalis 6307 503 / LP A&M SP 4335 / CD Repertoire RR (1997)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to ProgLucky for the last updates
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PROCOL HARUM Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra ratings distribution


3.99
(86 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(42%)
42%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
43%
Good, but non-essential (12%)
12%
Collectors/fans only (4%)
4%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

PROCOL HARUM Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!!

Most bands have one day the wish to realize their fantasies and one of those is to play with a philharmonic orchestra. Most of those projects are awful (Deep Purple) because the composer of the rock parts is not strong enough to use the orchestra as a single instrument. Some were under-rehearsed (Caravan), as this is so expensive to pay all of those musicians to rehearse, just for one night even if it is recorded.

And then comes along Gary Brooker, who by himself is a philharmonic orchestra and looking at the numbers that they did here is plainly evident: the man wrote most of his songs as a classical musician. Conquistador had passed unnoticed in 68 but with this version will become another smash hit. Whaling takes on a new life, but the real gem here is the Held Twas suite. Another two ntracks from A Salty Dog are also of great use. The funny thing is that gary Brooker and no real formal training at directing orchestras, but he is a natural at it as his arrangements are probably the most successful from a rock musician, ever.

On the downside, Copping moves to the organ (he was the bassist, but does a credible job as organist), Cartwright takes up bass duties and Dave Ball is trying to fill Trower's shoes, which of course is impossible. But this album serves as a turning point of the previous era (a sort of recap if you wish) and opens up the second era where Brooker is given freedom to expose his grandiose and pompous projects. The recent re-issue gives an extra track in Lukus Delpht, BTW

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#30779) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, May 24, 2004

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars All conquering

The Moody Blues "Days of future passed" represents one of the earliest collaborations between band and orchestra. Deep Purple's "Concerto..." also offers an early example of a live album involving both. For me though, Procol Harum's "Live in concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra" was the first truly successful integration of the sound of an orchestra into the music of a band. Both the albums mentioned above tend to segregate the two factions, with either orchestral pieces or band performances, but the two do not perform together throughout the album. The music tends to be either symphonic or rock, not a true blend of both.

On this album, Procol Harum use the orchestra simply as an additional band member. Others such as Caravan ("& the new Symphonia"), Yes ("Yessymphonic"), and the Moody Blues ("Red Rocks"), have successfully done so since in a live environment, but for me, PH were the first.

The appeal of this album is enhanced significantly by the track selection. Those chosen invariably lend themselves well to orchestration. The opening "Conquistador" has been transformed from a good rock track to a bombastic symphonic overture, with rousing bursts from the brass section, and an astonishing vocal performance by Gary Brooker. Brooker's distinctive vocals never sounded better than they do here, he's clearly enjoying himself! This would have made a great theme tune for the film "Gladiator".

"Whaling stories" and "A salt dog" are similar in pace and structure, both gaining an awesome majesty through the orchestration.

If side one of the album demonstrated how relatively short pieces could be greatly enhanced through the addition of an orchestra, side two presents the ultimate collaboration. "In held twas in I" was way ahead of its time when it first appeared on "Shine on brightly". Here it becomes a symphonic masterpiece. The multi-tracked vocals of the studio version are of course gone. While they were effective then, they tended to make that version very much "of its time". Throughout, band and orchestra play as one, building the tension, then breaking it, only to rebuild again. Dave Ball's guitar work is superb throughout; even when dominant, it is still controlled and melodic.

"Live in concert..." stands even today as the template for others follow when it comes to combining band and orchestra. It benefits immensely from the quality of the songs selected, but the performance also, is superb.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#30782) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, September 11, 2004

Review by Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars After some years of looking for this album, I finally found it in C.D. some years ago. The recording and mixing of this album are very good, very "clear", one of the best live albums from the 70s. This album was recorded under some tension due to Procol Harum having to rehearse with the orchestra and with little time to do it. If someone wants to read a very good history of this album and reviews from this concert, visit the excellent "Beyond the Pale" website: www.procolharum.com . The live version of "Conquistador" was released as a single and it was a hit. B.J. Wilson`s drums are very powerful in all the songs. The orchestra and choir also add power. "Whaling Stories" is dramatic, with a combination of heavy orchestra sounds, choir and lead guitar by Dave Ball (in his only album as member of Procol Harum)."A Salty Dog" has the gulls recording in the background as the studio version. "All this and more" is played with a different arrangement in comparison to the studio version, particularly the drums, and it has an extended finale. The great "In Held 'Twas In I" has Gary Brooker and Keith Reid reciting some verses in some sections. This song also has a section called "'Twas Teatime At The Circus" which in my opinion has the same sense of humour than the "Willow Farm" section of Genesis ` "Supper`s Ready". "In Held 'Twas In I"`s "Grand Finale" section has an excellent piano section played by Gary Brooker complemented very good by B.J. Wilson`s drums, the choir, the orchestra and a guitar solo by Dave Ball. My C.D. doesn`t have the bonus track.

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Posted Thursday, September 16, 2004

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is a truly fantastic live album. I like most of the original versions of these songs in the studio albums, but the orchestrations have brought much stronger spirit in to them. The opener "Conquistador" sounds so good, that it makes me feel it was originally intended to be scored for an orchestra. "Whaling Stories" is maybe the band's best track in my opinion, and this is an ultimate version of it, the chorus bringing awesome power to it and the calm and aggressive parts have wonderful contrasts. "A Salty Dog" is also a great song, and this is surely much better version than on the original album due better orchestration and tension of live performance. The closing number "In Held 'Twas in I" works also much better here with symphonic orchestra than on the original studio album I think. There are some slight alterations in its arrangements, and the grand finale is truly one of the most solemn moments of progressive rock's history I have yet heard. Thus a very recommendable classic album.

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonpää (BETA) | Report this review (#40075) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, July 23, 2005

Review by daveconn
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars A bloated white whale of a record. Procol Harum only has the one song that I'd want to hear in an orchestral setting, and it isn't here. Instead you get a boatload of mediocrity covered in baroque ornament like the side-long "In Held Twas I" or tentative tales like "A Salty Dog." An ELP can get away with this, Crimson too if they wanted, but not Procol Harum. Outside of a few scary moments on "Whaling Stories" or patches of "In Held Twas I," prog's dark chess pieces stay in check. Someone should have told Gary Brooker that he simply doesn't have the voice to offset an orchestra. He treads water some of the time, sinks under the surface others, and is only occasionally rescued by a nice drum fill from B.J. Wilson or guitar solo from Dave Ball. Honestly, prog live albums were as much about spectacle as sound, and there are very few I actually listen to often (ELP, Rush and Yes come to mind). Live In Concert will be going back upon the shelves soon to die a quiet and dusty death. It's not just a bad record, it's laughably bad in spots, a postcard of poor taste from the heights of pretension. When the audience erupts into applause at the end of "In Held Twas I," you wonder whether they're pleased or relieved. All that said, Live In Concert charted remarkably well in the US, sold over a half-million copies and produced a hit single in the live version of "Conquistador." I admire that Procol Harum tried to elevate their medium with an orchestra and chorus, I just don't like the results.

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Posted Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars One prerequisite that I need to warn you before you pen an opinion about this album: remember, this was initiated and recorded in 1971 when the band stopped in Edmonton as part of their tour. At that time there was not that much an idea as merging orchestra into rock music. Oh yes, I remember Jon Lord (of Deep Purple) made an effort with his orchestral album "Windows" when rock meets classic. Or Deep Purple who made "Concerto for Groups and Orchestra" in 1969. The Moody Blues did the marriage of rock and orchestra in their legendary album as well: "Days Future Passed". In a word, Procol Harum was not the first one to do it. But, it was very rare that a rock group played with an orchestra in a recorded concert. So, please don't compare this album with Yessymphonic or Dream Theater's "Score". You might compare it with Rick Wakeman' s "Journey to The Center of The Earth", I think.

The band had been considering recording in North America, and the foresight of then-ESO Assistant General Manager Bob Hunka enticed Procol Harum to the Jubilee Auditorium. The ESO had previously collaborated with Canadian band Lighthouse for what had been an extremely successful show. Hunka was eager to find another group with which to collaborate. He said as much to legendary rock writer Ritchie Yorke at a chance meeting. Yorke immediately suggested Procol Harum.

But more than that, this recording made orchestral history. The album, released originally on A&M Records, became the first album with an orchestra to sell "gold." It eventually achieved "platinum" status - again, a first. The recording has been hard to find for a while. In 2002, the German-based Repertoire label reissued the recording on CD, digitally remastered and including a bonus track: Luskus Delph, which had been recorded at the same legendary ESO concert, but not included on the original vinyl LP.

By all measures, this album is an absolute masterpiece. By the time I listened to this album I was quite happy that "Conquistador" (5:02) was excellently performed. Even the original version I already love it very much and this time the band performed with an orchestra - it's really great! My other favorite "In Held 'Twas In I" (19:00) was performed excellently as well. It's a MUST for all of you who love classic album especially with orchestra. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Note: Some quotes from the Edmonton Journal, November 19, 1971 used without permission.

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Posted Sunday, September 17, 2006

Review by ZowieZiggy
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.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#171802) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra" is a live album release by UK progressive rock act Procol Harum. The album was released in April 1972 through Chrysalis Records. The album was recorded at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on the 18th of November 1971 in front of a capacity audience of 3000. It is up until now the best selling album release by Procol Harum. The original album featured 5 tracks but some later CD releases include the track "Luskus Delph" from the "Broken Barricades (1971)" album as a bonus. In addition to the band themselves the album also features The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and the choir The Da Camera Singers.

The tracklist more or less perfectly represents the first four albums by Procol Harum. "Conquistador" is taken from the debut full-length album "Procol Harum (1967)" (incredibly enough they left out their arguably greatest hit "A Whiter Shade of Pale"), "In Held 'Twas In I" is taken from the second full-length studio album "Shine On Brightly (1968)", "All This And More" and "A Salty Dog" are taken from the third full-length studio album "A Salty Dog (1969)", and "Whaling Stories" is taken from the fourth full-length studio album "Home (1970)". Strangely enough there are no tracks from Procol Harum´s most recent album release at the time "Broken Barricades (1971)" on the original LP version, but as this was a special occasion concert with an orchestra, the band probably picked the tracks they felt would work best within that concept and cared less about which album the tracks came from.

Many rock acts have at various points in time worked with a classical orchestra and some have failed miserably, but here the collaboration mostly works wonders. Some of the compositions are given a boost that lifts them to a higher level than the original studio versions. The orchestration works with the compositions and not against them which is generally the problem on other failed attempts at pairing a rock act with a classical orchestra. I´m especially impressed by the live version of "Conquistador" which works particularly well. "Whaling Stories" and "All This And More" are also great in these versions. "A Salty Dog" is a beautiful song and here it´s given just the right orchestral treatment. However the major attraction on "Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra" is the epic 19:00 minutes long "In Held 'Twas In I". The studio version is an adorably piece of progressive rock but this version is lifted to new heights by the addition of grand orchestration and use of the choirs.

The musicianship on the album are generally on a high level. The band seem confident and are well playing throughout the concert. One of the features I noticed was the great guitar soloing by Dave Ball. Gary Brooker´s vocal performance also deserves a special mention. He is such a strong and distinct sounding vocalist. He doesn´t skip a note or sound strained at any point during the whole performance, which in my world is quite impressive.

The sound production is well sounding. Organic and warm, which suits the music well. Procol Harum might not be the most challenging progressive rock act on the scene in terms of complex song structures (with some exceptions) and focus on technical playing, but they generally write some very memorable and still very intriguing material featuring a warmth that´s rare. Their material are extraordinarily melodic with catchy hooks, but still sophisticated enough not to be confused with mainstream pop/rock. The collaboration with The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and The Da Camera Singers have only added another layer of sophistication to their music and along with "Shine On Brightly (1968)", "Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra" is among the most progressive releases in the band´s discography. A 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is deserved.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#230934) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Review by Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars As far back as I can remember I've always been drawn to and enthralled by two forms of music in particular. Rock & roll and symphonic. As a young, snot-nosed brat I became familiar with the former by sneaking into my older sister's room (a big taboo) and listening to her Elvis and Buddy Holly 45s when she was away from the house. The latter through cartoons in which some character like Bugs Bunny would conduct an orchestra and via my mom's purchases of specially-priced "world's greatest music" LPs at the local grocery store. Those records brought the likes of Ludwig Van, Schubert and Tchaikovsky into my living room and I would stand atop the ottoman positioned between the stereo speakers as I dramatically led the musicians with a chop stick, imagining I was Leonard Bernstein. Both genres were somehow able to penetrate the usual adolescent obsessions I had with organizing scrub baseball games and racing bikes with my neighborhood hoodlum pals in order to make a lasting spiritual impression on my soul. The baseball and bikes are long gone. The love of music remains.

Therefore, the dream of someone combining those two genres into something cohesive and fulfilling was logical. And that wasn't a fantasy possessed by me alone. Others the world over shared that same desire. As progressive rock music exploded in the mid-to-late 60s and early 70s many groups felt challenged to scale that formidable Mount Everest and plant their flag on its peak. Alas, what seemed so natural and inevitable turned out to be frustratingly difficult and as elusive as arriving at a finite decimal point for pi. The Moody Blues dog-paddled around in the concept with mixed results, Deep Purple boldly recorded a concerto in the Albert Hall that fell flat as a runway model, and Yes swung for the fences on their sophomore outing but came up short, just to name a few. Technical advances in the science of recording have allowed some of the more recent attempts to come close to realizing the ideal (Parts of Yes' "Magnification" and Dream Theater's live "Score" are quite remarkable) but I'm starting to think that, ahh, we may as well try and catch the wind. With that concession in mind, Procol Harum's "Live in Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra" from 1971 is as good as anyone else's stab at finding that Holy Grail, especially when viewed with proper perspective. I only held off buying a copy for 38 years (due mainly to being bushwhacked by the "rockestra" concept so many times) but now that I've given it numerous unbiased spins I can honestly say these boys did a bang-up job and deserve to be commemorated for their effort.

Probably no one on the planet was as surprised by the success of the opening track, "Conquistador," as the staff at Chrysalis Records. There was nothing like it on the radio charts but the song's exotic, Carmen-ish trumpets bouncing over the sprightly violins at the opening and the tune's memorable melody captured the fickle fancy of the public and a classic cut was born. You'd figure with good reason that not only this number but this entire album would've strolled right up my alley yet I was somewhat ambiguous about it. B.J. Wilson's too-loud drums always seemed clunkier and looser than should've been tolerated and that production oversight tainted the experience for me. Yet I must acknowledge the sizzling Hammond organ ride that Chris Copping performs in front of the penetrating brass section, though. It rocks. And Keith Reid's compelling lyrics have always been a plus: "And though I hoped for something to find/I could see no maze to unwind." The ruthlessness of an invading conqueror has no deeper meaning.

"Whaling Stories" is excellent. The collective yelp evoked from the musicians at the start is effective in grabbing your attention, and then the band lays down a cool, bluesy air backed by dense strings. As happens often during the course of this concert, the crisp horns provide startling dynamics and the ensemble's slow build using the upward-crawling notes is riveting. The aural plateaus they attain are splendid and Dave Ball's impassioned guitar solo blends well with the symphony. Yet none of it would amount to much if it weren't for Gary Brooker's inimitable vocal that soars above the fray like an eagle. He's in exceptional voice here and when the Da Camera Singers join in it's like a black & white flick changing to Technicolor. "God's alive inside a movie! Watch the silver screen," he sings. This song's a keeper.

I've always admired the artistry of "A Salty Dog" and the version they perform herein is impeccable. Its haunting melody lines and droll atmosphere exudes the isolation of a life spent at sea. The full, rich string section is beautiful and, once again, Gary's unique vocal delivery is superb as he rings out lines like "we sailed for parts unknown to man/where ships come home to die" with conviction. He sends chills down your spine. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the next track, "All This and More." It comes off as a glorified pub sing-along and, therefore, doesn't give the orchestra much to work with. Dave's guitar work is too repetitive and even the inclusion of the chorale can't save this one from mediocrity. There are some interesting words being sung, though. "In darkness through my being here/away from you/the bright light of your star confronts me/shining through." Too bad they're trapped inside such a trite ditty.

The album's 5-part, side-long opus is the much-heralded "In Held 'Twas In I." Not being much of a fan of Procol Harum, I knew practically nothing about this epic for decades. I only knew of the title because a dorky friend of mine always referred to it as "William Tell was High." My first hearing came on Transatlantic's confusing, ill-advised cover that appeared on their debut CD and I was underwhelmed, to say the least. I wondered what the fuss was about but now I know. I can't speak for the studio original but the treatment presented here is exquisite. They open "Glimpses of Nirvana" with a prosaic soliloquy spoken over a symphonic drone and the only complaint I have is that the spoken words would've benefited vastly from a heightened presence in the mix. It's a struggle to understand what he's saying. Following that a startling orchestral outburst awakens you abruptly as they, along with Brooker's piano, commence to introduce the tune's central theme. They eventually drift into another poetic reading that suffers from the same malady as the first speech but it's short-lived. One line stands out for me in particular, though. "Still, write it down/it might be read/nothing's better left unsaid/only sometimes/still, no doubt/it's hard to see/it all works out" we're reminded.

"'Twas Teatime at the Circus" is a fun detour into a phantasmagoric opera land in which the group openly encourages the exuberant participation of the chorale and symphony members. They gleefully oblige and it's both imaginative and entertaining. "In the Autumn of my Madness" embodies what I think of as the dense Procol Harum sound. A ghostly, thick Hammond organ dominates the mood and the orchestra's dissonant uproar midway through provides an eerie tension. "Look to your Soul" features a heavy guitar riff that keeps things from becoming predictable and the symphony's menacing stalk as they loom behind the band is akin to a thunderhead breaching the horizon. This movement's well- written and passionately sung verse/chorus structure is intriguing and successfully fends off the threatening storm. The song's "Grand Finale" is just that. Stately processional music fills the concert hall with the warmth of a glorious sunrise and though Dave's tedious guitar ride retards the momentum slightly the piece is rescued in gallant fashion by the brazen entrance of the committed chorale and all is forgiven. Everyone jumps in to deliver a fabulous, pompously huge climax that befits this ambitious adventure in symphonic progressive rock.

My ten-gallon hat's off to Gary Brooker for conceiving and scoring all of the orchestral parts for this project. He did a great job on an arduous task that probably took him a long time to finish. I do find it odd that these Brits had to hire a Canadian outfit to pull this off but maybe their English counterparts were too stuffy and/or expensive to deal with. Whatever, the symphony is top-notch and there's not a stray note to be found. I'm glad I finally turned myself onto this album because now I know that yet another band came tantalizingly close to successfully mating an orchestra with rock & roll. It's not perfect but I do like their style and the class they displayed in their courageous attempt. 3.9 stars.

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Send comments to Chicapah (BETA) | Report this review (#244650) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars An so the mighty Harum followed in the footsteps of a few other bands of their time and recorded an album with a symphony orchestra. Only the more symphonic material was chosen for this release from the band's wide repertoire which probably has to do with the fact that soul and blues material probably wouldn't gain all that much from a symphonic rearrangement.

The album features some of my all-time favorite Procol Harum songs, but unfortunately for this release, I find the studio versions to be far more superior. The only exception to that rule comes with the opening number off the debut album called Conquistador which is definitely an improvement in term of musical arrangement that the hasty released debut album just could supply. This version is so superior that it was even chosen as this album's only single, which is quite uncommon for a live album to even have.

There are a few bumps along the way but I was hoping that the band would have done a masterful reworking of their epic composition we know by the title In Held 'Twas In I. But instead of the royal treatment this lengthy piece truly deserved I found it to be blown out of proportion which probably has more to do with the fact that I'm so used to the studio version than anything else. The band tries to make every section sound even grander and more striking but in the end it just sounds completely unnecessary since what it actually lacks, in the end, is its own personality.

Aside from the magnificent opener this album does nothing to improve on the studio material and in some cases I just miss those great original performances. This is a good, but non-essential release which I primarily recommend to experienced Procol Harum fans.

***** star songs: Conquistador (5:01)

**** star songs: A Salty Dog (5:34) In Held 'Twas In I (19:07) All This And More (4:29)

*** star songs: Whaling Stories (7:41)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#272320) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Review by tarkus1980
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Wow, this is, like, the very definition of the "good, but ..." live album. See, the thing is, this album is by no means whatsoever bad (even if the bonus track, a live version of "Luskus Delph," bores me as much as before) - to the contrary, the performances are flawless, and the orchestra and choirs don't detract from the song material at all.

The problem is that this album, in retrospect, is waaaaay too cautious for such a supposedly groundbreaking experience. See, while so much of the band's catalogue to this point was suited well to an orchestra, this live album only contains five tracks, one of which is a totally rote copy of "In Held Twas In I," which I never really loved in retrospect. It sounds ok, but then again, to me the original just sounded ok; in other words, the "revelatory" nature of this performance is virtually nil. Similarly, "A Salty Dog" is done on side one, and it sounds perfectly beautiful ... but the original was ALREADY completely orchestrated. So while it was probably cathartic to the max for those who were actually there, here it's just like, "well, ok, now I just have to remember if I just listened to the live or studio version, oh, wait, there's applause, I guess it's the live version."

The other three choices are less obvious, fortunately, but even these vary in quality. "All This and More" has always been decent, but just that - I mean, it'd be a hell of a lot neater if they could have included, say, "Whisky Train" or whatever, and I don't see what this version adds to the previous one at all. However, the first two tracks of the album are easily worth the cost, and the main reason I give this as high of a grade as I do. "Conquistador" totally blows away the already great original, with the orchestra providing a bunch of counterpart riffs to the main melody, and the way they sound during the "And though I hoped for something to find ..." part is total symphonic-rock majesty. Likewise, "Whaling Stories" is much better, though in this case the change is from "ehn" to "wow" as opposed to the "wow" to "WOW" change of "Conquistador." Put another way, I actually notice the various atmospheric nooks and crannies I couldn't be enticed to notice before, and this is the one place on the album where I feel like my music exposure has been widened significantly.

So yeah, it's an alright album. I doubt anybody but a diehard would want or need it, though.

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Send comments to tarkus1980 (BETA) | Report this review (#733543) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, April 20, 2012

Latest members reviews

4 stars I continue my Procol Harum journey after five studio records of both good and bad experiences. Insted of a studio record I now have enjoyed a live rocording from 1972 an this disc is absolutely their best until then. The marriage of Procol Harum and an orchestra was exactly what their music ne ... (read more)

Report this review (#1089929) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Saturday, December 14, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This one is maybe one of the best live albums ever released in the 70's, I say it´s not "Live At Pompeii" nor any of the Zeppelin or Genesis album of live performances, it's just that the mixture of the classic music with the Procol Harum stuff is amazing, the chorus work is simply excellent a ... (read more)

Report this review (#30780) | Posted by Carlos | Tuesday, May 25, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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