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


Procol Harum


Crossover Prog

4.09 | 130 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars It's an unusual start, listening to a rock concert where the first sounds you hear are an orchestra tuning up and the conductor tapping his baton to signal the start of the concert, but Procol Harum have pulled off an extraordinary performance with amazing little rehearsal time with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. Of course, people will complain, where is their megahit Whiter Shade Of Pale? Procol Harum have a plethora of good songs in their repertoire they don't have to play Whiter Shade Of Pale at every concert. Second complaint. Where is the great Robin Trower? I guess for those attending this concert you might have felt a bit cheated. However, Dave Ball is a more than adequate replacement. He does all the same soloing here that Trower does.

Set aside these misgivings this is a perfect concert where the dynamics of the orchestra cross paths with the piano, organ and guitar of the band effortlessly. Conquistador begins with the violins and the Spanish sounds of the trumpets before we get to Gary Brooker's booming voice which comes over the top of the orchestra. Then piano and drums and Dave Ball gets his chance to play a guitar solo before the Hammond organ finish with flash of trumpets. A Salty Dog and Whaling Stories are presented here together. Two similar sounding folk ballads Whaling Stories is the more complex beginning with voices and some quiet electric lead then changing into an orchestral chorus of violin and brass before it builds again with piano and increasing intensity of drums before you get to some screeching electric guitar licks.

All This And More precedes the highlight of the concert which is Procol Harum's large scale epic In Held Twas In I. From the 1968 album Shine On Brightly Held Twas In I is the template for other epics to follow including Genesis's Suppers Ready. Transatlantic do a great cover of Held Twas In I. The song is a mystic Tibetan piece with spoken word, choir voices, church bells and organ. The main piano theme keeps returning amid the mad interruptions of applause, sirens and street noises. Electric guitar swaps with the piano theme before the orchestra returns for the grand finish with organ, drums, solo electric guitar playing and choir voices. If King Crimson hadn't invented progressive rock with the album, In The Court Of The Crimson King then it was Procol Harum who invented progressive rock with the song In Held Twas In I.

The bonus track of the album is Luskus Delph, a song off the group's 1971 album, Broken Barricades. Only a short piece it has a catchy piano riff running through it with organ and trumpets. Both orchestra and band are superb in this live concert. Barrie Wilson drum fills keep the concert moving at a hectic pace. My only complaint is that the concert is too short and I don't know which order the songs were played in, or which songs were left out. This was the age of vinyl so we have to be thankful for 45 minutes of music. Held Twas In I may not be in everybody's taste. At times it moves all over the place, but this was at a time when 7-10 minute songs were considered very long and Gary Brooker was treading new ground here in 1968 when he wrote it. By the time Brooker wrote Whaling Stories off the 1970 album, Home, he was a more mature composer.

iluvmarillion | 5/5 |


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