CONCERTS Apr 1, 2011 1:32:50 GMT -5
Post by martin53 on Apr 1, 2011 1:32:50 GMT -5
PROCOL HARUM / Saturday, September 30th, 1972 at the Eulachhalle Winterthur, Switzerland
Life is great when you are 19!
That’s what I thought when I was on my way from Zurich to Winterthur where Procol Harum would perform tonight. They had become one of my favourite groups in the last couple of years.
While the train was gently on its way to Winterthur, I was reading the New Musical Express. Exciting things were happening musically. Status Quo had returned with a bang – “Paper Plane” was their first massive hit worldwide. A new band, Roxy Music, had entered the charts with their hit “Virginia Plain” - a song displaying a complete new sound and a positive approach. T. Rex had turned electric and had another massive hit with “Metal Guru” whereas Mott The Hoople convinced the market with their astounding version of David Bowie’s “All The Young Dudes” and Slade thrilled their fans with “Mama Weer All Crazee Now”. Famous groups like The Kinks, Ten Years After, The Doors, Jethro Tull and last but not least Procol Harum kept on delivering solid albums with well-crafted songs - “Everybody’s In Show-Biz”, “Rock’n Roll Music To The World”, “Full Circle”, “Thick As A Brick” and “Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra”.
Procol Harum’s unique concert was supposed to start at 08.00 p.m. As I was already there at 04.30 p.m. I had the chance to meet and to chat with Gary Brooker (the group’s musical mastermind, singer, songwriter, pianist) and his wife. Chris Copping (organ) joined later. Then they were off for the soundcheck.
The band were on time. They started the concert with an extended version of “The Devil Came From Kansas” from their highly acclaimed album “A Salty Dog” (1969). This excellent song allowed Mick Grabham to display his technical and musical skills as a guitarist. It was the band’s first appearance ever with him – the great Robin Trower and the amazing Dave Ball were his predecessors.
The group performed then the suite “In Held ‘Twas In I” in its full length from the album “Shine On Brightly” (1968) with the participation of Keith Reid - together with the Munich Symphonic Orchestra under the special direction of musical director Eberhard Schöner and the Swingle Singers from Paris featuring the great Christiane Legrand. They played as well songs from their forthcoming album Grand Hotel - the title track, “Bringing Home The Bacon”, “A Souvenir Of London”, “Toujours L’Amour”, “T.V.Caesar” and “Fires (Which Burnt Brightly”) – featuring again the one and only Christiane Legrand. Classics like “Homburg”, “Shine On Brightly”, “A Salty Dog”, “Whisky Train”, “Broken Barricades”, “Simple Sister”, “Conquistador” and “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” followed.
Having started the gig at the sold-out venue with “The Devil Came From Kansas” and having played more than 2 1/1 hours Procol Harum closed the outstanding Saturday night’s event with a fiery and unplanned rendition of Little Richard’s “Good Golly Miss Molly”. I thought: “Jesus, they even know how to rock!” Gary was in complete control of everybody and everything but nevertheless taken aback about the audience’s wild response to their encore.
Before leaving the stage, Gary turned to me and said with thumbs up ”See you soon, Al”. And off they were.
It had been an unique performance on a very special night. And what a combination - band, orchestra and choir!
Outside the stars were shining bright and the ambiente was full of sound. This very first concert in my life made such a huge impact on me that I remember it as if it had been yesterday!