Procol Harum - Live at the Union Chapel (2004) [Full Blu-Ray]
The ornate trappings of an old cathedral make the perfect backdrop for a band whose
gothic feel was a large part of its initial success. Procol Harum was
in fine form for this show recorded for the cameras on the venerable
British outfit's final date of its extensive 2003 world tour. This isn't
entirely the greatest-hits summary that some might have wanted. Eight
songs out of the 21-track set list originate from The Well's on Fire,
the well-received 2003 album the group was touring behind. Only
vocalist/pianist Gary Brooker and organist Matthew Fisher remain from
the original quintet, but except for the unfortunate omission of
legendary drummer B.J. Wilson, who passed away in 1989, the sound hasn't
noticeably changed with three new members as replacements. Actually
both guitarist Geoff Whitehorn and ex-Big Country drummer Mark Brzezicki
have been members for well over a decade, both joining for a 1991 tour.
It would have been a nice touch, though, to have invited original
guitarist Robin Trower or longtime lyricist Keith Reid to guest for this
gig. Regardless, this is a powerful show and the hits are well
represented even with "Whaling Stories," "Power Failure," "Fool's Gold,"
and "Bringing Home the Bacon" all MIA. The new songs are predominantly
bunched in the middle of the set, bookended by the recognizable tunes.
It's an unusual arrangement, but one that works reasonably well.
Thankfully the group doesn't include anything from its disappointing
1991 Prodigal Stranger release. The white-haired Brooker is in terrific
voice throughout and the band is tight, sturdy, and plays with finesse.
Snippets of "I Can See Clearly Now" and even "Layla" work their way into
the set, throwing unexpected curves into established arrangements and
loosening the groove. The band also has fun with the bluesy "Every Dog
Will Have His Day" -- one of the more recent tunes -- a rocking
highlight that shows there is more grit to Harum than the prog-classical
they are known for. The production values, lighting, and camera work
are exceptional. They smartly eschew the flashy, quick-cut MTV technique
that wouldn't be effective with music and an environment this classy.
The camera lingers on the musicians with editing that enhances rather
than detracts from the show. The Surround Sound mix is also excellent,
adding presence and a crisp live effect without being ostentatious.
Interview footage with Brooker is a short but interesting extra that
shows how articulate and reflective he is. Old timers who started with
the band in 1967 and younger folks discovering Procol Harum for the
first time will be equally impressed with this superb document that does
justice to a legendary band. by Hal Horowitz, AMG Setlist:
2. Shine On Brightly
3. Pandora's Box
4. An Old English Dream
5. Grand Hotel
7. Quite Rightly So
8. Simple Sister
9. Weisselklenzenacht (The Signature)
10. Shadow Boxed
11. The Question
12. Wall Street Blues
13. This World Rich
14. As Strong As Samson
15. Every Dog Will Have His Day
16. A Salty Dog
18. VIP Room
19. Whisky Train
20. Good Captain Clack
21. A Whiter Shade Of Pale