A huge blast from the past shook The Tarrytown Music Hall to its foundations last night when Procol Harum took the stage of the 1885 show palace for 2 1/2 hours.
This is the band’s first visit to the United States since 2003, when it hit the road — making a stop in New York at the late, lamented Bottom Line club — in support of its last studio album, The Well’s On Fire.
For those who remember PH from its early days — the band became an international phenomenon with the 1967 hit “A Whiter Shade of Pale” — singer-pianist Gary Brooker is the only onstage member left from those days. But Brooker, who co-writes the band’s songs with lyricist Keith Reid, Procol’s nonperforming member, is the voice of the band. As long as he’s singing, there’s no doubt that it’s Procol Harum.
Brooker’s voice has gotten a bit gravelly and more nuanced over the years, but the 65-year-old showed last night that he’s still got his vocal chops. He and the rest of the quintet ripped through an energetic set, covering the whole range of the band’s 43-year history.
Brooker couldn’t help but point out that anyone in the audience who had money invested with Lehmann Brothers would see the prescience of one of the band’s newest songs, “Wall Street Blues,” from The Well’s On Fire, seemed
The band, and the audience, are a little less energetic than they once were. But the music stands the test of time. There was no dancing in the aisles and the crowd — comprising people of all ages, including a few pre-teens — was pretty respectful. But the performance brought fans to their feet numerous times throughout the evening and ended with a standing ovation when the band wrapped the set.
Procol Harum is on tour in the U.S. now, opening for Jethro Tull, a band whose heyday coincided with PH. To a die-hard Procol Harum fan, there’s something wrong with Tull as the headliner. But, luckily, Procol took time off from its opening duties to book some shows of its own while it’s touring with Tull. Procol’s playing tomorrow night, with Renaissance opening, at the Showroom at the Tropicana Casino & Resort in Atlantic City tomorrow (June 12, 2010) and next Wednesday (June 16, 2010) at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pa. (The Longwood show is sold out, but tickets are likely available from resellers.)
More photos after the jump.