Procol Harum live Newcastle 1973, Reading 1974 and Middlesbrough 1976

Procol Harum live Newcastle 1973, Reading 1974 and Middlesbrough 1976
procol73I am a big fan of Procol Harum, although I have only seen them three times in concert. White Shade of Pale, Homburg and Conquistador remain favourite songs of mine to this day. Their appearances in the UK are few and far between these days; although they do continue to play a small number of shows in mainland Europe. I first saw Procol Harum at a concert in Newcastle City Hall on 16th March 1973. The 1973 line up was Gary Brooker (keyboards, vocals), Alan Cartwright (bass), Chris Copping (keyboards), Mick Grabham (guitar), B J Wilson (drums), Keith Reid (lyrics). Support for the concert at the City Hall came from Hemlock, who were a new blues rock band fronted by Miller Anderson (ex Keef Hartley band). My memories of the performance are of a great, powerful set, which started with Conquistador, but I was also disappointed that they didn’t play White Shade of Pale that night. The setlist will have been something like this (based on published setlists of the time): Conquistador; Bringing Home the Bacon; Toujours L’Amour; The Devil Came from Kansas; Homburg; Fires (Which Burnt Brightly); For Liquorice John; Whaling Stories; Grand Hotel; Kaleidoscope; Robert’s Box; Power Failure; Simple Sister; Repent Walpurgis; A Salty Dog.
I next saw Procol Harum at the Reading Festival in 1974. They played, I think, on the Saturday afternoon, and were equally as good; and this time they did play Whiter Shade of Pale 🙂 . procolmidds The next time I saw Procol was at a concert at Middlesbrough Town Hall on 7th January 1976. This time there were supported by the very brilliant and much-lamented Vivian Stanshall, who entertained us with a crazy set featuring Bonzo classics and his solo material. Procol were magnificent that night, the swirling chords of their majestic pieces reverberating around the beautiful main hall of Middlesbrough town hall. They were joined by Viv Stanshall for the encores which included a crazy song called the Browns, which Viv had written with Keith Reid; it was based on a story Viv had read in the newspaper about a family called the Browns. The setlist will have been something like this (based on published setlists of the time): Toujours l’Amour; Bringing Home the Bacon; Shine on Brightly; Fresh Fruit; As Strong as Samson; The Unquiet Zone; Grand Hotel; Conquistador; Pandora’s Box; Cerdes (Outside the Gates of); Souvenir of London; Power Failure; A Salty Dog; The Blue Danube. Encores: I keep Forgetting; The Browns (with Viv Stanshall); A Whiter Shade of Pale.procul2002 The Middlesbrough gig was the last time I saw Procol in concert, although I had a ticket for a gig at the Tyne Theatre in Newcastle in 2002, which was sadly cancelled. I still have my ticket which is pictured here. I hope I can get to see them one more time, and await their next performance in the UK. Thanks to John for his scan of the poster from the 1973 Newcastle City Hall concert with Hemlock support.

6 responses to this post.

  1. I’ve seen them maybe half a dozen times over the last 10 years & they are still an excellent live band. Well worth making the effort to see them. Gary Brookers voice is as good as ever. Check on their website as I’ve found their UK concerts are not always widely advertised.


    • Posted by vintagerock on January 29, 2014 at 9:30 am

      Thanks I’ll keep looking at their site in the hope of a gig in the UK. I know they played in Leamington a few years ago, and London a few years before that, but I missed both of those gigs due to work commitments (big mistake). If they play in the UK again I intend to do my very best to go this time.


  2. Posted by dawn on February 15, 2014 at 12:48 am

    Like this band i have there 1967 album self titled was one of the the first albums i listened to all the way through i loved it im guessing it prob belonged to my brother and i borrowed it forever! never seen them live so far.


  3. Posted by Uli on January 3, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    Hi, I’m looking for everything from The Procol Harum. Who can help me.
    Live, Rares, Archives, demos etc.
    Uli Thiemann, Germany,


  4. I saw them at Reading in 74 and I’m sure they didn’t play Whiter Shade. I thought they were going to do it as an encore, but I seem to remember them doing ‘Eight Days a Week.’ Of course, my memories are quite dodgy….


  5. Then again:
    ‘The highlight of the entire day was the set by Procol Harum; they were incredible. They opened, inappropriately, with Shine On, from the album of the same name. The songs were a mixture of old and new – a necessity for any festival. Their sound was superb, bringing a little class to the proceedings and showing where experience counts. I loved Salty Dog and Grand Hotel, and even forgot the discomfort of sitting on soggy grass and being stepped on by careless individuals. I could have listened to them for hours, but, like everyone else, I wanted for them to get to the encore and to play A Whiter Shade of Pale. When they did come back on stage they announced the encore as “a song we’d all remember from the 60s”. A cheer went up, to die a little as they played the opening of the Beatles’ Eight Days A Week. At the end of the last bar they finally relented and reverted to A Whiter Shade Of Pale.’


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: