Gary Brooker - lead vocals, piano; Matthew Fisher - organ, vocals; Robin Trower - guitar; B.J. Wilson - drums; David Knights - bass; Keith Reid - lyrics
Procol Harum was one of the earliest bands to make the transition from British Invasion pop group to serious, progressive British rock icons. Along with Pink Floyd and The Moody Blues, they opened the door for countless others groups - including Yes, Genesis and King Crimson.
This is arguably the first professional live recording of the band, made at the Fillmore West on their second tour of the States. They played San Francisco's Winterland the year before with fellow Brits, Pink Floyd. The year earlier, between gigs backing up various British singers, vocalist/pianist Gary Brooker decided to record "Whiter Shade of Pale," which he had written with an aspiring rock lyricist named Keith Reid. It was loosely based on Bach's "Air on the G String" from the Suite in D Major #3. The record was released under the name Procol Harum, which was the name of producer Guy Stevens' pet cat. When it became an instant smash (one of the few times a group hit #1 with its first record), Brooker regrouped his band under the new name and hastily recorded a debut album. The band did not make it back to the U.S. until after their second album, Shine on Brightly, was released.
This concert, which still featured the original lineup, consists of material from both the self-titled debut album, originally released in September 1967, and Shine on Brightly, which would hit stores six weeks after the band recorded this show. Although none of the trademark Procol Harum radio hits are found on this recording, it does feature the distinct sound of the early prog rock pioneers, spearheaded by Brooker's compelling baritone voice and Trower's bluesy lead guitar work.