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Procol Harum - Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra CD (album) cover

LIVE IN CONCERT WITH THE EDMONTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

Procol Harum

 

Crossover Prog

4.06 | 114 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra" is a live album release by UK progressive rock act Procol Harum. The album was released in April 1972 through Chrysalis Records. The album was recorded at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on the 18th of November 1971 in front of a capacity audience of 3000. It is up until now the best selling album release by Procol Harum. The original album featured 5 tracks but some later CD releases include the track "Luskus Delph" from the "Broken Barricades (1971)" album as a bonus. In addition to the band themselves the album also features The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and the choir The Da Camera Singers.

The tracklist more or less perfectly represents the first four albums by Procol Harum. "Conquistador" is taken from the debut full-length album "Procol Harum (1967)" (incredibly enough they left out their arguably greatest hit "A Whiter Shade of Pale"), "In Held 'Twas In I" is taken from the second full-length studio album "Shine On Brightly (1968)", "All This And More" and "A Salty Dog" are taken from the third full-length studio album "A Salty Dog (1969)", and "Whaling Stories" is taken from the fourth full-length studio album "Home (1970)". Strangely enough there are no tracks from Procol Harum┤s most recent album release at the time "Broken Barricades (1971)" on the original LP version, but as this was a special occasion concert with an orchestra, the band probably picked the tracks they felt would work best within that concept and cared less about which album the tracks came from.

Many rock acts have at various points in time worked with a classical orchestra and some have failed miserably, but here the collaboration mostly works wonders. Some of the compositions are given a boost that lifts them to a higher level than the original studio versions. The orchestration works with the compositions and not against them which is generally the problem on other failed attempts at pairing a rock act with a classical orchestra. I┤m especially impressed by the live version of "Conquistador" which works particularly well. "Whaling Stories" and "All This And More" are also great in these versions. "A Salty Dog" is a beautiful song and here it┤s given just the right orchestral treatment. However the major attraction on "Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra" is the epic 19:00 minutes long "In Held 'Twas In I". The studio version is an adorably piece of progressive rock but this version is lifted to new heights by the addition of grand orchestration and use of the choirs.

The musicianship on the album are generally on a high level. The band seem confident and are well playing throughout the concert. One of the features I noticed was the great guitar soloing by Dave Ball. Gary Brooker┤s vocal performance also deserves a special mention. He is such a strong and distinct sounding vocalist. He doesn┤t skip a note or sound strained at any point during the whole performance, which in my world is quite impressive.

The sound production is well sounding. Organic and warm, which suits the music well. Procol Harum might not be the most challenging progressive rock act on the scene in terms of complex song structures (with some exceptions) and focus on technical playing, but they generally write some very memorable and still very intriguing material featuring a warmth that┤s rare. Their material are extraordinarily melodic with catchy hooks, but still sophisticated enough not to be confused with mainstream pop/rock. The collaboration with The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and The Da Camera Singers have only added another layer of sophistication to their music and along with "Shine On Brightly (1968)", "Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra" is among the most progressive releases in the band┤s discography. A 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is deserved.

UMUR | 4/5 |

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