Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Supertramp at the O2 - 6th October 2010

I went to this expecting to be disappointed. How would they deliver in such a cavern in the O2? The hits were all sung by Roger Hodgson who is no longer with them.  They haven't toured for some time and the original membership is reduced to Rick Davies (grant you the main songwriter besides Hodgson) and John Halliwell.

I saw Hodgson a couple of years ago at the Royal Albert Hall and whilst he was excellent, playing only with one sideman, I did come out and say to my friend "those songs need a band!".  And so they did.  And boy what a difference.  Call me old school but I like a band who can come out and deliver the songs without the need of tricks, video and hullabaloo.  Supertramp did this, letting the music and songs speak for themselves.  They were excellent. I found myself hoping they could stun me as they did with the first time I saw then in 1974.  I attended the Crime tour London gig at Hammersmith of the back of hearing one single "Dreamer".  What a great night that was.

And here we were again.  Rick Davies' voice had few frailties and delivered faithful versions of "Crime", Bloody Well Right" "Rudy" (the highlight for me), "If Everyone Was Listening", "Downstream" and many other album tracks that I thought I would never hear live again.  The unique sound of Hodgson was replaced by drummer Bob Seidenberg's son, Jesse and Gabe Dixon - not so much impersonations but close enough to deliver suitably true versions.  Do they need RH? - No, Would it be good to see a reunion? undoubtedly yes.  I have heard that since Rodger Hodgson announced his own dates just before this show he sent them a list of songs that they shouldn't sing.  They ignored him and a fantastic show was had by all. Shame on you Rodger - they gave you something too and it's the S'tramp brand on those songs just as much.

For the Hits brigade there was "Breakfast", "The Logical Song", "Give A Little Bit" and "Take the Long Way Home" - all received gratefully by an enthusiastic crowd.  I noted a very mixed bunch with the twenty something in front of me knowing every word and note - great to see.

So pleasantly surprised? YES.  Go and see Hodgson solo again? Maybe not but would recommend it to my friends to do once - closely followed to the (as close as you can get) 1974 experience of last Wednesday.

Highly recommended.  David Sinclair's 3 stars in the Times should be 4.5 in my book.


Ramzi said...

BoyRed, like you I spent a great evening at the O2 watching Supertramp playing a set that spanned the years 1974 to 1985 (rather than the 40 year celebration promised!). I just hope it is not another eight years before they come back. Having seen them so many times now we have come to expect musicianship of the highest order, a focus on fidelity and sound and a faithfulness to the recorded tracks. They cannot be accused be accused of not being professional even though they may lack a little soul. The only real disappointment was the absence of Roger Hodgson and Dougie Thomson. Given that this was supposedly a celebration of the history of the band through their four decades it is really surprising (and sad) that Hodgson could not be included given his offer to rejoin the band for some, if not all, of this tour. It may after all be the very last. It was difficult to really enjoy the performances of Roger’s songs given the well publicised decision of Rick Davies to pack the show with Roger’s songs (which incidentally were all the ‘hits’ you listed above, and the ones most fanatically received by those in attendance) without inviting their composer and vocalist left Supertramp’s true fans scratching their heads in bewilderment! However, as you point out Roger is still on top form, regularly touring to packed venues of appreciative fans (including the 2007 Royal Albert Hall show which I was also lucky enough to attend). He must have been listening to you as his forthcoming UK tour in May next year (check out his website for details) will be with a band, and indeed many of his concerts do incorporate a backing band, and in some cases a full orchestra! I wasn’t at the 1974 tour but having been lucky enough to see the classic Supertramp line-up in 1983, and having so, fully understand why longstanding fans of the group continue to fervently lobby to witness Roger’s return to the fold. Let’s hope that the shenanigans of the recent months can be set to one side for the fans what they desire and deserve.

shyted said...

With at least 10 performers on stage,why would one doubt if they would deliver at the O2.They always excel in giving quality live sound. Paris is acclaimed as being one of the best ever recorded live concerts. But did they really deliver THE FULL SUPERTRAMP EXPERIENCE as promised?
No Sister Moonshine, Hide in your Shell, Even in the Quietest, Soap Box Opera, Child of Vision or Fools Overture. All classics, all written and sung by Roger Hodgson. Of course they promised all the hits and more. Rick does a great job with Rudy, Crime ,Downstream, Goodbye Stranger But a complete Supertramp experience? Not with one of the frontmen missing. Instead we are offered a sort of tribute band.“ Dixon and Garfunkel” or“ Lennon and Siebenberg”? Gabe and Jesse have great voices and would give great versions of Bridge Over Troubled Waters or Cant Buy me Love. But it wouldn’t be the same .Telling that they only play is a small selection from albums that were made .
Since Rogers exit I have seen ST perform many times inc Leicester in 2002
Not one of their best shows, as my ears were assaulted by an imposter trying to pull off The Logical Song, Breakfast and Take the Long Way Home.I felt sorry for him and couldn’t help thinking that he didn’t really want to sing them. I had become bored with them .Something was missing. Each time a new tour was launched I would convince myself that I had to attend.I finally faced the reality that whilst I was a fan of ST, I was a bigger fan of Roger Hodgson. ST were simply NOT the same without him.In my opinion,that is how it remains.They may be twice the number they were in 1974 but they are only half the band they used to be. It just isnt Bloody Well Right.
Not so much 'Shame on Roger'but perhaps'Shame on Rick'for not acknowledging Roger’s songwriting and for not allowing a genuine Supertramp show to happen.
Even Sir Paul McCartney a acknowledged John Lennon's contributions at his concerts.
So what Roger ,the essence of Supertramp up to? Well after many, years of inactivity ,in 2005,here in the UK,we were treated to a rare event.A one off evening with Roger Hodgson,THE voice of Supertramp.After a 25 gap,he appeared with so much to offer,so much talent,so much grace and so much honesty,the latter being a virtue that is all too rare today. No reliance on songs penned by another.no hiding behind a brand name.No big light show.Just a man,a keyboard and a superb saxophonist,performing his songs in a pure ,genuine spell bounding way.All the big hits and so much more.Since then Roger Hodgson has performed many times in the UK, a 6 show tour in 2007 and two shows in 2008.He has responded to the praise of both music critics and fans alike.He has continuously toured the world in the past 6 years giving his fans exactly what they want,sometimes solo, sometimes with a band and sometimes with a full orchestra.
Next year,Roger Hodgson embarks on a 4 date UK tour complete with a band. Check out www.rogerhodgson.com The tour starts at the Albert Hall on Wed May 24, followed by shows at The Sage in Gateshead on Fri 27 May, The Pavilion Theatre Glasgow on Sat 28 May finishing the tour at Liverpool Symphony Hall on Sun29 May.For anyone who hasn’t had the privilege of having Roger Hodgson perform for them,have him sing his songs to them individually(that really is what it's like)in the way that they should be sung,please do not miss next years opportunity to experience one of the greatest singer songwriters the UK has produced . This time he will be performing with a band. What more could you ask for.
He is there for the fans, because of the fans. So do yourselves a favour ,enjoy a journey through the soundtrack of your lives. You are quite right. Roger Hodgson’s voice is unique. You cannot replace something that is unique. Book your tickets now before it’s too late.Life is too short not to.

Mazcee said...

I am a Supertramp fan of old having seen them perform in the '70s but like the comment above - now class myself as a Roger Hodgson fan. We have seen him perform in Manchester in 2007 and at Stowe (Roger's old school) in 2008, the latter being a brilliant show. The audience sang along with Roger so loudly, we couldn't here Roger at times. It was a brilliant atmosphere. Last year we travelled to Canada to see Roger in Montreal. Again fantastic intimate performances. Roger takes the audience along with him. This year we are travelling to Canada again to see Roger perform with an orchestra. Next year we will see him on home turf with a band. Would recommend a Roger Hodgson concert to anyone - fan or not. It's a great night out.

shyted said...

Roger Hodgsons UK tour starts on Wed 25 May 2011 at the Royal Albert Hall in London , and not 24 May as mentioned in my previous comment .

Apologies for any confusion