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.