It isn’t everyday that a musical brain like Glenn A. Baker is a guest at your show. But then, there is only one Roger Hodgson. Baker introduced the former front man of Supertramp as having been responsible for producing “One of the most distinctive sounds in rock in the 70s and 80s”. Hodgson lived up to this praise by delivering a two hour show that felt like a journey through the past on a wet, Wednesday night (because it was raining again – even if this famous hit was omitted from the set list!)
Hodgson is a jovial, English gentleman who gave a calm, laid-back performance that suited his funky, intellectual pop and prog-rock music to a tee. His voice remains as beautiful and melodic as before and was reminiscent of James Taylor and Cat Stevens. He switched between playing the piano, keyboard and a 12-string acoustic guitar and was backed by the same band that appears on his recent, Classics Live album. They are: Bryan Head (drums), Kevin Adamson (keys), David J Carpenter (bass) and long-time collaborator and multi-instrumentalist, Aaron Macdonald.
“Take The Long Way Home” was the first of many Supertramp songs, an immaculate pop number with a clarinet sound that was every bit as evocative as the saxophone in Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street”. This was followed by “School” which shared its lyrical content with Stevens’ “(Remember the Days of the) Old Schoolyard”. Hodgson broke a string during this one but that didn’t faze him a bit. If he’d been anymore casual he’d have been horizontal and although he was the star of the evening and we were delving into his back catalogue of different creations, he was happy at times to let the wonderful, Aaron Macdonald share the limelight.
There was the beautiful, romantic ballad, “Lovers In The Wind” where Hodgson played some twinkly piano while pouring his heart out with an affectionate love letter of sorts. “Hide in Your Shell” meanwhile, was written during a tough time for Hodgson. And while it’s hard to imagine him being a wallflower, the song certainly had this as a theme and it has resonated with different people. In fact, this is one of his many musical creations to achieve this. It almost feels like they’ve taken on a life of their own while inhabiting a special place in the hearts and minds of fans.
“Breakfast In America” – like the record of the same name – is a fine example of this. It’s a big, bombastic pop number driven by some thumping keys. Hodgson’s vocals also sounded as good as they did when they were recorded back in 1979. Ditto “The Logical Song”. Hodgson also writes really cerebral and thought-provoking material like “Dreamer” and “Death & A Zoo”. The latter asks the important question- if you were an animal living in the wild would you prefer death or a life in captivity.
The audience were a dedicated one of older fans, some of whom had seen Hodgson play with Supertramp back in 1976. They generally mirrored the affection and respect that we felt from the band. The music continued and we all enjoyed Hodgson’s new song, “The Awakening”. The show was full of what felt like a homespun charm (right down to the plants and rug on the stage) and of course, lots of personal tales. It was like the musical equivalent of eating your Mum’s Sunday roast and then sitting down for a cuppa as you reminisced from her diary before capping things off with a bright, warm hug.
The second act was topped off with “Fool’s Overture”. This is Hodgson’s own rock opera, pieced together from a few different songs. This was also like a journey through the history books but was focused more on England than any individual’s past. It received a standing ovation but it’s safe to say that the biggest highlight of the night came at the very end with Supertramp’s biggest hit, “Give A Little Bit” where people stood, sang and clapped.
For two hours we’d come together and enjoyed this down-to-earth English chap. He’d put on stellar show and crammed it with hits and other precious gems from his large back catalogue. At over two hours it’s fair to say that Roger Hodgson and band had given much more than just a little bit. They’d given a lot and then some…
Roger Hodgson’s Sydney set list:
1. Take The Long Way Home (original by Supertramp)
2. School (original by Supertramp)
3. In Jeopardy
4. Lovers In The Wind
5. Hide In Your Shell (original by Supertramp)
6. Easy Does It/Sister Moonshine (original by Supertramp)
7. Breakfast In America (original by Supertramp)
8. Lady (original by Supertramp)
9. C’est Le Bon (original by Supertramp)
10. A Soapbox Opera (original by Supertramp)
11. The Logical Song (original by Supertramp)
12. Child Of Vision (original by Supertramp)
13. Lord Is It Mine (original by Supertramp)
14. Death & A Zoo
15. If Everyone Was Listening (original by Supertramp)
16. The Awakening
17. Dreamer (original by Supertramp)
18. Fool’s Overture (original by Supertramp)
19. Two Of Us (original by Supertramp)
20. Give A Little Bit (original by Supertramp)
Originally published on 5 April 2013 at the following website: http://www.theaureview.com/sydney/roger-hodgson-state-theatre-sydney-03-04-13
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