Sunday, June 16, 2013

Live Review: Roger Hodgson, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, 30th May 2013

Mention the name Roger Hodgson to most casual music fans and they will probably answer "who?"  But if you then tell them that he was the lead singer in Supertramp, the British band which conquered the world in the 1970s and 1980s, then they will very quickly remember.  And if you're still too young to remember them, then you might remember Scooter sampling "The Logical Song" or Gym Class Heroes sampling "Breakfast in America" for their 2005 hit "Cupid's Chokehold"....proving that the band's music spans the decades and still sounds as good today. 

But this is where it becomes complicated: Roger tours as a solo artist with a backing band, playing the hits of Supertramp along with his lesser-known solo material, whilst the other founder member of Supertramp - Rick Davies - tours with his band under the Supertramp name.  Hodgson and Davies wrote their songs separately whilst together in Supertramp, and there appears to be an agreement that they should not play each other's songs. (Although this has not always been the case, if is anything to go by).

Which probably goes a long way to explain why my favourite Supertramp song, "Goodbye Stranger" was not featured in Roger's live set, although I only found this out after the show.  As you can probably tell, I'm not an expert on the complete works of Supertramp but I do appreciate well-crafted, timeless songs performed to a very high standard, and that's exactly what we got a couple of weeks ago at Roger's final gig of his short UK tour, at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

The GRCH is a very good venue for live music and was perfect for the intricate nature of Roger's songwriting and musical arrangements.  I'd say that the hall was about three-quarters full.  Roger is an exceptional musician and his touring band is made up of two Americans and two Canadians, all of them very accomplished musicians and backing vocalists, taking care of the famous Supertramp harmonies.  I'd like to single out the Canadian multi-instrumentalist Aaron McDonald, who was an extremely talented musician and a great asset to the line-up - I lost count of the number of instruments he played during the show. 

Roger and the band played for an hour and then there was a 20 minute intermission before they were back on stage for another hour. There was a small group of hardcore fans down near the front of the stalls, who were on their feet with a standing ovation at the end of every song, even the lesser-known ones.

Roger kicked off with "Take The Long Way Home" which immediately set the standard for the evening.  This was billed as the "Breakfast In America" tour, however the title track of Supertramp's most famous album came earlier in the set than expected.  Roger mixed the hits and well-known album tracks with some of his lesser-known solo material.  Of course we were treated to "Dreamer", "The Logical Song" and encore numbers "Give A Little Bit" and "It's Raining Again", along with fan favourites "Lord Is It Mine" and "Fools Overture", the latter being a truly epic prog-rock number showing off Roger and the band's highly impressive musicianship. 

He's now 63 years old, but unlike other artists whose voices go as they get older, Roger's voice remains just as high, clear and distinctive as it was on all those hits of the 70s and 80s.  Roger interacted well with the audience and it clearly shows how much he still loves playing music.  It was a very enjoyable concert and I hope it won't be too long before he's back in Glasgow to entertain us again. 

No comments: