London: Royal Albert Hall – 26 May 2013
The name Roger Hodgson may not be familiar to some, but his voice will be. His songs have filled the airwaves for over three decades, with his former band Supertramp. Billed as ‘The Breakfast In America Tour’, this was a night of classic Supertramp songs, mixed with selections from his solo work.
The venue was packed to capacity, and you could feel a real buzz amongst the audience as they awaited the beginning of the show. The band (David J Carpenter on bass, Bryan Head on drums, Kevin Adamson on second keyboard, while a special mention should go to Aaron MacDonald, providing vocals, whistles and some tremendous saxophone moments) took their places on stage before Roger arrived, seating himself at his keyboard. The hauntingly familiar harmonica introduction of ‘Take The Long Way Home’ began the show, and it was incredible how good Roger’s voice sounds – he has lost none of that sweet honesty in his delivery. Roger has a unique charm in the manner that he addresses the audience, feeling like he is talking to you directly. He even humorously berates two audience members who arrive late, claiming “You just missed the best song!”
The set is a wonderful mixture of Supertramp’s golden moments, including ‘School’ and the beautiful ‘Hide In Your Shell’, to lesser known solo efforts such as ‘In Jeopardy’. I was quite touched that Roger took the time to read out letters from his web page and dedicate a song to some of the people in attendance. The hall erupted with the familiar intro of ‘Breakfast In America’,and the truly wonderful ‘Logical Song’ brought us to the intermission.
The second half offered an emotional ‘Death And A Zoo’ which left myself and my partner with tears in our eyes – demonstrating the power of music in conjuring up an image! Roger offered insight to the stories behind his songs, switching between playing acoustic guitar, keyboards and piano. We were treated to an outstanding ‘Dreamer’, and a truly majestic ‘Fools Overture’ that had the hairs on my arms standing up. By the time ‘Give A Little Bit’ had started, the audience were on their feet and dancing, some even opened umbrellas for ‘It’s Raining Again’, which brought the show to an end. During the evening, Roger had spoken about the healing effect of music and of forgetting your troubles for an hour or two, and that is exactly what happened to the audience. For any difficult times in your life, you should be able to get a show like the one Roger Hodgson gave us – on prescription!