"I as a boy, I believed the saying the cure for pain was love" - Roger Hodgson
The morning of Tuesday, May 11, had me extremely excited not only because I had fantastic seats for the Roger Hodgson concert at Gran Rex Theater, but also on the prospect of meeting Roger after the show, thanks to my new friend Nicolas. So I had the idea of having the Argentinean soccer team t-shirt custom made for Roger with his last name and number 10 -Maradona's number- on the back to give him as a present.
Only five minutes after scheduled time the curtains opened and there he was: the mastermind of 's biggest hits and creator of some of the best music made in the seventies. With a sober choreography of plants distributed around the stage and a black curtain in the back, there sat Roger at his keyboard.
Like on last year's show at the same venue, he had a full band unlike the setting we see on the "Take the long way home" DVD. Having 4 great musicians behind him made the songs sound very close to the originals as released on the albums the audience loves.
The usual show opener, "Take The Long Way Home", made clear the sound engineer got it right from the first song: perfect balance between instruments and voice and everything could be heard clear and at the right volume. Perfect sound throughout the whole concert was a big plus in a venue that doesn't have the best acoustics.
As soon as the opening bars were banged by Roger on his keyboard, the audience got on their feet to give a standing ovation. As usual, Argentinean fans were not afraid to show their love and appreciation in their idol's presence.
The band was comprised of a keyboard player back on the left behind Roger's; a bass player, a drummer and virtuoso instrumentalist Aaron MacDonald on a variety of instruments ranging from sax to keyboards, oboe and many others.
After the opening song Roger moved center stage with his 12-string acoustic guitar for a great version of Supertramp's "Crime Of The Century" album opener, "School", with MacDonald doing the backing vocals performed by Rick Davies in the original.
The band plays great and is very well rehearsed; solos are reproduced exactly like they are on the original albums as are bass and drum lines.
It's also important to notice how fantastic Roger's voice is even after all these years. He hits the high notes in the way only he can do it and it seems that age doesn't affect his vocal chords or ability to reach those notes most singers can only dream of.
Back at the keyboard for another "Crime Of The Century" song, the beautiful " " is another masterpiece showcasing lyrics that deal with deep feelings of insecurity while growing up. This, as all other songs performed, was a perfect, tight rendition and got one of the many standing ovations of the night.
For his first solo rendition of the evening Roger chose the piano for one of his most beautiful ballads, "Lovers in the Wind". This was the only song performed in concert from the fantastic "In The Eye of the Storm", Roger's first solo album released in 1984, a year after his departure for Supertramp.
Many audience members requested "In Jeopardy" from the same album. Hopefully he will play it next year.
The setlist was, as expected, heavy on Supertramp's song, with only 3 tracks from his solo career. Roger removed "You Make Me Love You" from the setlist, a song that was a hit in Argentina and got a great response from the audience at last year's show.
Another Supertramp fan's favorite, "A Soapbox Opera", had Roger at the keyboard before switching to guitar again for the classic 1975 "Crisis, what Crisis?" album openers, "Easy Does it" and "Sister Moonshine", the former with the whole audience whistling the intro.
For the all time classic " ", from the album with the same name -released in 1979 to become the most successful of Supertramp's history- Hodgson returned to the keyboard and had the audience on their feet, clapping and singing along. Great soloing of Aaron MacDonald on these one that featured a reprise of the coda.
The most beautiful sounds came from the 12-string guitar when Roger played the opening number from his last solo album to date, the beautiful "Along Came Mary", followed by a string of 3 Supertramp classics from the "Breakfast in America" album.
An out of the setlist track was played by request this evening, Crime of the Century's "If Everyone Was Listening" and it was a wonderful rendition. We were so glad to hear all 4 of Roger's songs from the classic album!
" ", another lyric about the struggle of a teenager growing up having to be molded to be like everyone else while having to find his own identity had the expected overwhelming audience response, when came a time to slow down for the beautiful ballad Roger introduced as perhaps his favorite of the songs he's written, "Lord, Is It Mine".
The "Breakfast in America" trilogy closed with " ", the album closer and another showcase for Roger's vocal range by reaching the high notes in the chorus.
The last of Roger's solo songs was a new one, yet unreleased. A beautiful acoustic guitar driven number called "The Awakening", had a very good response from the audience and hopefully will appear on Roger's next solo album.
The last three songs of the main setlist were culled from three different Supertramp albums.
"Don't Leave Me Now" is the album closer in Roger's last album with the band, "Famous Last Words" and it is a great song and fan favorite although the only big hit the album had was "It's Raining Again".
The Crowd stood up again for the showstopper "Dreamer", one of Supertramp's earlier hits and a great concert song to clap and sing along.
The main set closer was another fan favorite, the progressive " " from the "Even In The Quietest Moments" album. Although the album version lasts for about 10 minutes, it was very powerful live, and it even had the sound effects courtesy of Kevin Adamson on the keyboards.
The first set of encores comprised the clap-along "Lady" and "It's Raining Again", another crowd favorite from "Famous Last Words".
The band returned for one last encore, the classic " ". This song also works great in concert and was the right choice for closing song of the evening.
Then it was time...backstage to meet Roger! I was very nervous and first got to meet and chat with Bryan Head, the drummer, who was very cool. Then Linda Tyler, Roger's manager came along and she was very nice too. A lovely lady!!
And then...along came Roger!
He was extremely nice and polite to his fans, even with the language barrier he chatted with the lucky people in the room, signed autographs and posed for pictures.
Roger looked tired after the concert but was very polite with everyone.
Then I shook his hand, I introduced myself, and gave him the present I brought.
He thanked me, signed a couple of my albums and I requested "Even In The Quietest Moments" for his next year's concert, for he vowed to return.
A magical evening, one I will never forget.
As a fan told Roger with tears in his eyes while he entered the room: "Thank you for the music".