Shawinigan, Quebec, Canada
July 4, 2010
Roger was the headlining act for the Festival d'été de 20th Anniversary and performed on the last night. The festival was held in the beautiful city of Shawinigan, a city of 50,000 people in Quebec. Every single person we encountered was so warm and friendly. Lovely city and lovely people.
With the show being outdoors, I was a bit worried about the weather as grey clouds started rolling in mid-morning. Sprinkles were felt here and there and while Roger was doing sound check, the sprinkles became a light rain. Just as the light rain started, it was as if the clouds parted and there was a clear blue sky and radiant sunshine over the festival grounds.
Shortly before the show, I had a chance to visit with Johanne Francoeur, Director of the Festival. She told me she was so looking forward to the show and still clearly remembers seeing Supertramp in 1979. Johanne said that the whole community was looking forward to seeing Roger and that "it is a rare opportunity for our area to get someone like him.” I told Johanne that she was in for a treat that she would remember for a very long time to come. She went on to tell me "Listening to Roger at sound check reminded me that there is something in that voice that gets you inside. There are not a lot of singers who can do that.” Yes, Johanne, my thoughts exactly.
I was amazed at the throng of people who kept pouring into the grounds. People were literally walking to the site from all directions and the line of cars entering did not seem to end. I was told that 10,000 people were expected which was the largest audience yet for an artist at the festival. The area seemed to be filled to capacity. People of all ages, even children, came to see Roger. Anticipation hung in the air.
Roger came on stage and the audience went wild with applause and cheers welcoming him. He seemed to be genuinely touched by the outpouring of love and admiration that was being sent his way. Roger and his band, Aaron, Bryan, Ian, and Kevin, started the set with "Take the Long Way Home” and everyone was singing along, knowing every single word. That seemed to be the case for just about every single song – the audience members sang along and danced and were so very obviously having the time of their lives. Smiles were everywhere.
"Along Came Mary” was stunning. During "Even in the Quietest Moments,” the audience was well, quiet - so much so that you could hear a pin drop. Then I realized that everyone around me, myself included, was just soaking in the astonishing performance of this most exquisite masterpiece. Just Roger and his guitar. Sheer talent.
Roger spoke in French between songs throughout the show. At times the audience members had to help Roger just "a little bit” with the right words, but everyone was having a great time assisting Roger with the French language and the audience appreciated the fact that Roger communicated with them in their native language.
No one wanted the night to end. Roger and the band performed a stunning rendition of "Fool’s Overture.” Probably one of the best performances of this song that I have seen from Roger. Perfection. At the end of "Fool’s,” Roger stood in the middle of the stage and was quickly surrounded by his band members. They were able to take in the tremendous applause. People didn’t want to let Roger go. After leaving the stage for a few minutes, Roger and the band came back to a wildly cheering audience and we were treated to "School” and "It’s Raining Again” for the encore.
To top off this magical evening, directly after
Roger’s performance, there was a spectacular 25-minute fireworks display
directly over the festival grounds. A
beautiful ending for a beautiful concert.
Shawinigan Sound Check Photo: Linda Gianotti