Roger Hodgson | February 28, 2012


Concert review: Roger Hodgson allows Chandler audience to dream, Feb. 26, 2012


Ted Hansen
Mesa Classic Rock Music Examiner

Beautiful.  That’s the word that just keeps popping into your head when watching Roger Hodgson perform.  Whether it’s the melodic complexity of his songs, the harmonies he weaves with his band, the lyrics that sweep you away or his ability to still command the incredible upper range of his voice, beautiful was what kept coming to mind over and over again during his performance at The Wild Horse Pass Casino Ovations LIVE showroom in Chandler, Arizona on February 26, 2012.  Breathtaking might also apply. I want more certainly would.

For ninety five minutes Roger Hodgson and his band entertained a near sell-out crowd, playing the Supertramp hits he made famous and some solo material from a career, as Hodgson stated, of a performer who you “know his voice and songs but not his name.” Maybe because this is the first time in thirty years that Hodgson has toured North America with a full band, some might not have remembered his name, but after Sunday night’s performance, that should not be a problem in the future.

Right out of the gate Hodgson gave the crowd what they wanted, opening with “Take the Long Way Home,” and “School,” two popular Supertramp songs and then ‘In Jeopardy,” a mildly successful hit from his 1984 In The Eye of The Storm solo release.  After moving to the grand piano and waiting for the spotlight to find him, Hodgson reminded the audience that sometimes “you have to fight for love” in introducing “Lovers in the Wind” a song which is moving by its simple beauty.  The opening chords of “Hide In Your Shell,” from Supertramp’s 1974 album Crime of the Century, were reminiscent of Brian Wilson’s Pet Sounds days and Hodgson and his band brought the house to its feet with their rendition.

Hodgson has surrounded himself with a great band.  Leading the way is the incomparable Aaron MacDonald on saxophones, vocals, keyboards, head knocking and just about any other sound Hodgson’s songs require.  He helps brings Hodgson’s musical visions to light.  Keyboardist Kevin Adamson complements Hodgson’s own keyboard playing, drummer Bryan Head is solid and tastefully restrained and newcomer David Carpenter on bass adds his fine playing and vocals to the mix.  Hodgson’s choice of personal for this tour is strong.

The evening progressed with solo material such as “Along Came Mary,” from Hodgson’s 2000 release Open The Door situated among Supertramp megahits such as “Breakfast in America,” “The Logical Song” and “Dreamer.” A few in the audience grooved to the lesser known but hypnotic “Child of Vision,” which earned a limited standing ovation.  The regular set closed with the majestic “Fools Overture” a combination of three pieces of music that Hodgson found a way to combine.

The crowd demanded Roger’s (by now with the intimacy Hodgson gave the audience between the songs, being on a first name basis would be appropriate) return and he obliged with “Give a Little Bit,” which allowed the audience, who had been fairly subdued throughout the night, to burst out what they had been holding in all night long, joining Roger in singing and clapping.  Aware that he doesn’t get to Arizona all that often, Hodgson encouraged the onslaught of camera phone photography.

Listening to Roger Hodgson’s songs, it’s tempting to close your eyes and be transported into a variety of beautiful moments that his music evokes in your mind.  But if we only get Roger once every thirty years with a band, it is advisable to keep your eyes open and take in the whole experience.

Set List:  Take The Long Way Home | School | In Jeopardy | Lovers in the Wind | Hide In Your Shell | Sister Moonshine | Breakfast In America | Lady | Along Came Mary | The Logical Song | Lord Is It Mine | Child of Vision | Dreamer | Fool’s Overture | Encore:  Give A Little Bit

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