Roger Hodgson ~ Royal Albert Hall, London ~ May 25,
As the oh-so familiar strains of The Logical
Song bring the first half of Roger Hodgson's lively performance to a close,
pockets of his attentive yet dutifully well-behaved audience begin to
display signs of their deeply held devotion. Heart-shaped balloons (red, of
course) are held aloft and an outbreak of dancing (of sorts) takes place in
the aisles of this salubrious hall. Aside from one fellow who feels the need
to bark unintelligible demands at Hodgson intermittently throughout his
performance, it's about as lively as the audience gets tonight.
That said, the trick is repeated, this time with more gusto and added
involvement from Hodgson himself, who requests a balloon to toy with
inquisitively as the equally evocative Dreamer nudges the second half
towards its conclusion. Again, aside from the enthusiastic but polite
applause that deservedly greets every song, it's about as animated as the
Whereas Yes, ELP or Tull tend to draw a predominantly older and sometimes
more boisterous male crowd, as with the Moody Blues, the cross-over appeal
of many of Hodgson/Supertramp's musical moments attracts a broader-based
audience (although a smattering of Rush T-shirts from the previous night's
O2 show is evidence of the prog appeal on display).
Tonight's show isn't all about Hodgson's Supertramp years, either. Both In
Jeopardy and Lovers in the Wind are from his classy In the Eye
of the Storm
solo debut, and an excellent, rousing Death and a Zoo from 2000's criminally
overlooked Open the Door pay testament to a worthy post-'Tramp career.
Inevitably the better-known songs such as Take the Long Way Home, School and
Breakfast in America are lapped up by the adoring fans, but even with his
four-piece band providing unfussy backing, there's a personal element about
this gig that connects directly with the audience, as Hodgson reveals quite
intimate details of the creative process that surrounds Sister Moonshine and
If Everyone was Listening.
Rosie Had Everything Planned takes us back to 1971's Indelibly Stamped - as
early as anything gets tonight - but it's the evocative strains of Fool's
Overture ending the set proper that highlights the fact that, alongside the
radio-friendly hits, Hodgson was equally adept at creating masterful moments
of progressive rock idealism. Even if, as he announces in this case, the
song itself was structured from three separate pieces of music.
The intimate nature is carried through the encores, with both Give a Little
Bit and the buoyant It's Raining Again providing the chance for audience
clap-alongs, closing the night with the personal touch only an artist as
natural and honest as Hodgson can bring to such an auditorium. It was a
fitting end to an often touching performance.