"He's Getting Unbelievable!"
When I discovered that Roger Hodgson, the legendary voice of Supertramp, was going to perform at the Royal Albert Hall I immediately booked some tickets. I knew that this beautiful theatre with its prestigious history and rather challenging acoustics would be the perfect setting to bring the very best out of an Artist of a rare musical sensitivity like Roger Hodgson.
The moment Roger walked on stage it became clear that London was in for a night to remember. As the first bass note of "Take the Long Way Home" officially opened the tour in the country that saw both Roger and Supertramp being born, my heart started racing and goosebumps came to visit me. Then I realised that such a beautiful and historical venue, illuminated by games of smoke-filled beams of lights, was full of fans of all ages and nationalities, making the atmosphere truly magical!
On this occasion Roger performed with his band (Aaron MacDonald, Kevin Adamson, Bryan Head and Ian Stewart), four of the finest musicians I have ever had the pleasure to watch and listen to. Together as one they incessantly delighted the audience with a selection of Roger's solo works (like "In Jeopardy", "Along Came Mary" and the touching "Puppet Dance") alternated with some Supertramp classics like "The Logical Song", "Dreamer", "Sister Moonshine", "Breakfast in America". This was the moment when even the apparently shy and introverted people finally "melted" and joined the rest in a beautiful clapping dance.
Roger, as always, had a very warm way of interacting with his audience who, in turn, responded with an amazingly tuned whistling which accompanied him through the very melodic "Easy Does It". After a powerful rendition of "Child of Vision" the moment I regretted wearing a little mascara finally arrived; Roger sat at his piano and poured his heart out while singing what I lovingly refer to as 'the most beautiful musical prayer ever written': "Lord is it Mine". This was the highlight of the show for me. The way he has interpreted this song has come a long way since its first appearance on the "Breakfast in America" album and tonight it was possibly the best rendition I have ever heard. The music seemed to flow through him and you could almost touch the emotion in his voice. This had the audience shed many tears while listening in religious silence. It was a very special moment that made me feel very close to him and I will treasure it forever.
The special connection between Roger and his lucky fans then grew a little stronger when he performed "The Awakening", one of many of Roger's compositions which are still unreleased. "Don't Leave Me Now" saw the excellent drummer Bryan Head give a very dramatic and emotional contribution to the exceptional work of the whole band, which was rewarded by a standing ovation.
The show officially closed with "Fool's Overture" which was so intense and so beautifully played I have heard people refer to it as "the symphony" as a result! The standing ovation at the end was deafening and so long that Roger and the band returned for an encore with "Two of us", "Give a little bit" and "It's raining again". By this point the whole Hall was dancing, singing and even hugging which was a lovely thing to experience and a lovely end to an unforgettable evening.
In my almost 17 years of being a musician I have met many artists but I can honestly say that Roger Hodgson has something more, something unique that shines through his warm voice, kind eyes and beautiful smile. Something special which has the power to touch and positively influence so many people around the globe.
This was my first time at one of Roger's shows and I am truly amazed at how good Roger is live. Both from an emotion and a technical point of view. He seems to be better now that thirty years ago, which is something quite rare to find.
If you have never seen him perform live I wish you to be able to catch one of his shows very soon. You will treasure that night forever and I may even see you there!