Take The Long Way Home

Christoph Franceschini

Translated by: Stephanie Litfin

He is Supertramp and Supertramp is him. Last Tuesday, 25 years after Supertramp split up, Roger Hodgson has shown, that he is still the heart and soul of this historical band. After the first few notes, he already took control over the audience. Roger Hodgson opened the concert with his song “Take The Long Way Home” and his message was clear: It was a long way home, but Im finally here. And this is exactly how the evening in Steinegg went on. Roger Hodgson felt comfortable in the house of culture, which was completely sold out with 800 attendees. “What is going on here?” he asked backstage as well as on stage, and this was not just meant as a joke, but as honest surprise. The enthusiasm of the fans, the warm-heartedness with which the people welcomed him and the energy they have shown towards the English musician gave him the kick he needed for a great rock show. But the audience only reflected what Roger gave them when he entered the stage. 58-year-old Hodgson, who still looks like 35, radiates such an easiness and serenity, that you simply have to feel comfortable with him. And when he starts to sing with this impressive, unique voice, nobody can resist this musician. 25 years ago, I saw Roger Hodgson playing on his last tour with Supertramp in Munich/Riem 1983. A few months later he left the band. Even back then he was the one who had this certain charisma, this unspectacular appearance and this special feeling that made the band what it was, and it still lives on. During the second song “Give A Little Bit,” one thing seemed to be clear: Supertramp is Roger Hodgson and he is Supertramp. In this night, the heart and soul of this historical band is standing on stage. Every single note manifests that. For many years Supertramp has been touring without Roger Hodgson, and they also performed in Bozen. In retrospect it becomes clear, that Supertramp nowadays is like an electric chimney fire: nice to look at, but it doesnt really make you feel warm inside. It is Roger Hodgson, who has written, sung and undergone the biggest songs of Supertramp. On Tuesday, he had let them rise again. From “The Logical Song” and “Hide in your Shell” to “Child Of Vision” and “Dreamer.” And in between some songs from his solo albums like “In Jeopardy”, “Lovers In The Wind” and “Open The Door.” Hodgson talked about a starlit night, in which a beautiful chord came to his mind and suddenly, a fantastic version of “Even In The Quietest Moments” sounded in the concert hall. Or he described his unsuccessful school career and how absurd it is that one of his most famous songs became the anthem of thousands of schools. And specially the following ten minutes lasting song “School” was worth the entrance fee. But the most incredible part is: there was no band playing on stage, but just a duo. Aaron MacDonald was performing with Roger Hodgson. The multi-instrumentalist is a congenial partner, playing saxophone, harmonica, flute, piano and sings, and he is more than just musical support. Although Hodgson has let some choirs and electronic sounds run over his sequencer, the two musicians created a very beautiful mixture of harmonies, which made a whole band dispensable. A few chords on the twelve string guitar or on the piano, combined with this incredible voice, and you could almost smell the “Breakfast In America.” By the time Roger Hodgson played his last song “Its Raining Again,” the concert hall was already heated up. At the end of the concert, he repeated his song “Give A Little Bit.” And more than once he promised “Ill be back.” I bet he wont forget his promise.