ROGER HODSON LIVE IN THE UK
An Evening with Roger Hodgson
Sage Gateshead UK
28th May 2011
By Ian Routledge
Take The Long Way Home | School | In Jeopardy | Hide In Your Shell | Lovers In The Wind | A Soapbox Opera | Easy Does It | Sister Moonshine | Breakfast In America | Along Came Mary | The Logical Song | Intermission | Child of Vision | Lord Is It Mine | If Everyone Was Listening | Puppet Dance | The Awakening | Don't Leave Me Now | Dreamer | Fool's Overture
Two Of Us | Give A Little Bit | It's Raining Again
The only previous time I'd seen Roger Hodgson was at the now defunct Arrow Rock Festival in Holland in 2007. My friend and I were wandering between two of the stages (there were three that year), and he was just being introduced. We still had 10 minutes until Thin Lizzy, the band we wanted to see appeared on stage 2, so we thought let's have a listen. We ended staying for the whole of the 60 minute set.
Hodgson of course is best known as the former co-frontman, and founding member, of progressive rock band Supertramp. He solely composed and sang on the majority of the band's biggest hits, including "Dreamer", "Give a Little Bit", "The Logical Song", "Breakfast in America", "Take the Long Way Home" and "It"s Raining Again," earning him the fan-given nickname of Mr. Supertramp. Hodgson was with the band for 14 years before leaving in 1983. In a later interview Hodgson stated that the reason he left the band was to spend time with his two small children and not problems in his relationship with co-founder Rick Davies as was speculated at the time of his departure. Since leaving Supertramp, Hodgson has continued to record and tour, recording 3 solo albums, In the Eye of the Storm in 1984, Hai Hai in 1987 and Open the Door in 2000.
In May 2006, Roger Hodgson was honored by ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) in recognition of his song "Give a Little Bit" being one of the most played songs in the ASCAP repertoire in 2005.
And so to the current tour, 30+ dates across Europe, to take in the UK, Germany Spain and many more, tonight's venue being the Sage in Gateshead, just over the river from Newcastle Upon Tyne. The venue deserves a mention here, it seats 1700 and has been specially designed to provide excellent acoustics. Reflectors in the ceiling can be moved and altered to provide the best sound for all types of music, although I would say that the lighting for this kind of performance did leave a lot to be desired.
Quite often Hodgson has appeared with just long time stage partner, the excellent Canadian Aaron MacDonald (Sax, Keys, vocals). However, this tour he is backed up by McDonald, fellow Canadians Kevin Adamson (keyboards), Ian Stewart (bass) and Californian Bryan Head (drums.)
The set starts with a great tempo with two Supertramp tracks "Take The Long Way" and "School," and then "In Jeopardy" from his first solo album In the Eye of the Storm. "Hide In Your Shell" is followed by another track from In the Eye of the Storm "Lovers In The Wind." Audience participation whistling precedes "Easy Does It", and then further Supertramp classics "Sister Moonshine" and "Breakfast In America". "Along Came Mary" comes next. From his solo album "Open The Door", Hodgson jokes the album was written in France, recorded in France, released in France, and unfortunately stayed in France. "The Logical Song" completes the first half of the set and leads to a 20 minute intermission.
With the audience dutifully seated within the 20 minutes, the second half of the set begins with more Supertramp tracks in "Child of Vision", "Lord Is It Mine" and "If Everyone Was Listening". "Puppet Dance" from Hodgson"s 1997 album "Hai Hai" is followed by a new and so far unrecorded song "The Awakening". The second half of the set then finishes with "Don't Leave Me Now", "Dreamer" and the very prog rock "Fool's Overture" which is over 10 minutes long, and a collage of progressive instrumentation and sound samples. Returning to rapturous applause, the band complete the evening with a 3 song encore, "Two Of Us", "Give A Little Bit" and "It's Raining Again".
I have to admit the evening was somewhat different from the "normal" rock gigs which I usually attend, but that doesn't mean that it was any less enjoyable. Hodgson has what seems a very laid back demeanour, and I thoroughly enjoyed the rapport with the audience, the story telling behind individual songs. So how can I sum up the evening, well I'll use Hodgson's own lyrics to do this, the last 2 words of "The Logical Song" do it nicely "B-b-bloody marvellous".