Roger Hodgson Rekindles His Canadian Love Affair with November Tour
Posted by Jim Barber | November 2, 2016
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Former Supertramp co-founder, vocalist and songwriter Roger Hodgson
begins his latest Canadian tour Nov. 7 in Quebec City, with a number of dates
in Ontario and western Canada to follow.
Over the past four decades, Canada has had a love affair with the music created by Roger Hodgson. From his days fronting the legendary British progressive rock band Supertramp, up to his regular sold out tours of the Great White North over the past decade, the 66-year-old singer/songwriter continues to enjoy a remarkably powerful relationship with fans in this nation.
Hodgson tours throughout the world, but has a special place in his heart for Canada, where he returns practically every year for a run of shows, including his epic recurring two-night engagements at Casino Rama near Orillia, Ontario. His shows there on Nov. 11 and Nov. 12, accompanied by a full orchestra and choir, mark his 13th year of appearances at the 5,000-seat venue, and is part of a short fall tour that begins in Quebec City on Nov. 7, then moves to Ottawa the following evening, before he returns to Kingston for the first time in decades for a show at the Rogers K-Rock Centre on Nov. 9. Then there are the Rama dates, shows across prairie provinces, and ending his jaunt Nov. 29 in Victoria, B.C.
“Canada has always been a special place for me. Canada discovered Supertramp before America did, actually. The history of my relationship with Canada spans from the
Crime of the Century album [released in 1974] and goes right through beyond
Breakfast In America  and into my solo career. It’s incredible the support that the music has received from Canada. And I don’t know if you know, but I have a couple of Diamond Awards back home which means that one million Canadians owned
Crime of the Century and one million Canadians owned
Breakfast in America. At the time I think the population was somewhere around 20 million so that means one in 20 Canadians owned those albums, which is a pretty amazing statistic,” said Hodgson, taking a break from rehearsals just outside Milwaukee.
“It was an amazing relationship from the outset. I remember it very clearly when one day we were in Louisville, Kentucky on tour with Supertramp and the whole band was out in the street giving away tickets to try and get an audience for the night. The next day we flew to Montreal and played the sold-out Forum. So it was pretty mind blowing at the time just how much Canadian fans took to our music.
“And it is a love affair that has seemingly endured all these years. Now it’s for Roger Hodgson specifically. There aren’t as many people who know me by name, but slowly they are realizing that what they are going to see if they are coming to see a Roger Hodgson show is, to me, the best of Supertramp. Plus I think the fact that it’s a different vibe now, the shows are more intimate and there’s a real heart to heart connection with the audience is drawing people consistently to the shows.”
Hodgson and former Supertramp bandmate Rick Davies shared all the songwriting credits equally in the same manner as John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Knowing who actually wrote a specific song is easy to determine as Davies sung his compositions, while Hodgson sang his own. Thus, the majority of the band’s biggest hits, all of which are staples in his show to this day, were in fact composed solely by Hodgson. These include
The Logical Song, Give A Little Bit, Dreamer, Take the Long Way Home, Breakfast in America, School, It’s Raining Again and
These are songs that have become ingrained in popular culture and their lyrical depth and emotive music have imbedded themselves on the hearts and minds of millions of fans of all ages around the world. Which is why it feels like such an intimate, joyous environment at a Roger Hodgson show, even if the show is in a venue the size of Casino Rama’s Entertainment Centre or the K-Rock Centre in Kingston.
“I prefer playing smaller places compared to the big stadiums and arenas when I was with Supertramp. I like places where I can have a real connection. These songs have been a part of so many lives, especially up there in Canada. So it’s amazing for me as a performer, someone who wants to give people a rich experience, to look out and see people crying or see people hugging each other, or their eyes looking skyward as they go back and remember the song from a particular point in their life. I think it’s an amazing gift to be able to give to people and I really don’t take it lightly. I am very grateful for it,” he said, adding that he is also enjoying seeing a broad age range of fans at his shows.
“A lot of the younger generation tell me that the music was playing in the house when they were growing up and they fell in love with it themselves. Others are just looking for music that has a little more depth to it and I guess they have somehow stumbled across Supertramp and my songs. But what amazes me is when I look out and I see multiple generations, like a father and son or daughter, or even a whole family sometimes coming to see my shows. It’s very special when you can go and enjoy the same music and, I don’t know about you, but I never did that with my parents. So I think it’s very rare and very special and then the ones that I meet after the show say how special it is that they could share an experience with loved ones that involved the same music.”
There is an almost ethereal peacefulness at a Roger Hodgson concert, even when the songs are more up-tempo. Much is this comes from Hodgson’s own calm, centred demeanour, as well as his deeply-held belief that music is more than just something to while away the hours, that it has a substantive, positive impact on people’s lives.
“I think there is still so much we can do with music; we haven’t begun to scratch the surface. Music, to me, is a sacred art form and really it’s not about the entertainers getting their egos stroked. To me it’s about taking down the barriers and creating an alchemical connection that takes people somewhere. It is a healing journey and an uplifting event – that’s what I feel about it,” he said.
“To me, I really look at it as my service. It’s a gift I have been given in this life and I know it’s touched a lot of people and that’s what keeps me going on tour. The trials of touring and travel are hard on the body, so looking at it from the service aspect or, to copy a phrase, I am giving a little bit to life. And it’s totally a two-way connection. I just know that I love the feeling of the barrier between the artist and the audience coming down – suddenly we’re just all there together. It’s like the audience is in my living room. It may be a big living room, but I feel like I am still just playing for friends.
“The songs themselves, the lyrics are pretty deep, a lot of them, and they really make people think in ways that maybe they don’t in normal life very often. And there’s humour at my shows. I like it to feel relaxed. I just try to give it my all and enjoy myself to the max.”
Hodgson and Davies formed Supertramp in 1969, and the band released seven albums before Hodgson departed in 1983. The band subsequently released four more. Their 1979 album
Breakfast in America has sold 20 million copies worldwide and the band’s catalogue has sold more than 60 million in total. Hodgson released his first solo album,
In the Eye of the Storm in 1984, followed by
Hai Hai in 1987. His last solo studio album was
Open the Door in 2000.
But over the years he has continued to write music, and occasionally performs such compositions in concert.
“I do write occasionally, although I do have a busy life. The great thing is that I still have a backlog of about 60 songs that I have written over the years and once in a while I will pull them out. I just got one out yesterday and ran through it with the band and it sounded great. The problem is people want to hear all of the classics that they have grown up with and that they know. So it’s harder to fit in the newer songs because I really believe in giving the people what’s going to be the best two hour experience that they can have, and that usually entails playing the songs that they want to hear,” Hodgson said.
“But the great thing is that the songs that I play off my solo albums and sometimes the newer songs that are unrecorded actually steal the show. They really do hold their own, which I really like. But I would love to maybe release some new music, but I am not sure if that’s in a CD format or it’s just a case of putting the songs out some other way like YouTube just to introduce a new song. I actually have a song called
Christmas that’s been burning a hole in my pocket for years and years and I just know it would be a hit. I think it would probably become a classic Christmas song, but I just haven’t got around doing it.
“And to be honest, to me I prefer the connection of doing more live shows than locking myself away in a studio for four months. So I am trying to find a way of capturing the songs either in sound check or in my hotel room and then just put them online or release them in the various formats that are available now.”
For more information on Hodgson and his dates in Ontario and the rest of Canada, visit his website at
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