Roger Hodgson, Gig Review

Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. May 29th 2011

May 30, 2011 - 10:14am Ian D. Hall

For Roger Hodgson to come to Liverpool and play at the Philharmonic Hall is one of those rare moments in time that if you are a lover of good, honest and well crafted songs delivered with style, humour and grace then no matter what you had to be there. Roger last toured Liverpool in the late 1970’s when he was still part of the phenomenal British band, Supertramp.


His instantly recognisable vocal talents have thrilled generation upon generation of music lovers and judging by the reaction and ovations he was receiving throughout the night, Roger doesn’t look stopping from being held in very high affection any time soon.


The crescendo of noise that greeted Roger and his superb band could have daunted less calm men however Roger as always let his music do the talking for him and as he settled at his keyboards, Roger gave the kind of performance that will undoubtedly live long in the memory and raise a smile whenever those who were fortunate enough to witness the gig think back on the night.


Kicking off the night in high style, Roger went through songs from critically acclaimed albums such as Breakfast in America, Crime of the Century and even a few sneak looks at his solo recordings in the form of the 2000 release Open the Door.     
There was no better start for the audience than the driving whimsy of Take the Long Way Home and the haunting backdrop of children for the track School. Roger strove on with tracks as wonderfully diverse as Hide in Your Shell, the eponymous Breakfast in America, the superb Along came Mary and the wonderfully observed Soapbox Opera before ending the first part of the show with the critical and well played The Logical Song.


The second half of the show carried on much in the same vein, with hits, much loved music and timeless looks at the appeal of one of Britain’s favourite songwriters. Opening the second half with Child of Vision, the hauntingly beautiful Lord is it Mine, and the unforgettable If Everyone was Listening, Roger and the band played with the heart strings of all that were there as easily and as lightly as a valuable 12 string guitar.   


Roger proceeded to thank the audience and gave them a brief glimpse of somebody else’s work, something he never does, by gently playing the Beatles classic Across the Universe and crediting the four men for what they meant to him as a teenager.  


The main part of the evening was showcased with two of Roger’s and Supertramp’s finest moments in the radio friendly and fan favourite Dreamer and the eclectic and inspired Fools Overture which had the crowd bellowing for more before the final note was played.   


If the two main sets were special then to hear the songs that made up the encores was a privilege, not just for artistic value and quality of delivery but also for the audience participation. Encouraged by Roger’s gentle demeanour all night, the stirring sounds of a 1500 plus choir joined in with Two of Us, the simple and yet powerful message of Give a Little Bit and the bouncy Its Raining Again.


 To hear a packed auditorium declare as one voice that Roger is a Scouser repeatedly was awe inspiring and very much deserved.  It can certainly be said that when Liverpool people really love you, they adopt you for life and forever claiming you as their own. Roger was left in no uncertain terms how much his particular brand of music making has meant to a lot of people worldwide but more importantly to those who attended this rather special and excellent gig.


5 stars
Ian D. Hall