Niagara Gazette



Hodgson gives a lot for Artpark crowd


By Thom Jennings,
Niagara Gazette

August 21, 2012


Niagara Gazette — Roger Hodgson was quick to note that Buffalo was one of Supertramp's "hotspots," in the early days of the band.

Forty years or so later it seems that the area is still filled with some hardcore fans. This was evidenced by the level of enthusiasm the Artpark crowd showed Hodgson whenever he played any song from the band's catalogue, whether it be a deep cut like "Child of Vision" or a hit like "Dreamer."

It has been nearly 30 years since Hodgson performed with Supertramp, and while the band forged on without him, he certainly can lay claim to the best of the band's catalogue. Moreover, while some former lead singers of bands seem content to surround themselves with musicians that will not draw attention away from them, Hodgson has one of the most impressive backing bands around. In some ways, they are even better than his former band mates in Supertramp.

Hodgson arrived onstage around 8 p.m. for a set that was just short of two hours. The stage was adorned with large houseplants, which seemed to flow to the tempo of the music throughout the night.

The set opened with "Take the Long Way Home," a song that would be a natural closer, and yet worked to get the crowd revved up for what would turn out to be a spectacular night of music under the stars.

Hodgson's stage presence is unlike anything I have seen before. He has a gentle demeanor, which stands in stark contrast to the fans that were dancing feverishly and singing along with every word of the Supertramp classics.
There were times when the crowd became so loud they drowned out Hodgson as he was trying to introduce the next song. The loudest cheers came after "The Logical Song," and "Dreamer."

While it was great to hear some of the hits, Hodgson dug deep in the Supertramp catalogue and performed some real gems like "If Everyone Was Listening" and "Hide in Your Shell" both from the "Crime of the Century," album.
The set also included some great songs from his solo catalogue, like "Lovers in the Wind," and "Death and a Zoo" a song that captured the attention of the entire venue with its intensity.

As I mentioned in the opening, Hodgson's band was simply spectacular. They handled some complex material and made it look easy. At stage right was Aaron MacDonald, whose main duty was to play saxophone, but he filled in all the spaces with an array of percussion instruments and other strange looking contraptions.

The highlight of the evening for me was the closing number "Fool's Overture." It is one of the greatest examples of progressive rock done right. The band's version was magical, and I was pleasantly surprised they performed it.
There were two encores, "Give a Little Bit," and "It's Raining Again." As Hodgson ran through "Raining' I couldn't help but think of the irony of it, since it never does seem to rain at Artpark on a Tuesday.


For article online: Niagara Gazette