Roger Hodgson & 10CC – The Palais Theatre

April 7, 2010 by Andrew Watt 

To some audiences the combination of 10CC and Roger Hodgson (formerly of Supertramp) was a match made in heaven – two musically superior and unquestionably clever bands whose hits still enjoy extensive airplay. But I suspect this double bill was actually more a marriage of convenience – two acts thrown together by virtue of them being both in Australia for Bluesfest. It was interesting to note that neither acknowledged the other on the night.

Regardless the audience seemed very satisfied with both – as standing ovations and encores greeted both sets.

Both acts were short of personnel from their heyday. The 2010 10CC contained only Graham Gouldman from the original band. No Godley and Crθme and no Eric Stewart. Roger Hodgson performed the material of Supertramp without Rick Davies.

10CC was the more problematic of the two. Joining Gouldman was another four members and to be fair they were all outstanding players, two of whom Rick Fenn and Paul Burgess had been playing these songs for a good many years. Most notable was Mick Wilson who managed to replicate the missing lead vocals in an almost uncanny way.

But somehow it felt like a tribute band a lot of the time – a very, very good tribute band, but a tribute band nonetheless.

Some of the songs were resounding successes, most obviously I’m Mandy, Fly Me where Wilsons vocal performance was just outstanding and Art For Arts Sake where the brilliance of the composition wasn’t dulled by the performance at all. Even the massed vocal arrangement of I’m Not In Love was well replicated when it could have been excused had it not been.

It was great to hear some gems like The Things We Do For Love, Good Morning Judge and the encore Rubber Bullets but somehow the performance just lacked a little heart and veered a little too close to “cruise ship” to be regarded as a triumph.

There was no lack of heart in Roger Hodgson’s performance. Here was a musician and a songwriter performing his songs for no other reason than there was nothing else he would rather be doing. He came across as a humble man and one who was genuinely appreciative of the fact that people had come out to see him after an absence of 34 years.

After selling 60 million albums around the world you could have expected him to exude a little more of a sense of entitlement to the adulation he received but he really seemed thankful and well adjusted to the combination of great talent and good fortune that bought him to this point in his life.

His performance was exemplary. Vocally he seems actually stronger and more assured than when he was a younger man making multi million selling albums. His guitar playing and keyboard work was superb and he was extremely well complemented by young Canadian multi instrumentalist Aaron MacDonald who managed to bring a lot of the memorable instrumental moments from the records to life in the concert environment.

The greatest complement you could pay would be to say that you didn’t miss the full band arrangements at all – and I can say that with assurance.

That has a lot to do with the quality of the songs of course. These are undeniably great compositions and that stand the dual tests of time and stripped back performance with flag flying.

The hits were there of course – Take A Long Way Home, Give A Little Bit, Dreamer, The Logical Song, Its Raining Again and Breakfast In America were all wonderful but some of the lesser known songs like Along Came Mary, Lovers In The Wind and an unrecorded song that might have been called The Awakening were equally as good. In fact the latter, with its interesting look at the tendency to “re-write your story” once you reach a certain place in your life was a highlight.

Roger Hodgson is one of the contemporary pop worlds great talents and its well worth making the effort to see his show, pay homage and be thoroughly entertained by a quality individual.