Roger Hodgson, 8th June 1998
Paradiso, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

By Jerry van Kooten


It's quite a strange experience to see the Paradiso filled up with chairs... Only three hundred people filled the space often packed with one thousand or even more.

Roger Hogdson was, of course, one of the main composers, singer, guitarist and keyboard player of Supertramp. A well-promoted so-called reunion tour last year (Hodgson was not present) didn't make a big impression on me. Er, didn't make any impression at all, to be honest.

I had a ticket for Monday, June 8th, and didn't have any expectations. As far as I know, he only released three albums after he parted with Supertramp (The Eye Of The Storm and Hai Hai in the Eighties, and, recently, Rites Of Passage). I simply didn't know what to expect.

Well, I could have expected a lot, but not this... First, I cannot remember when I last saw a live gig sitting down. Second, it was a solo gig.
Yes, a solo gig. Hodgson used one keyboard, one acoustic guitar, one organ, and one electronic drum pad. And the emotion that came from the two and a half hour performance of a single man using these instruments was wonderful!

The audience was very diverse, although the average age was higher than you would expect at a "regular" prog gig. The sweet smell of marihuana tickled my nostrils while the man on stage was in a cozy conversation with the audience between the songs from as early as Indelibly Stamped through a yet unreleased track.

Since Hodgson hardly played the old Supertramp songs for about fifteen years (this is his first tour since his final tour with the band, in 1984), he wasn't tired of playing them. So we heard a lot of them. His voice was only a little less than fifteen years ago, and that's something not a lot of people can say. How does he sing that high?!

After about 45 minutes, Hogdson asked the audience whether there were any songs we wanted to hear. I think he played all of the requests, although during one or two of them, he made clear he didn't remember the lyrics that well. It takes a professional artist to make something of a situation like this.

At the best of their time, Supertramp were a very original and progressive band. Hogdson also wrote sweeter songs, but still very melodic. I mean, once a hippy... :-) The more progressive songs are, of course, difficult to play by only one musician, but the arrangements were great, and at times, Hogdson used his voice to imitate the saxophones.

Not your average prog gig, but still all elements of a wonderful evening. A show like this proves again that music is about emotion, something which many bands tend to forget... You need a musician, a performer to make a show. Hogdson is one. A great one.

 

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