Roger Hodgson made his entry on a stage furnished sparsely with just a handful of old carpets, as well as a palm tree. As soon as his band started to play the first notes of Take the Long Way Home, I knew I had been mistaken: the former Supertramp member and his crew revealed their musical talent while the french public gave them a warm welcome.
They proceeded with the hit School, referred to as a 'journey of emotions', followed by In Jeopardy. Afterwards, Hodgson explained that "since the world is jeopardized, [he] only stops for the most important thing: love", which led to the next track, Lovers in the Wind. In between songs, every one of the musicians kept switching instruments, proving their expertise to the audience.
The setlist contained numerous hits such as Breakfast in America (Supertramp's first song to explode in France), Along Came Mary (written in Nantes in 1999), Fools, Only Because of You, Lord Is It Mine, The Logical Song... Throughout these numbers, Hodgson demonstrated his multiple skills by not only singing, but also playing guitar, bass, and the piano. A tune entitled Death & A Zoo, from his last studio album Open the Door, thus followed. The singer took a minute to ask his fans: had they been a wild animal that had been captured, would they have rather died than lived in a zoo?
Later on, he announced that Child of Vision was dedicated to both a friend of his, and a fan who was celebrating her birthday that night. As for the following track, The Awakening, it hadn't been recorded yet but had been played a few times before. "The older I get, he said introducing the song, the more I realize the importance of forgiveness, even though it's hard sometimes".
After a brilliant performance of Dreamer, the tracks Don't Leave Me Now and Fools (Ouverture) were supposed to conclude the show. Nevertheless, the audience couldn't get enough of it and called the band for an encore. They came back within a minute and sang The Tourist, Two of Us, as well as Loneliness (dedicated to Alex Jefferson). Before officially closing the show, Hodgson invited the crowd to "sing a few songs and go home smiling": Give a Little Bit and It's Raining Again would echo through our hearts for the rest of the night...
Not only did Roger Hodgson host an incredible concert, but any Supertramp fan could've said with pride that he managed to keep the essence of the British band alive: a perfect mix of pop and progressive rock. As for the musicians who accompanied him all night long, I find they're underrated, not recognized enough for their immense talent and ability to master such as various display of instruments.
If you've missed Hodgson's performance last July, he'll be coming back to Paris for two consecutive nights on April 30 and May 1, 2016. Check out his official website rogerhodgson.com for more details on the next venues.