Roger Hodgson at the NYCB Theatre
NYCB Theatre At Westbury
Westbury, New York
October 26, 2013
Though his name may not be totally familiar, his distinctive voice is instantly recognizable. Roger Hodgson, along with Rick Davies, founded Supertramp. In 1970, the band's self-titled debut album was released by A&M Records. During the '70s and early '80s, Hodgson's timeless songs helped propel the band to international stardom. In 1983 after the Famous Last Words (A&M Records, 1982) album and tour, Hodgson left the group. Choosing to live a simpler lifestyle with his family, Hodgson built a state-of-the-art recording studio at his home, which enabled him to continue to create music while watching his children grow. His first solo album In the Eye of the Storm (A&M Records, 1984) was a critical and international (multi-million selling) hit; his solo career was off to a brilliant start. Never straying far from his muse, Hodgson has released four additional solo offerings, with more on the way. During the past is time he has continued touring.
On a cool and brisk October evening, just about a year following after Superstorm Sandy caused his last Long Island appearance to be cancelled, Hodgson thrilled the crowd at the intimate venue with a tight two-set performance that left them wanting more. Along with his band (David J. Carpenter, bass, backing vocals), Bryan Head (drums), Aaron Macdonald (saxophones, keyboards, harmonica, melodica, backing vocals) and Kevin Adamson (keyboards, backing vocals) Hodgson treated his fans to a superb concert chock-full of his Supertramp and solo classics.
Hodgson opened with "Take The Long Way Home." As the song was ending, and some stragglers were being seated, Hodgson took the opportunity to have a little fun, smiling and joking with the latecomers by telling them, "You missed the best part." Effortlessly moving between keyboards, 12-string guitar and piano, Hodgson couched many of his songs with stories about their genesis and his creative process. Prior to playing "Breakfast In America," he explained that he "wrote it at 19 on a new pump organ," when he was "in love with all things America." He further explained that he recorded it 13 years later with Supertramp. After a tour-de-force performance, he exclaimed, "It always brings a smile to my face, that one!"
In addition to the huge hits from the legendary Breakfast In America (A&M Records, 1979), Hodgson and his band offered up a career spanning show. The first set included "School," "In Jeopardy," "Lovers In The Wind," "Hide In Your Shell" (which was dedicated to the audience members who had requested it), "Easy Does It" (featuring help from the crowd on the whistling portion of the song), "Sister Moonshine," "Lady," "C'est Le Bon" and "The Logical Song" (also from Breakfast In America and dedicated on this night to his friends Anthony and Valerie who had flown in from England for the show).
After a short intermission (during which business at the merchandise table was quite brisk), the five musicians returned to the stage. The ensuing set included "Child Of Vision," the not-often-played gem "Babaji" (announced as a special request from a family of fans and from Dan Kellachan, the venue's marketing manager, who Hodgson described as "the man who brought me here"), "Lord Is It Mine," "If Everyone Was listening," "Even In The Quietest Moments," "Dreamer," "Fools Overture" and "Death And A Zoo" which Hodgson explained was "from Open The Door (Epic, 2000), which was recorded and released in France and mostly stayed there ... this song asks the question what is better for a wild animalto die in the wild or be captured and live in a zoo."
The evening ended with a wonderful two-song encore comprised of "Two Of Us," and "Give A Little Bit," during which it appeared that every member of the audience was on his or her feet, singing and swaying along with Hodgson and his band.
Though Supertramp is clearly something from the past, Roger Hodgson lives in the present. He and his band played a strong set of energetic pop rock. Each and every song was greeted with energy, emotion and wild applause (there were a number of standing ovations). Many of the fans in the crowd got an opportunity to transport themselves back and relive their youth. The ageless quality and enduring appeal of his songs brought back warm memories for these fans, while instilling new ones to be thought of fondly as the ensuing years roll past.
[Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon].