Roger Hodgson Serves Up Supertramp Favorites: Review

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Roger Hodgson, Feb. 15, 2020, Ridgefield Playhouse, Ridgefield, Conn. (Photo: © Greg Brodsky)

It’s been more than 40 years since Supertramp’s breakout album, Breakfast in America, was released in 1979. The British band had already achieved success with their mid-’70s output Crime of the Century, Crisis? What Crisis? and Even in the Quietest Moments, each of which had earned solid sales worldwide and their first pop radio success with “Dreamer,” “Bloody Well Right” and “Give a Little Bit.”

But few would have anticipated what happened next when Breakfast was served. Three huge singles led to a #1 album in most territories, and now the composer and the singer of those songs, Roger Hodgson, is on an extended tour four decades later.

On a cold, mid-February night, Hodgson presented his Breakfast in America world tour with his four-piece band, before an appreciative audience at the Ridgefield Playhouse in this charming Connecticut town 60 miles north of New York City. Songs from the 1979 album dominated the evening’s 15-song setlist.

Roger Hodgson joking with the Ridgefield Playhouse audience (with multi-instrumentalist Michael Ghegan in the background) (Photo: © Greg Brodsky)

Hodgson, dressed impeccably in a white suit, opened with “Take the Long Way Home,” one of the album’s big hits. After the applause, he greeted the audience and had the house lights turned on so he could see the crowd. As he spotted two late arrivals still headed for their seats, he deadpanned, “You just missed the best song,” to which one of them replied, “We took the wrong way here.” The audience roared.

Two songs later, Hodgson introduced the title track from Breakfast in America. Referring to the lyrics that begin Take a look at my girlfriend, she’s the only one I got, Not much of a girlfriend…, he explained that he wrote it when he was just 19 years old. (Hodgson composed many of the songs that would later became Supertramp hits when he was still in his teens.) “What was I thinking,” he asked the audience rhetorically. “I’m so glad I learned to write better love songs.”

Watch Hodgson and his band perform the song on the tour’s opening night, a few evening’s earlier

[Best Classic Bands asked him after the show about the song that was written in 1969 but not recorded until nearly a decade later. “I never felt it fit with the rest of the songs on Crime, Crisis or Quietest Moments,” he explained. “But with Breakfast in America, which was a collection of very different, upbeat songs, I felt it did.”]

During the performance, Hodgson – who turned 70 on March 21 – transitioned seamlessly from keyboards to guitar to piano. For “The Logical Song,” Supertramp’s biggest single, he was back on his Roland and when he got to the “who I am” part, he was still able to hit the lyric’s high notes. Multi-instrumentalist Michael Ghegan, a standout throughout the evening, played the song’s distinctive sax parts and whistles.

Watch them perform it at that same Feb. 13 concert

For “Had a Dream (Sleeping With the Enemy)” from his 1984 solo LP, In the Eye of the Storm, Hodgson, on guitar, urged the suburban audience to stand, and they reacted enthusiastically to the crowd pleaser. On “Child of Vision,” he sparkled on piano on the song’s lengthy instrumental passage.

Watch Hodgson’s official live clip of the song, from 2013

“I’ve lived my dream,” said Hodgson at one point.

The evening closed with “Give a Little Bit,” with the audience singing along.

The world tour resumes in May and continues throughout the rest of 2020, with dates already scheduled in December. He promised more U.S. concerts would be announced soon. Tickets for many of the shows are available here and here.

Related: Our Album Rewind of Breakfast in America

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Greg Brodsky
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  1. Adaline
    #1 Adaline 18 February, 2020, 20:33

    Thanks Greg for eloquently expressing what we all experienced and felt in our hearts with Roger and band in Ridgefield! Following Roger’s FB for the new US dates and ready to do it all again – an unforgettable concert that had us rocking and dancing, astonished and rapt with deep emotion all night and long after. Loved the joyful humour and good laughs, every ‘little bit’ something special. Counting the days to the next one!

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  2. Lucy
    #2 Lucy 19 February, 2020, 00:45

    I can’t wait to see Roger again in just a few days. I’ve been waiting weeks and the show is finally almost here. There are not many artists I greatly look forward to seeing, but Roger’s show is not just seeing him perform his songs that I love; it’s also as if I’m coming to see an old friend again and it appears that many in the audience think as I do, with the comments I hear. There is nothing better than seeing the original singer/songwriter performing his own songs. For anyone who was or is a fan of Supertramp, you’ve got to see Roger live in concert. He IS Supertramp.

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  3. Nuskysa
    #3 Nuskysa 19 February, 2020, 10:55

    Great review. It shows so clearly why Roger Hodgson is one of the best performers nowadays. I haven’t seen ever such communication between an Artist and his audience, as Roger does, all the feelings you can experience: It’s a thrill, a blast, chills and goosebumps, all at the same time… He achieves a unique and unforgettable magic atmosphere. When you have such wonderful songs in the repertoire you don’t need anything else, just open your heart and let yourself go. Good songs don’t need much decoration, when you have good songs all you have to do is play them and empty yourself, leave the heart in each one. What is the recipe for a good song?, I think Roger has it, and it is: Good lyrics, good music, good performance and something else that nobody knows what it is and that is what really matters, that’s the key, that’s what Roger does, and that’s why his shows are so special, because , when you attend to one of his concerts, you feel you have to see him once and another, no matter how far you have to travel. It’s worth!!!

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  4. Dan W
    #4 Dan W 19 February, 2020, 19:41

    I was there! I see Roger every year he tours in the US and just keeps getting better, it’s something special…..the extended jams were really awesome.

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  5. Mila
    #5 Mila 19 February, 2020, 20:06

    The best ! Not more needed to say.

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  6. Bill
    #6 Bill 19 February, 2020, 22:01

    I was there and what a great show it was !! Roger’s interactions with the crowd between songs only added to the intimate atmosphere of the Ridgefield. I was fortunate to connect with Roger after the show as part of my meet & greet ticket. It was such an honor and he was so genuine and generous with his time. What a great guy !! Looking forward to future shows.

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