- On 03 June 2011
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Supertramp: Blasts from the past served up a tad more mellower
70-10 tour offerings were just a little bit slow to heat up inside Rogers Arena
By Amanda Ash, Vancouver Sun June 2, 2011
When: Thursday night
Where: Rogers Arena
“When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful. A miracle. Oh it was beautiful, magical …”
The lyrics to Supertramp’s The Logical Song weren’t just words to mouth along to Thursday night. They meant something much more to the middle-aged fans at Rogers Arena -- all you had to do was look into their glossy eyes to know they were happily lost in a completely different time.
OK, well, perhaps the few wisps of marijuana smoke that rose from pockets of the subdued crowd had something to do with the fans’ little trip down memory lane. But deep down, you could tell those notorious Wurlitzer chords triggered a feeling that many had lost with the departure of their youth. Zipping across America in a 1975 Chevy Corvette, partying without consequence, indulging in the intoxicating scent of long, windblown hair -- Supertramp’s music brought back the magic the audience hadn’t felt since their freedom left them sometime in the '80s for corporate jobs, responsibility and routine.
Even the younger adult crowd, who no doubt grew up with their parents blasting vinyl like Breakfast In America, got caught up in the feeling. As much as young adults want to grow up, they still pine for the days when life was simpler, when they were youngsters dancing around to Bloody Well Right in their underpants, when heartbreak never existed and make-believe was real.
Rick Davies, one-half of the original soul to the British outfit, has helmed the famed band and continued to perform since frontman Roger Hodgson left in 1983. Back in March, Davies played his 1000th Supertramp show since 1970. Last fall was their first show in eight years, kicking off their 70-10 Tour in honor of 40 years of music.
And today, despite still going it alone, the 66-year-old Davies has managed to hold on to a little bit of what he and Hodgson created for fans with the release of their first album, Supertramp.
The start of the show was fairly underwhelming, creating an atmosphere that was more akin to a live jazz club than a classic rock concert. Fans perched on the edge of their seats, waiting out songs like the piano-based Gone Hollywood and From Now On for the better stuff.
Davies, wearing a crisp white shirt and black pants, wordlessly made himself at home either on his grand piano or his Wurlitzer. He seemed very rigid. Proper. No rock 'n' roll here. Maybe he thought he was at the orchestra.
But then saxophonist John Helliwell (wearing a Canucks jersey to boot) took to the microphone before the crowd could sneak in a nap.
"I was sitting right there last night," he said, pointing to the seats beside the stage where he sat for the big Canucks win. "You guys were really noisy. But tonight, we'll be noisier than that."
Noisier than the Canucks crowd? I don't know about that.
When Helliwell started describing his "$65 morning breakfast," everyone knew what was coming.
Breakfast In America finally got the crowd going. The rock show had arrived.
The hits, such as Give A Little Bit and The Logical Song (featuring decent Hodgson-esque vocals from Jesse Siebenberg, had the crowd on its feet, clapping and singing along. Some took to the stairs to bust a move. Even the band had the old man shuffle going on.
However, despite the band’s ability to put together a little piece of history, Hodgson (who co-wrote and fronted many of Supertramp’s hits) was still sorely missed.
It wasn’t a perfect show. There was a gaping sonic hole where Hodgson’s theatrical voice should’ve been, but like so many other bands that have kept themselves alive despite significant losses (think Alice In Chains without Layne Staley, Guns N’ Roses without Slash), Davies did a decent job recreating a two-hour rendition of the past as perfectly as possible.
If there were Supertramp lyrics to appropriately sum up the band's one-night stand with Vancouver, they would be from Goodbye Stranger: “Goodbye stranger, it’s been nice, hope you find your paradise.”
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