2011 TOUR - SUPERTRAMP Saskatoon, June 7

2011 TOUR - SUPERTRAMP Saskatoon, June 7


Supertramp still smashing after four decades
By Cam Fuller, StarPhoenix June 8, 2011

You know you're taking the long way home when your itinerary includes Saskatoon, but it was a welcome detour for fans of Supertramp.

Even in the show's quietest moments, there was plenty of nostalgia at Credit Union Centre as both band and audience looked back on 40 years of music.

No one is getting them as they were in their heyday, not without Roger Hodgson on hand, but Tuesday's show did give us the man who started it all,

Rick Davies on keyboards and vocals. He didn't speak much if at all, leaving what little banter there was to sax great John Anthony Helliwell.

Davies wouldn't have had the energy to talk anyway, not the way he plays piano - fast, hard, intense and loud. His solo and extended jam in Another Man's Woman was breathtaking. It came fairly late into the show and got a well-earned standing ovation.

Overall, this likely wasn't the show many were expecting. They didn't come out and play Dreamer, followed by The Logical Song, followed by Dreamer. They're a band, of all things, not a juke box. Thus the inclusion of Supertramp songs you didn't hear a million times on the radio - stuff like the bluesy Put on Your Old Brown Shoes, and diehard's dream Rudy which ran with vintage locomotive footage.

Then again, there was Raining Again, which is as close as this otherwise highbrow act ever came to bubblegum pop - a shallow, silly ditty which rhymes "fighter," with "up tighter." Some loved it, though, jumping up and dancing and looking around and wondering why everyone wasn't doing the same.

The band obviously still means something to Davies; he had a hand in building the show when it launched last year. He worked with lighting designer Michael Brian Duncan to create the staging effects. Duncan has worked with kd lang, B-52s, Alicia Keys and Goo Goo Dolls. The two conceived a cool live action version of the album cover Crisis? What Crisis? - a guy in trunks reclining under an umbrella while (on the album) the world around him is demolished. Subtler but clever were the searchlights during Gone Hollywood. Three video screens were used on and off. The centre one showed film clips while the others offered live action closeups.

Davies shared some of the singing with lead guitarist Jesse Siebenberg, who handled Breakfast in America at the Yamaha grand. He returned later on 12 string acoustic for Give a Little Bit - tentative vocally but absolutely smashing anyway.

There was interest and respect in the air from the smallish crowd of 4,000 or so but not a ton of euphoria until the hit-filled windup with The Logical Song, Goodbye Stranger, Bloody Well Right and, yes, Dreamer. Then it was into the night for the fans and, for Supertramp, breakfast in Winnipeg.

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