Supertramp—August 1981 (Montreal Forum)
The great concerts tend to stand out in your memory, but sometimes the not-so-great ones stand out even more. For example:
Anyone who (a) grew up in Montreal in the 70s and (b) listened pop/rock music knew all too well the city’s infatuation with Supertramp. Count me among the throngs who owned “Crime of The Century“, “Crisis? What Crisis?”, “Even In The Quitest Moments” and of course, their biggest commercial success, “Breakfast In America“. I had never seen the band live, so when a friend offered up an extra ticket, I figured it was a sure thing. Love the music, will be a great show, right? Well…
As much as I enjoyed (and still do) Supertramp in the studio, in concert they were about as exciting as a hard boiled egg. They were just….there. Very competent musicians, no doubt about that. But stimulating live performers? Not really. I could have stayed home and listened to the albums.
But all was not completely lost: many years later (think it was the summer of ’97) I went on a family outing to a place called Puck’s Farm, north of Toronto. While there, it turned out there was some kind of family gathering for now ex-Barenaked Ladies front man (and now ex-Toronto resident) Steven Page. That’s cool item #1 for that trip.
Cool item #2: while we were taking in the sights, sounds (and smells) of Puck’s Farm, we started to hear, from somewhere off in the distance, someone playing Supertramp music. Sounded like one guy and a guitar. Ok, no biggie, some guy is playing Supertramp cover tunes. Gradually we made our way over to where the music was coming from and it turns out the “guy” was in fact Roger Hodgson, ex-Supertramp front man. (Is everyone in this story an ex-something?). Just him and his guitar. Turns out that the Page family gathering was actually some sort of release party for a Roger Hodgson solo album that was being distributed by the music publishing company run by Page’s family (at least that’s how I remember it. (BTW, Steven Page also performed solo that day.) Anyway, with Roger Hodgson, I guess sometimes the parts are better than the whole.
Here’s clip of Supertramp performing the classic “School”:
And here’s Roger, solo: