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progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members.

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progVisions

progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members. Our objective is to become a centre of information that contributes to the knowledge, growth and development of progressive rock.

concert review

Roger Hodgson - Madrid - May - 2000

You would never believe me if I said I’m objective writing this review. My very beginning within the world of symphonic rock was with Supertramp and no doubt Roger Hodgson songs were guilty. Crisis? What Crisis? was the first album I listened to and “A soapbox opera” was the anthem of my friends gang when I was just fourteen. That happened twenty years ago.

I don’t know whether it was the best concert I have ever been or not but it was certainly the most exciting together with the mini- concert that Roger performed for no more that fifty people in fnac hall on July 1997. (By the way, if anybody reading this review happened to be there, surely will remember that brainless fan – similar to those girls followers of Enrique Iglesias – who got up at the end of the concert with the complete collection of Supertramp and R.H. shouting “Roger, Roger,…please”, facing the poor security agent that couldn’t believe what he saw). Those who have never felt carried away by the happiness that “Dreamer” transmits, the emotion of “Hide in yourself” or have never felt how their heart rate increased to the rhythm of “Fool’s overture” will never reach to understand the passions that this man has raised up all over the world. And, of course, they will never understand his attitude daring to perform his most known 24 songs supported just by his guitar and his piano, and energy limitless. It is definitely praiseworthy, taking into consideration that he sings all those themes and hummed melodies must take the place of certain lacks of instruments.

In the Arena hall about six hundred enthusiastic and nostalgic people joined together. We were all anxious to check that mighty R.H. was still alive (musically speaking), after waiting for a long time.

Showing up from the back of the stage with the twelve strings guitar in hand, R.H. chose “The Meaning” to open the trunk of memories. It became quite interesting. The catchy “Take the long way home” came then and it was superbly performed. On it the rest of the accounts that would occur along the night were to be brewed: the rest of themes should be restructured to make them suitable to available means, it means, voice and just one instrument. But to achieve that there was a devoted audience anxious to cooperate in such a pleasant job.

“In Jeopardy” was the only composition from his first album alone followed by the theme that entitles his last album “Open the door”. Its outstanding performance forced him to remove sweat from his face using a towel that was no longer left aside. One other of the festivities of the night came with the emblematic “Breakfast in America”. The peace came with “Love is a thousand times” that belongs to his last album too.

Answering Roger’s request, we all began to hum/whistle the melody which opened "Crisis? What Crisis?": “Easy does it”. It linked, as it was expected, straight with “Sister moonshine”. (My God! How many memories!).

I think that “Hide in your shell”, made us to become aware that, as JP told about Yes concert in Barcelona, there, in front of us, was the author of wonders that no need to be enumerated. He had reached the top of fame and in spite of that was capable to deal with an audience of about tens in locals of bands with no name. Thank you for such a praiseworthy detail of humility.

One of the most undervalued songs of "Breakfast in America", “Lord is it mine”, sounded magnificently.

Then Carlos Nuñez brought the first surprise of the night. He came through while “Along came Mary” was being played, to accompany on the flute. It made the atmosphere warmer for the next performance that was to be, with no doubt ,one of the most magic moments of the night. “Time waits for no one”, a very interesting theme of "Rites of Passage", was turned to a wonderful dream song.( They met each other thanks to A. Simon and now it seems that Hodgson participates in the next album of our splendid Galician).

The intent of creating a more relaxed atmosphere making the audience to make up with him was another surprise of the night. For that purpose he introduced a certainly curious percussion capable of recreating African rhythms and at the same time he invited one person amongst the audience called Antonio who accompanied him playing an unknown theme. Nice.

“Dreamer” was in charge of filling with joy the hearts of those present. Checking how much can be done with so little is amazing.

It was followed by two themes of his last album “Death and the zoo” and the quiet “Say goodbye”. “Don’t leave me now”, meant the back to past and as the audience began to follow the rhythm clapping their hands, Hodgson set up as conductor, finishing all at his order. “It is raining again” transmitted us again his carefree nature. “The logical song” was useful to top off the first part of the concert. That’s not bad, is it?.

Next, hidden from the views behind the curtains, Roger took his arm out in a nice way to stimulate the audience to call for the encores. These ones began with the nostalgic “Two of us”. (I will always remember this song. When I bought the Crisis, to be able to listen to it in my room, with the tape-recorder, the album didn’t go full in the tape and the song was cut in the most interesting moment. That’s something that shut me up. Here we could enjoy it complete and full of splendour).

He dared to perform “School” just with the single support of his guitar to give an answer to the request of most of the people present. Impressive, superb, indefinable. That was a historical moment where the link musician- audience made one of the songs most admired by everyone to boast of being a good symphonic, to float on the air. “Give a little bit” was another festive celebration of the end of the night.

There was just “Fool’s overture” left. On its very beginning we felt nerves on the air: a hair- raising peace and silence inundated the hall when after an instrumental introduction, the voice came in with the historical “History recalls how great the fall can be…”. It was not possible a most beautiful end.

It will be difficult to forget.

As a curiosity, I must add that two days later, in Tipo records, he staged an small concert for some forty people. Unfortunately I couldn’t go, but my dear sister Cristina didn’t miss it (and fetch me a signed poster, how sweet of her!). He performed “Even in the quietest moments”, “Take the long way home”, “Breakfast in America” and two themes of his last album not settled.

 

Eduardo Aragón - June 2000

 

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