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Roger Hodgson en concert - 22 mai 2000 - Commentaires ZICLINE.
Of the 12,897 or so days that I'd spent on this
earth up to and including the date of
My adventure began not on the Friday ..but on the Monday beforehand when Ireland was....'in the eye of the storm' so to speak. The country was awash with floods for most of the week and it looked like our well planned trip was......well ... ...'in jeopardy' to say the least ... My friend Anniemac was driving from Belfast to Dublin on the Thursday and was under pressure anyway ..and the floods were not gonna help. Was she gonna have to drive through water or worse still .. swim?? I was 'just another nervous wreck' waiting ..but.. 'land ho'.. to my disbelief she arrived at the airport literally minutes after I did and in plenty of time for the flight to Paris. Whew.
There was a major drawback about the concert being held on the Friday. It was my dog's first birthday so I was unable to have a party for him. Hey folks ..any excuse for a party ..you understand!!!! Also, from 5 am onwards this 'poor boy' here got no sleep because of the paper thin walls of the hotel. This meant that being next to the kitchen I heard every noise - every bang, tray, glass clink, coffee gurgle ..etc etc, not to mention the footsteps of some heavy footed monster walking up and down on the wooden floor. It was like 'sleeping with the enemy'...'quietest moments' it certainly was not. At first I thought I was dreaming ..and was awaiting the whistling and the beep beep beep of 'easy does it'...but no such luck.
Next morning I dragged Anniemac out of bed by the scruff of the neck, kicking and screaming. It was like waking the dead in a zoo. Her room wasn't beside the kitchen you bet. We set out at about 11am looking for the Olympia Theatre (did not wanna be late you understand)! There we were like two eejits (idiots) walking down the Blvd de Cappuchines searching in vain for the theatre .. yeah how could we have lost something quite so big? We moved to one side to avoid a ladder, asking the question, as eejits always do, what the bloody hell was a ladder doing in the middle of the street. I looked up, to see the glaring red letters of ROGER HODGSON in concert ...Subtle eh?
Funny... that name seemed to ring a bell and then it dawned on me ...eh... 'lady'... here we are!!!! now we knew - we would have 500m to walk all the way home later that night ..but more than likely we would ......'take the long way home' ...anyway .. They say... that behind every great pop star there's always a good electrician (they do honestly) and the guy that was wiring Roger up .. was a friendly wavy type. He starts to mug, dancing about amongst the red letters, flinging his arms wide open and yelling the French equivalent of "da-dah"! We focus, yell "encore" to gee him up and snap - he's captured on celluloid!
After having our tres expensive 'breakfast in Paris' (3 bleedin' quid for a cup of 'rosie' lea and a croissant in Cafe du Olympia), we debated whether to get in queue for the concert or to browse through the boutiques of the fashion capital of the world ..it was a close call ..but as it was quite cold ..and the other fact that the concert didn't start for another 9 hours ..we decided to go shopping.
We did get to the theatre quite early though and when they 'opened the door' the 'two of us' ..ran for our dear lives to be ... 'taken to the front of the line '... .it was the... 'right place' to be. We then met up with our friends Gudrun and Danny whom we knew from the chatline ..and we had some 'casual conversations' with them. The place quickly filled up as we waited in electric anticipation. Shortly after 8 pm the support act came onstage and did an excellent multinational set for a very appreciative audience with the exception of moi .. my back hurt ..I was impatient ... and I didn't understand very much of what they were saying. Their frontman kept the audience amused with his little jokes and they 'started laughing'.. except for muggins here, who hadn't a clue what he was saying. It was at times like these that I wish I had listened in French class at 'school' and not tried to drive my French teacher 'crazy'. She threatened one day that she was gonna get her husband after me (honestly she did). In fact, I was sure she was gonna end up in an 'asylum' .......she wasn't 'my kind of lady' at all. My French vocabulary extends to the phrase ...je ne parle Francais tres bien monsieur/madame. Luckily my new friend Danny came to my rescue on occasions and explained the jokes to me in English ...thanks Danny.
The support act finally went off and I relaxed a bit .. it wouldn't be long now and we had been 'waiting so long'. Suddenly as the fans chanted in unison, there was a rustle of heavy red curtain, a flicker of white light seeped out and....... whoosh it was show time. (sorry folks this is where the puns must end). He was on....yippee.... the song 'Along Comes Mary' filled the hall. We all went wild ..but ahem... about those lyrics Roger.... 'hair of gold and lips like cherries?'.... I can't for the life of me imagine you being a Tom Jones fan .......but then again one NEVER knows. Maybe, just maybe this will start off a cult trend at Roger Hodgson gigs of throwing knickers up on stage. Time will tell !!!
Nobbie from Argentina on sax mimicked the Celtic pipe sound of the intro on the CD ..tres bien. Andrew and Jesse were on board as well with Jesse on the bass and Andrew drumming plus singing. After wild applause, Roger lead into 'The Meaning'. The sax intro echoed the phrasing of Roger's now mantra-like line 'why are we here?' It's was very accurate rendition, very true to the original. Andrew neatly cascaded the drums down into the big sax solo - likewise a carbon copy of the original Helliwell one but no less for that. The next musical foray got off to a false start as Rog attempted to start 'Take The Long Way Home'. There was a distinct twittering of birds issuing from his keyboard. Sounds like some of the inmates of the zoo were making a break for it too soon. 'Ooh that was NOT supposed to happen' giggled Rog ruefully. Second attempt he was off and blasting through the old favourite like a good un, Anne and I reminiscing about the concert in Dublin especially when the words ...."when you're up on the stage" .....were sung ... oh the memories ... thanks Roger .....
'Open the Door' was next ..or 'Ouvrez la Porte' ..as Anne so kindly translated pour moi ..and I childishly translated it into'Oscaill án Doras' in the Irish language back to her. We giggled like two kids at that one ..(try it Roger .."us call on dur as" ...phonetically speaking ...for the next time ya grace the Dublin Stage !!!!!! ) We live in hope for that one. One of my all time favourites was next, the absolutely georgeous melody ..'Lord is it Mine'. I closed my eyes and it was like listening to the LP back in my bedroom all those years ago (minus the scratches of course). Inch and note perfect.. well done to Nobbie who sounded just like Mr. Helliwell 21 yrs ago. 'Easy Does It' followed and still as a relative newcomer to the concerts of Roger I was very amused and impressed by the audience participation here ...I'll have to pucker up the lips for the next show.
'Sister Moonshine' was next ..naturally of course ..and then Anne's fav ...'Rosie'.... with Andrew on accordian. Then came the poignant and very emotional ....'Only Because Of You. Roger went into a little bit of French spiel which I didn't understand...... but I understood completely the words "pour Karuna". It was hard keeping the tears from welling up in my eyes ...the place went strangely quiet ... there wasn't a sound as Roger sang the most beautiful of songs ..that meant so much to him ..and had just taken on a new meaning for 99% of people there ..how he made it through the full song I'll never know ... but he's the master ... and he got a truly great ovation from the audience on completion.
And as good as that ovation was, I thought the audience was gonna raise the roof when he finished singing the next song 'Lady'. Old hammer hands was off and running on the intro for it, whilst joking to us "C'est difficile!" Well it may well be but he definitely made it look "facile". I danced like a mad thing all the way through. Towards the end, Roger and Andrew dueted on the repeating '...taking the long way....' whilst Jesse did the baritone, sliding "yeah" right up to the final funny mega-glissando right down in to his boots! Yeeeaaaaaahhhhhhh......! Absolutely magical is the best way I can describe the feelings that I felt ...we must have clapped and cheered for 5 minutes ...(at least) when he finished ..and he loved it, took it in his stride and went on with a song from OTD that at first I didn't like but which is continually growing on me - 'Death And a Zoo' complete with the full compliment of stampeding elephants etc in the middle. I commented to Anne that he obviously hadn't transported the animals to Ireland because of the cost.....pity... ha ha
Two more songs from the new CD followed in the shape of... 'Say Goodbye' and 'Love is a Thousand Times' and then Andrew shuffled on the floor with his digeridoo and Alan Simon appeared centre stage with his bass whistle..for 'Time Waits for No-one'. But as Alan launched into his whistle solo..time had to wait ...as Roger had "problem technical avec la keyboard". He gingerly peeled off three pieces of.... sticky tape. His 'hi tech tape' as he called it laughingly. He "glued" down a drone chord for Time Waits.... as (short of using toes) he had run out of digits - he needed his hands for the guitar part it seemed! "Voilá" He plastered down the last piece, the audience giggled and away he went. I was dead impressed at the talent of Andrew going from one instrument to another as the night went on ....this was instrument number four (I think) and the night wasn't over yet ... not easy playing digeridoo....well done lad ....
It was at this point ...with the concert well and truly past its half way point, that I noticed that none of the major hit singles had been sung yet and I geared myself up for one hell of a finale ( another French word I've learned folks). Then, as our continental friends screamed for schoooollllll ....for the thousanth time ....Roger pointed down and said subtly... 'Keyboards', meaning 'not yet anyway'. As Andrew headed over to take up yet another instrument, a new drummer arrived onstage. Hey that face was familiar! Norbert and Roger dueted on the mournful intro to 'Don't Leave Me Now' then paused.... "Mesdames et Messieurs", said Roger ..." le batteur de Supertramp.... Bob Siebenberg!" ..HEY ..I UNDERSTOOD THAT ... Screams from the crowd ...and ..oh er us too. Bob!!!!!! Crikey..... could this gig have got any better? The master was back, his part settling down into the familiar 'dum de dum.. dum... dum', with the following sax solo soaring powerfully away from it. Alas the song died away but... huh? The drums kept going and...going and.... somebody stop Bob please. His needle had got stuck! Roger feigned mock exasperation, frowned and strutted across the stage, climbed in behind, leaned over Bob and caught hold of both sticks to FORCE him to stop. Ohhh but it was good to see the two of 'em on stage together again! Finally Roger positively hugged Bob to a halt.
The magical 'Hide in your shell' was next to be rolled out ....then the first hit single of the night 'Breakfast in America". Let me tell you people, that this was not just breakfast ..it was a 'feast' of brilliant music. In reply to the line ..."Do you want my autograph?" ..I just couldn't resist it ...'Yes please' ... was the shout from this "eejit's " lips .and immediately felt embarrassed .and then even worse followed. In unison with Anne .. in reply to "What she's got? " ..was replied .. "Not a lot" ...in our best English accents. Pretty silly really but we were having too much fun to care.
And then Roger came to the front and asked had we any requests ... my request of... 'Try Again' (fat chance) .. was drowned out by our ubiquitous friends from France ..with their umpteenth request for ......Schoooooooooooollllllll ....Oohhhh my eardrums. They're still hurting you lot ..... Roger would play "it" provided we pretended to be the children in the..... skkkooooooollllll and scream when he said...'quand'. Folks gently mouthed along with his 'I can see you in the morning...' There was obviously much affection for this number. The peace was shattered by the piercing 'kiddie' screams. 'Last time' shouted Rog (obviously enjoying the power of total crowd control) and we all did our best to howl and rip our tonsils out. It was a total hoot, and we suddenly realised what scope there was for audience participation. We mimicked Thomas the Tank Engine 'chu... chu' ing on the off-beats following 'And you're full of doubt'. The Olympia suddenly resembled Grand Central station. Andrew very adeptly chopped away at the descending 6ths on the piano chords while we na-na-ed along with his dad. The sax weaved between guitar and piano. 'Don't do this.... don't do that'...... We all chorused to Roger 'You're coming along' (He is, he IS!!!!). Absolutely fantastic .
Then came for me the one song on the night that did not quite hit the chord. One song that I thought would be the ultimate sound ..but for me there was something different about ...'Dreamer '. I cannot put my finger on it ..but it was 'not quite right ' if you will pardon the pun this time. Don't get me wrong ..I still bounced up and down like a mad thing along with it. I was having tooooo much fun to be annoyed or disappointed .but if there was one song on the night that was a 'minor disappointment' .....then it would have to have been 'Dreamer'. Still, it got stupendous applause..... sure we would have clapped at anything that Roger did that night. He was fabulous and in great form ....
But any thoughts of disappointment about 'Dreamer' were quickly dispelled when I saw Nobbie reaching for the saxophone .. my cue to get the prop ready! Carefully handing the camera to Anne, I reached down for the multi-coloured brolly so carefully chosen by one Ms. Mc Clean for crucial moments such as these. Away with ya Nobbie!! To which he so happily obliged and started into what possibly has become a cult song for Anne and I now ... It's raining again ... maybe because in Ireland it almost always is! 'It's Raining Again' got off to a dry start (boom boom) when Rog counted the band in but the intro halted with a bass twang and and sax honk. Very funny! ...He tried again (the French un, deux, trois version of the count in seemed to work this time) and we got a superb song which really ignited the crowd further. There was much dancing (some of it under umbrellas and not just us two either). Andrew once again chipped in with a great accordion solo whilst Nobbie rattled Helliwell's lines off pat again - superb playing Norbert! The Parisians practiced the child's nursery rhyme... 'It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring....' Roger chirped his line of 'he couldn't.... he couldn't... he couldn't get UP in the morrr-ning'. One of the highlights of the evening for sure without a doubt....
The band got a quick intro once more, including "Andrew Hodgson...disparu!" as Andrew inadvertently wandered off in to the wings just as papa attempted to introduce him.... At this point I think Roger must have thought that we were all off our heads (maybe he was right) but he then tried to ...teach us 'how to be sensible ..logical oh responsible ..practical' ... and ..nah it didn't work Roger .. 'The Logical Song' just made us wanna dance even more and we were singing so happily ..joyfully oh playfully watching him ..oh it was beautiful, magical ..it seemed that life was so wonderful. You betcha it was ....it was a miracle ...was this the nearest thing to eternal life ..heaven .and all that? Well to me it certainly was. Was the concert ever gonna end ?? He squeezed 'Two of Us' in next before the regular finale of the night 'Give a Little Bit'. Of course although we sang and danced along, you could nearly hear the sighs of the audience wishing that it didn't have to end. And off the band went, bowing and waving to us all. But we were not gonna let them go quite so quickly. The screams for... more.....more .(in French of course ..except for us two,) went on for what seemed like ages, before we saw Roger's head appearing around the backdrop ..and arriving back onstage ..for MORE ...
Our friends behind us with the carefully written banner were to be recognised and get their wish. The banner which read 'Child of Vision ' was raised for what seemed like the 20th time, when Roger sat down at the keyboard and gave them their wish. 'Child of Vision' all seven plus minutes of it and more. I thought the song was fantastic and in my humble opinion reports of off key singing here were unfair. A great job was done by all and the gig still wasn't over yet. We weren't going to let them go quite so quickly. Eventually we get a further gem They picked up the epic Fool's Overture half way through ie. just before 'Can you see what I'm......' and then slid into 'Called The Man A Fool'......
Let's be clear here, there were no fools on this stage.... we were privileged to see and hear some exceptional musicians tonight. The second generation of 'tramps, Andrew and Jesse, having grown up with the music of their fathers, clearly had inherited some fantastic musical ability. It was fantastic to see and hear Bob as well. All in all, this particular band line up seemed particularly well suited to Roger's music. Could it have been that for four of them this was because the notes were literally in their blood? Maybe next time, other 'tramps would make similar appearances? Just keep 'the door open' (!) on that thought boys. Ah well, we can all be dreamers, eh?
Despite the name "overture" it WAS the finale that they were playing and so ..... the music ended. Alan Simon presented Roger with a gold disc for OTD... and they were... gone from the stage. Loitering in the foyer, we were approached by apparent strangers who seemed to recognise us to our surprise. We knew those pics on the solotramp site would come in handy one day! With that, we're off 'dawn tha boozer' (as the English would say) with our new found friends ... Luis, Rachel, Christophe and company ... to reminisce until we get kicked out in the wee small hours at 2am. It's been .. b-b-b-b-b-bloody marvellous!
November 2, 2000
OK so.... I was a guest of a mad-keen Rog fan called Mick O'Brien (thanks for some great hospitality Michael!) Mick has connections with a small radio station in Dublin which asked the two of us to do a two hour "Rough Guide to Roger Hodgson". Can you imagine it? We were given a totally free rein to introduce and play anything we wanted so.... we did! Finally achieved my life's ambition of getting the whole of Fool's Overture aired although I don't think a career in radio presentation lies before me! And so... to Tuesday, the day of the gig. Because it was Halloween, which is a crazy time to try to compete with an event the Irish love so much, a friend of ours doubted Roger's concert would be sold out.
We imagined Rog out the front handing out tickets or worse still.... canceling. Nah! Having two sets of roller blades with me, we donned various Supertramp/ Open The Door t-shirts and skated through the park doing our bit for last minute gig advertisement. It was raining (again) so we were getting strange looks which er, may also have been due to the fact that we were shrieking, "I wish I was in Dublin, a skating in the rain"!!! Having dried out, we headed in to town and scoured the billboards for Rog posters. Hrumph! In the whole city we only found two so of course we had to photograph one for posterity. Mick DID try to peel it off but no luck. Back to the Olympia, collected our tickets and asked was "HE" there yet. We got frosty looks and a "maybe" reply, so toddled around to the stage door where, after freezing our little tails off and feeling oh soo silly, we chickened out (I just feel so conspicuous doing things like that don't cha know). Anyways, we staggered back, met a few friends and took our seats. Mnnnn interesting stage folks! The usual keyboard, drum machine, guitar and er, large chintzy armchair that would look right at home in yer auntie's front room. How very peculiar indeed! And then, just two minutes or so before the gig started, a girl wandered up the isle, calmly got up on stage, patted the chair and.... plonked herself down. Everyone did a collective jaw drop. Poor thing got the full brunt of Irish humour with cat calls of "give us a song love" and "hey girl have you paid for that seat". Lights down, cue the dry ice and RH was wandering Troubador style onto the stage singing "The Meaning". We then found out that the girl's name was Doreen and she had bought ticket number 13! Rog took the ticket off her and read it out. Something like.... "No. 13. Lucky for SOME. Roger says I can sit here". Isn't that too funny? It gave every one a good giggle! So let's see... what did he sing? Even in the Quietest Moments was next. Ooh yes and (as you may have seen on the guest book) a Liverpudlian chap ? Mike badgered Roger into letting him play the guitar for Sister Moonshine. We were all ready to cringe but... the lad had serious talent and did a fantastic job much to Roger's astonishment I think! You have no idea what a party atmosphere there seemed to be in the air. We Irish have a reputation for enjoying ourselves - there was an incredible amount of what we call "craic" ie. lots of fun and joking between Roger and the audience. You all know I'm sure that Lone Child has become a drum machine audience participation number? Well, Paul (an Iron Maiden fan!!!!) who played drums on Tuesday night got so into it that he instructed RH to sit at the keyboard and accompany HIM while he sang Puppet Dance! I have never seen such a bemused look on anyone's face as Roger's but he very graciously went along with it (well what else could he do, the poor man). By the last verse, the lad had forgotten the words, so had Roger (!) so the lad quipped to the audience, "No wonder Rick and John threw him out". Total uproar from the audience at this point! The only other untoward thing was that some nameless girlie nearly fainted when Roger called her up on stage and let her sit out a few numbers. Whoever she was, all she could do was giggle pathetically and grin like a maniac. Can't imagine WHO that was........ (P. S. Tim thanks soo much for asking if anyone took photos). Security was very mean so I only saw a few flashes the whole time. If any one has any, ANY pictures of the gig, no matter how dim or whatever, I promise I will send you something very nice in return.
Help me out if you can pleasssseee cos no one believes me about the armchair!!!! It's really impossible to relay the incredible atmosphere of that concert but honestly I was so proud to be Irish that night. There was a palpable love and warmth in the air for Mr. H.. The newspapers of course by contrast failed to even briefly review the
concert but one journalist was very insulting that day prior to the gig. He had it totally summed up and written off before RH even touched down! This attitude is typical of the attitude of the British press too. I'll send the piece to the one list as a separate piece as this is turning in to a novel (feel free to yawn, I've nearly finished).... OK so the set list was (we think) as follows:-
PS. A big, nay huge personal apology to the person(s) who we walloped during "It's Raining Again",. Mick and I apologize profusely....soooorrrryyyy. Hope this is a wee bit of interest to you. Hope to see some of you in Paris next Friday if I can make the plane in time from work. It's going to be very, very tight! Best wishes from Belfast,
Anniemac (Ann McClean)
Ancona, 30th May 4:58 am
I'm writing these words while I'm waiting the start of the train for my own city. Yesterday it was a wonderful day: I left Rome at 7:12 am and with my friends Alessandro and Marco, we went to Milan (for me, more than 1000 km ...) for Roger Hodgson concert.
We arrived at 4:00 pm and after a little touristic itinerary, we went to the Franco Parenti Theatre, waiting for the Roger sound-check. The men of the theatre didn't allow us to see Roger .. I was very disappointed .. I listened Roger play Breakfast In America but we couldn't came in. After few minutes a girl with blond hair (Heidi, Roger's daughter, I guess) came to talk with the organizers for some questions. I went to her and I asked (with my terrible english ...) if we can met Roger just for two minutes before the concert. She smiled and answered to wait: just some minutes and she came back and invited us to attend at the sound-check.
I was so excited !! Roger was there, in front of me .. just few meters did us apart .. When we was coming in the hall, Roger was playing "Don't You Wanna To Get High". He played for around 30 minutes: he was very concentrated to check the sound for all the instruments. After the check finished, we asked to him if we could make just some questions to him. With his kindness, Roger accepted it, and we talk about the new album and the concert. He signed my ticket and then we made a photo all together with my camera .. but the battery are discharged ... and so I don't know if the photo will be good !!
The concert it was wonderful: Roger seemed to be very glad to stay here with us. He tried to talk in Italian (with some problems ... ) and he started to play a lot of song: Along Came Mary (the opening track), Take the Long Way Home, Open The door ....
In every song, a different people from the audience get on the stage, it was sitting on a chair and Roger perform the song for it: very funny, believe me ! And another incredibile thing: an italian fan called Gianni, played his sax on Breakfast in America, Even In The Quietest Moments and If Everyone Was Listening. He did a great job !!! Congratulations, Gianni: you are a very lucky boy !!
The show was sensational: Roger played 23 songs, a lot of those from Supertramp Material: he asked to us to choose which song to play ... and we ask to him a lot of old favourites, just like Babaji, Rosie Had Everything Planned, Dreamer ... and more other .
He finished the show with 'Two Of Us' and 'Give A Litle Bit': but all the audience screamed "ROGER .... ROGER .... ROGER .." for some minutes and he came back for another wonderful song: Fool's Overture.
For me this experience will be unforgettable. I have seen and talked with Roger. It was just like a dream: the concert was marvellous. Roger is an excellent musicians and I wish all the best for him, he deserve it.
Just two word for my friends Alessandro and Marco: Thank you to have shared this wonderful day with me. I also hope that the photo with Roger will be good .... please I beg our pardon !!!