Photographs by Lee-Ann Wylie

If you were anywhere else other than “Centre in the Square” in Kitchener on Sunday June 23, 2013, you might want to kick yourself! Roger Hodgson, co-founder of the band “Supertramp” played two great sets to a sold out crowd.

The Legendary songwriter hit the stage at 8pm and launched right into “Take the Long Way Home”, grasping the entire crowd’s attention. He followed up with “School”. Also part of the first set was “Hide in your Shell” and “The Logical Song”.

The sound quality was studio perfect. It was almost like listening to record fidelity, but with the drive and energy of live music. The marriage of the stellar musicianship and the venue’s sound system was perfect!

The stage was very simple, with one screen projecting Hodgson’s name and a few plants here and there. Anything more would be a distraction to the show that was being produced!

The band is made up of world class musicians. Bryan Head, on drums, was the backbone of Hodgson’s creations. He is a bass players dream to play with! Next, David Carpenter was tackling the melodic bass lines with ease while singing background vocals. He helped add to this band’s huge sound. As a musician would say, the man sits in the pocket with incredible groove. Torontonian, Kevin Adamson in the back of Hodgson, one of the two Canadians in the band was no slouch! Coming out front on piano to solo and then back to his keyboard, and his backing vocals, helped to show the huge musicianship this band offers. And then there is Aaron Macdonald, the other Canadian (from London, Ontario)…where do I start? Hodgson is blessed to have this man on board! Watching him play sax, harmonica, keys and a host of other instruments and percussive devices, oh yes AND backing vocals, using many of them in the same song. He was on stage, so relaxed and dancing, while changing instruments as fast as you can count. Listening to him perform the sax solo in Logical Song” was one of the highlights of my night.  He is a band unto himself!

The sound was crisp and clear from start to finish. The power and dynamics of the classic tunes would take you right back to the 70’s. The background harmonies were an amazing foundation to Hodgson’s icing on the cake vocals.

One of the things that amazed me most was Hodgson’s command of the stage and theatre. He could stand there alone with his 12 string acoustic guitar and fill the entire venue with a large, full complete sound, which a band usually puts out, by himself. The man is personable, shows his vulnerable side, yet at the flip of a coin, he is joking and pulling pranks off on the band. He told stories about his songs then played those classic monster songs that are still lasting the test of time. Canada has a special place in his heart and was very courteous with his numerous mentions of his positive Canadian experiences.

We were graced with two great sets. And as an added bonus, in his second set, Hodgson performed a new and as yet, unreleased song called “The Awakening”. Also part of the second set was “Dreamer”, which had everyone on their feet clapping, hanging off every note! Roger Hodgson also performed a personal favourite song of his called “Death and a Zoo” which was from a solo album he released in 2000.  He finished off the set with “Fool’s Overture”.

He closed the night by playing two songs for the encore. The first song was “Two of Us”.  For the second song, he invited Aaron Macdonald’s six year old daughter up on stage to play tambourine during the final song of the night: “Give a little Bit”. This was her first experience in seeing her dad play since he is usually in other performing in other countries.

In closing I just want to say thank you to Rob Sonoda and Karen Lorenowicz from Centre in the Square for the opportunity to see Roger Hodgson! The venue, the band, the sound, and the staff and last but not least to Roger Hodgson and his incredible songs: all superb!!!  THANK YOU!

Follow Roger Hodgson on Twitter and his website.