By Jason Klaiber and Stephen Wilt
The legendary Roger Hodgson, the voice of Supertramp, filled the walls of the Seneca-Allegany Casino’s events center on Saturday, Oct. 7. Bringing back memories for fans who remember that distinctive tenor voice as well as those brilliant sax solos and cutting keyboard riffs, the roughly two-hour show abided by a 19-song setlist of hit singles and album cuts.
Behind the scenes, the touring crew and venue personnel rushed by us, sometimes with equipment in hand but always with a focus in their eyes. We were fortunate enough to introduce Hodgson and his band onstage, as patiently awaiting audience members looked up at us amidst glowing lights.
“What a beautiful venue,” Hodgson stated to the sold-out concert hall.
Hodgson wasted no time giving the Salamanca crowd what they wanted to hear, opening the set with “Take the Long Way Home,” its harmonica-laden opening inviting a rise of applause and cheerful hollering. Followed by a remarkable rendition of “School,” off 1974’s Crime of the Century, he segued by saying he would be taking the crowd “back to school.”
Hodgson then broke into back-to-back tracks from his 1984 solo debut In the Eye of the Storm, those being “In Jeopardy” and “Lovers in the Wind,” the latter of which he recounted writing out of inspiration from a personal relationship. The band later played the songs “Only Because of You” and “Had a Dream” from the same album. Adding onto the aforementioned tunes and “Along Came Mary,” released on Hodgson’s 2000 album Open the Door, Hodgson played a litany of other choice Supertramp compositions, including “Breakfast in America,” “The Logical Song” and “Fool’s Overture.” He concluded with a two-song encore comprising “Dreamer” and “Give a Little Bit.”
Throughout the concert, his time was split between playing a 12-string guitar, a keyboard, and a stunning baby grand piano. Backed by a top-flight band, consisting of drummer Bryan Head, bassist David J. Carpenter, and saxophonist-keyboard player Aaron Macdonald, Hodgson captivated the audience from the moment he walked on the stage.
Despite selling over 60 million albums in his career and traveling across the world along the way, the singer-songwriter still expresses humility, having remarked between songs at one point that he’s “very grateful to have lived such a blessed life.”
Afterward, Hodgson stayed behind to sign memorabilia backstage and conveyed an unending willingness to speak with fans for as long as possible while taking pictures–evidence that the smiling, down-to-earth man you witness onstage is, without doubt, the man you meet behind the scenes.