sábado, 2 de septiembre de 2017

Roger Hodgson: The Adventures of the Super Tramp in the Botanical Garden

*Esta crónica del concierto de Roger Hodgson apareció, originalmente, en el sitio achtungmag.com. 

Después, y traducida al inglés por Ana López, fue publicada en inglés en la página oficial del artista:


Roger Hodgson, who was the leader of the band Supertramp in the seventies and in the early eighties, the Super tramp, successfully faced one of his musical missions in Spain. The chosen venue was the site of the Botanical Garden of Alfonso XIII in Madrid, within the Festival of Las Noches del Botánico. For a little more than two hours he made a nostalgic trip around Supertramp's greatest hits, not forgetting the best songs from his solo career. 

1. The adventure begins: Crisis, what crisis?

The Super Tramp demonstrated, with the opening of the show, that magnificent Take The Long Way Home (first of the songs that he interpreted of the masterful Breakfast In America) that the musical superpowers that he treasures continue at full power. A sharp voice with certain smooth tones, fast fingers and inspired on the keyboards and, above all, solid compositions such as rock stones. Songs that have stood the test of time like being inside an American cedar barrel. They have matured, gained in body and taste, and now they discover, in all their relief, a colorful symphony.

In his first speech to the audience he expressed his intentions, the object of his fight on the stage. We are immersed in a time of crisis and problems, he told us, but in the next two hours of the show he intended to make us separate those anxieties from our hearts and then defeat our personal crisis. He only needed to ask himself - as he did with Supertamp in 1975, with the album Crisis, What Crisis? - where the crisis was, because he thought to beat it after one allowed himself to be healed by spell of his music.
But there's no a superhero who stands proud presents himself in his battle against the forces of crisis and bad times without a team, a whole Fantastic League. So, the Fantastic Four who helped Roger Hodgson in the titanic task were: Kevin Adamson on keyboards, with the powers of his multiple arms dealing with the piano or synthesizers;Aaron MacDonald and his musical blow, developed in impeccable saxophone, clarinet or harmonic solos; David J. Carpenter and his percussive fingers on the bass and, finally, the defense of the squadron, at the drums, Bryan Head, raising a wall of sound with its drums executed with simplicity and style.

The Super Tramp launched his first demolishing attacks against the crisis using one of the heavyweights of the repertoire, the song School, from the 1974's Crime Of The Century. That piped, childish voice was the best remedy to fight all ills, and if it's joined the mythical harmonica, there was no doubt about the ravages he would make in the audience. From this second song the audience was already surrendered to Hodgson.
2. Episode two: love comes to the rescue and makes us wake up

But the weapons of the Super Tramp were many, a whole arsenal of delicate compositions, with their touches of complexity, very well wrapped by the band, always in a perfect tone, filling the gaps left by Roger Hodgson. Alternating with some songs of his solo career, the musician from Portsmouth attacked Breakfast In AmericaHide In Your Shell —it was especially nice to meet this song that embraced us as if an old friend came to meet us — andThe Logical Song. If the monster of the crisis and problems still stood, with this last song sank its knee down on the floor. The songs from Crime Of The Century and Breakfast In America were lethal, perfect to fight these bad times of tribulations.
After the high moment of The Logical Song, the Super Tramp started with an intimate and introspective approach to love, the other vehicle necessary to obtain a complete victory. He linked two very lyrical compositions, Teach Me To Love Again and Lord Is It Mine. The first song had a peculiarity: no one could have heard it before because it was not yet recorded. It was an absolute brand new track. The delicacy of the song was perfect for Lord Is It Mine, one of the most tender compositions of Supertramp, and also, in a way, a kind of prayer for the connection of all soulsLove, that universal language.

And that love, must manifest itself as well with the animals, in a certain way a metaphorwas put on our wild interior and now domesticated by the problems, the fears and the obligations. Roger Hodgson formulated the dilemma to the audience: If being all of us wild animals and caught prisoners ... Would we prefer death before ending up in a zoo? Then, no one could resist thinking if his life was developing in a zoo, trapped in a cell, condemned by routines and anguish, while the chords of the ballad Death And Zoo were growing up to overflow the stage with the elephants' trumpets and the sounds of the jungle.

And as if it were a speech written in that way, after the reflection and awareness of theprison in which we were obliged to go, The Awakening sounded, another brand new one not yet recorded: It was time to wake up, take the reins, take action. 
3. Final Chapter: The Super Tramp's victory and his Fantastic Four
It was Had A Dream the most powerful moment of the show. The song, belonging to Hodgson's first solo album, In The Eye Of The Storm, 1984, sounded blunt on the band's instruments, and it was when they moved further away from the art-rock, trade mark of the musician, to simply approach to rock. A wave that would lead to the end of the show, which was closed with a trio of songs that struck directly into the heart of the monster of the crisis, made him stagger and eventually fall as King Kong does on the pavement in each of his films. The Super Tramp had won, along with his Fantastic Four, at the Botanical Garden.

And that exquisite batch of songs began with Breakfast In America's Child Of Vision, with its powerful set of voices and symphonic touches. It followed with Dreamer and the return to childhood of many of those there, at the time of illusions, which mixed with the memories of the adolescence, when this song tinged the lives of many of us: a blow of synthesizers.

And to finish: Fool's Overture. The audience surrendered to the performance of one of the songs that most approached Supertramp to the symphonic rock, from that very inspiredEven In The Quietest Moments of 1977. A long suite full of musical details, with which many returned to their happiest times, when it seemed that they were going to eat the world ... 

Roger Hodgson was still able to return to run the final encore: Give A Little Bit and It's Raining Again, under the delirium of everybody there. The singer's closeness had been total, surrendered to his Spanish audience from the beginning, being very close and always eager to please. After all, a Super Hero is due to his audience, I thought, but then I remembered something that warned me that this positive and optimistic mood has always been a style mark on Roger Hodgson. 

While delighting people with his performance of Give A Little Bit —also from Even In The Quietest Moments— came to my head a TV show. It was the year 1985 and Hodgson was doing the promotional television tour because his first solo album. In the almost always infamous Tocata TV show, he played Had A Dream and In Jeopardy, with the usual playback of that age, after answering some questions with great kindness,he did live and totally unexpected, guitar in hand and full of enthusiasm, a Give A Little Bit that should be history of the Archives of Spanish Public Television. It turns out that, by then, this Super Hero was already fighting against the ghosts. 

4. Epilogue: And happiness returns to rain on our heads

And then, it comes It's Raining Again. Actually, the Super Tramp and his team had long since defeated the crisis and its problems. They had kicked her butt, sending her far away. It may be that at that time it already flew over the Manzanares, (river of Madrid), or much beyond, while the audience, in chorus, sang so loud that spell that is the lyrics of It's Raining Again

And it was curious that a song from a twilight album, that Famous Last Words ... from 1982, which ended with Hodgson leaving the band, was one of the biggest hits in the history ofSupertramp. But it is that the masterpieces overlap all kinds of problems, whether they are disagreements, arguments or anger. As the music of Roger Hodgson, the Super Tramp, triumphantly fighted over a country under the dark due to the problems and was able to draw the coal of the anguish of the hearts, for two elegant hours, to pour upon us the notes of a prodigious healing.

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