A London Dream: Supertramp, Abbey Road, and a Royal Nap
Venturing into Europe for the first time and gracing the Royal Albert Hall for a Supertramp concert was the promise of a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Amidst our days filled with London's attractions and activities, the concert day we have stood out, featuring an ambitious itinerary that even included the quintessential Abbey Road photo op. Taking every precaution, we arrived at the Royal Albert Hall in time for the pre-show mingling, secured our seats, clutched our drinks, and awaited the band's entrance. The concert unfolded in all its glory — or so I heard, as I succumbed to exhaustion, orchestrating an unintentional symphony of snores, missing the grandeur of "Dreamer." In the annals of Supertramp fandom, my unplanned siesta adds an unwitting note to this unforgettable musical escapade.
In pursuing musical enlightenment, my gateway to Supertramp was through their classic live album, "Paris." The double album, adorned with a cover reminiscent of a Van Gogh masterpiece, exuded an air of exclusivity. This wasn't your run-of-the-mill music; it was a sonic journey for those who sought more. Despite the strain on my wallet, I took the plunge one day. Day and night, I immersed myself in its music.
Navigating through the album demands focus. Beyond the familiar hits like "Dreamer" and "Take the Long Way Home" lay tracks that might appear dull to the untrained ear. Yet, paying attention unveils the brilliance of rhythmic pianos, progressive bass and drums, and of course, the unique harmonica. The naive teenager in me envisioned an audience of thinkers, writers, and painters gathered in Paris, feeling an intellectual kinship with the music.
After being a fan of the thunderous calls of Judas Priest to "Break the Law" and the “Blackout” of the Scorpions, Supertramp's intricate tunes became a refreshing shift and something more accepted by my parents in shared car drives.
While "Paris" serves as a greatest hits compilation, hidden gems like "Give a Little Bit" from "Even in the Quietest Moments" remain treasures not included in this album. Supertramp may not have dominated the charts or echoed in nightclubs, but for rock enthusiasts, they are an institution. The dynamic duo of songwriters Roger Hodgson and Rick Davies crafted timeless hits until their eventual parting. Post-breakup attempts followed, but Supertramp would never quite recapture its original magic. Much like a fleeting chord progression, some things will remain echoes of their former glory.
Supertramp is always worth a listen.