SUPERTRAMP Articles year 1976

SUPERTRAMP Articles year 1976


The Albert Hall

The Guardian
February 6, 1976
By Robin Denselow

With no distinctive gimmicks, no great publicity drive, or even much of a distinctive sound – except that their music is excellent and unmistakably British – Supertramp seem to have sneaked in from nowhere to acquire the status of a respectably serious, respectably successful band.

That reputation is well deserved, as they showed with this concert at the Albert Hall, but I confess that it still surprises me slightly. The band played well, sang well, and demonstrated a range of excellent songs, certainly.

But there was only a narrow margin on all counts that separated them from countless other good British bands who are doomed to failure.

Supertramp’s main bonus was their sheer professionalism. A versatile five-piece, they were constantly swapping instruments, so on one song they could have three keyboard players and on another two of them could move across to bass and saxophone. They could swap around with their vocals and harmonies too. And with their carefully arranged material – with the songs performed as elaborate set-pieces, rather than the basis for improvisation – they kept a careful balance between their considerable store of pleasing melodies and the occasional patches of instrumental dexterity.

At times they showed an instrumental and vocal skill, and a lightness of touch that was reminiscent of 10CC – but without their cleverness or wit. Elsewhere, there were echoes of several other British bands, all blended smoothly and professionally together into a style that was far too clever and pleasing for me possibly to attack, but never with quite the originality or edge that marks out a band of truly firs-class status.

They deserved a good reception, but not quite as good.



Tramp Puts on a Super Show

The Sun, Australia
June 7 1976 Page 6
by Pat Bowering

One of rock's most accomplished groups, Supertramp, last night exerted total control over its Festival Hall audience. By blacking out the disused area of the stage, an excellent light show and the use of sheer volume, the band made sure every sense was concentrated on the stage.

And in a day still reigned by the two-minute single, the band presented complete musical statements instead of the short, basic pieces we hear over our radios.

It was a performance full of colour, movement, power and, at times sensitivity. Rick Davies was slick with his flowing-jazz keyboard runs; John Helliwell balanced his excellent woodwind playing with light, almost comical spots. And Roger Hodgson displayed his guitar excellence, a facet of the band that is not highlighted enough on record. All this powered by the superb drumming of Bob Benberg and the precise bass of Dougie Thompson.

The show was excellent and will be repeated at Festival Hall tonight.



Quiet Supertramp’s a loud sensation

Adelaide Advertiser, Australia
June 4 1976
by Ian Meikle

Supertramp is considered Britain’s quiet Sensation, but only for its low-key rise to stardom. In reality, super-duper Tramp is an indisputably loud sensation, as the thundering, capacity crowd at Apollo Stadium last night would agree. The show started simply enough as the curtains opened (yes, curtains at the Apollo Stadium) to the lone harmonica of Rick Davies as he drifted into " School." Then the four fellow Tramps edged into the act, criss-crossing through 90 minutes of music from the band’s phenomenally successful last tow albums " Crime of the Century" and "Crisis, What Crisis?"

Supertramp music is held together rather like a card house, American Bob C Benberg’s cannon-fire drumming leans against the dancing bass of Glaswegian Dougie Thomson. Atop them is clipped, terse piano of Davies and the saxophone of John Helliwell. Then delicately dangling above is the high, emotional voice and guitar Roger Hodgson.

Certainly, they were unshakable on their memorable versions of "Bloody Well Right," "Sister Moonshine," "Asylum," "Dreamer," and the highlight of the night, the swirling drama of Hodgson’s voice as he sailed through "Hide In Your Shell."

But perhaps more spectacular were the Exciting closer "Lady" and the encore "Crime of the Century," which featured a filmed backdrop of the album cover.

Supertramp is reportedly keen to reproduce its recorded work as near-perfect on stage. If that’s the criteria to judge this concert, the got damn close last night.

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