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Supertramp - Supertramp Live '88  CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

2.34 | 28 ratings

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2 stars What ? Not a bit of "Brother where you bound" ? No "Rudy" ? "You started Laughing" reduced to an intro to "It's alright" only ? And who's that singing "Breakfast in America" and "Logical Song" ? Aaah... Mark Hart... I remember... the very man who sang on "Where I stand", a tune that I had chosen to forget as it ( co-written by its lead-singer ) belonged to the dullest of moments on "Free as a Bird", thank god it's not included here ( but "Not the Moment", one of its most successful competitors in boredom is, instead of "Thing for you" or at least "You never can tell with friends"... aaah... I've just remembered that this album was being recorded on the "Free as a Bird"-Tour... did anyone go there because of that album and wanted to hear most of it in concert ? ).

Sorry, my sarcasm seems to come through when I force myself to write reviews on "Supertramp-Live-Albums" of the post-Hodgson-Era. I'm sure that this is making me look kinda schizophrenic as I don't despise most of their Studio-Work but I think the problem started here, during this very tour, and so it must be the original schizophrenic thing that

- on one hand we have Rick Davies' "new songs" on the studio-output, representing the actual state of his songwriting-art close to being a solo-act with the name "Supertramp" on them cause he owns it ( and, okay, that's justified by John Helliwell, Bob Siebenberg and here, for one last time, even Dougie Thomson being with him still... ) and

- on the other hand HE has the burden of the name when it comes to Live-performances... cause when he and the band, for once, kept promise ( On the "Brother where you bound"-Tour they didn't play any of Roger Hodgson's songs, not even any elder stuff, they played the complete album and that's what it was...* ), they got accused of being arrogant, not serving the fans of old... so that's what they wanted to achieve half-heartedly here ( and ever since ), that's the curse that made ( and makes, to this day ) them do wrong, go wrong, fail... one more time and again.

I don't know if it's really ( or solely ) due to the broken agreement, but even my joy about getting "Oh Darling" and "Just another nervous Wreck" in Live-readings finally... it soon made way to the disillusion that they could not recapture their original spirit and sound anymore. Even "Crime of the Century" sounds tired in the end... so there's far more that must be missing than Roger Hodgson.

But the band - I suppose it was Mark Hart himself who suggested to have a try and made Davies forget what he had promised about 4 years ago - reminds us even more that it must be him who's missing by doing "cover-versions" of two Hodgson-written Hits that in no way can do them justice. Well... the audience may have received them well, but it made this band look like a poor tribute to itself, so much that even "Bloody well right" starts sounding like a "Poor man's Supertramp" although its writer and original singer is doing it - how can this be ?

I have to write this review out of memory cause I used to posses the vinyl-edition many years ago... and I had given it away when I started re-buying my collection for CD. The CD of it was no more available when I finally felt ready to give the album another try...

I remember that it had its moments first, but the more I listened to it, the more I couldn't hide away my disappointment. I put it down to a rather bad production and mix by then, but "It was the best of Times" has got a very good production and mix and leaves me dissatisfied nearly the same way. I remember that Rick's saying that became the title of that next Supertramp Live-Album about 10 years later ( read my review ) had already been written down in his liner-notes to this one, and, for once, I wanted to believe him, cause it was not put on so blatantly... way back then I thought "He's trying to encourage himself with those words so perhaps he'll regain faith and power to really give his best again in future days". What I didn't know was... he was not speaking for the whole band... he pretended to do so, but he only spoke for himself, cause Dougie Thomson didn't have a good time at all, maybe bearing a bad conscience towards his still-friend Hodgson, maybe becoming disillusioned for himself as Rick Davies degraded him to being a sidekick instead of staying a band-member who really does have a say...

There must be a reason for this album being the only one that, after it had been deleted, never came to be re-released as a remastered edition and even disappearing from the official "Supertramp-Discography". And this reason has to go further than "It didn't sell well enough to do so", cause... "Free as a Bird" actually has been re-released although its sales-figures were close to being this few.

In my opinion, it must have something to do with Dougie... but I don't know and I don't wanna investigate any further here. I know that I already stopped writing about the music. But is it really worth to write a lot about it ?

It's not really ( in terms of absolutely ) bad. It's only giving a strong feel of dissatisfaction because it's far from what it should have been... and could have been with Rick Davies and the rest simply knowing how to do right and then doing it. And this was not the case, I'm sure.

I'm sad about it. I'm a fan of Rick just as I am a fan of Roger. But with an approach like this... it can even be a better album to be toured than "Free as a bird" was, and there have been two at least that came to follow quite some time later, but in many ways it just isn't right and in too many places the result is close to being completely miserable to my ears. Could this be a lack of self-confidence - but an ego too big to take good advice ?

I'm asking too many questions I fear.

Add on: I'm pretty SURE that "Bloody well right" was on my ( German release ) Vinyl pressing ( straight after "Not the Moment" ) and only "I'm your Hoochie Coochie Man" and "Free as a Bird" were missing from the CD, but I can't research it cause I am long since living without. *I was relying on the report of a colleague I used to work with in a music-store, but having done some research in the www about old setlists I'm not quite sure if his informations were right.

rupert | 2/5 |


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