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Supertramp - Live in Paris 1979 CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.41 | 44 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Breakfast in Paris

How sad that even the release of this fine DVD, which should be cause for celebration, ended up being contentious and divisive. Shame on them for that. Because the '79 Paris show is nothing short of arresting and exciting for fans of the band's "Breakfast in America" album. Remember when the five people in the band were the five people on the stage, with few extra frills, and without a team of back-up musicians? Such is the Paris show, performed right during the time that many classic bands were transitioning from their 70s skins to their 80s ones. The Paris DVD without question captures the band still in the 70s vibe, from their appearances to their lack of pretension, to their willingness to actually improvise live. That's right, many of their solos are extended and different than the album version, and many of them just smoke.

How well you like this DVD may depend on your acceptance of the somewhat controversial Breakfast album, as it presents most of that album. Some fans don't like the album and while this disc offers older gems as well, it spends a great deal of time on Breakfast. While looking a bit weary from the long tour, the band and the partnership of Hodgson/Davies were still functioning in top form. The bitterness that was coming soon between the two is not outwardly evident. Instead, Hodgson is in a serene Jon Anderson space, looking a bit starry eyed while delivering near perfect vocals and inventive guitar playing. Davies is his polar opposite, writhing in a bluesy/jazzy lather as he forces out his vocals and keys-pounding them like they are demons being cast out. Both face mountainous vocal challenges as they grapple with the extended high pitched vocals of Breakfast-and they do not back down. The ending repeating lines of "Goodbye Stranger" are almost uncomfortable to watch as they force Roger to go on forever straining...he pulls it off but there is great relief when it finishes! Davies has more trouble hitting the highest notes of the album but still manages reasonably well. Helliwell offers up some very tasteful woodwinds, creative and with some character, at times his playing is less disciplined than the others but perhaps that is his intention. Thomson and Siebenberg are solid on bass and drums, interesting if you want to single out and listen to them, but never interfering with the overall efforts of the group. For me "Child of Vision" and "Take the Long Way Home" were savory highlights, more satisfying than the album cuts due to pure sweat presence and collaborative feeling.

While I've never loved Supertramp at the same level as other bands this DVD does a superb job of showing why they were an exceptional outfit. Great playing, interesting songwriting, just enough personality. The sound quality is a bit inconsistent, a bit harsh at times, but overall more than satisfactory for the era. The presentation is great with warm film tones and a comfortable editing style that allows us to concentrate on the band. While some factions in the band fought over this release, it is a victory for Tramp fans that it can now be enjoyed instead of rotting in a vault. Other bands should follow suit and get these classic performances released even if they fall below today's standards of sound or video. We don't care, we want to see them! I think even casual Tramp fans will enjoy this-Recommended.

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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