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Supertramp - Live in Paris 1979 CD (album) cover



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4 stars This is the recording of the show shot December 1st, part of a series of shows that made also possible the recording of the 1980's double LP in Paris. The microphones were placed in the audience to give the feel of being there. This Blu-Ray release has created a big controversy, because the composers Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson have not given their approval on this despite having already worked on the project. The thing is in the court's hand as now. Apparently, Mr. Hodgson is not happy that they have finished the project without him as he says ; "behind my back". So, not only this item is a rare product to have for the archives value, but it is already a object of dispute that may serve as a example of how musicians can protect their rights against the big companies.

Let's get to the actual concert. Being transferred and restored from the original film, the picture quality could not be as sharp as a recent release, but i was surprised to see that it was very enjoyable, with only a few grainy spots in some distant camera shots. The DTS surround sound is discreet, but i think this is as to do with the Supertramp's music that don't display a big sound with few guitars parts. However the sound of the vocals and piano parts are clear in the fornt speakers.

The set list is awesome, because the band was at their peak on "The Breakfast America Tour", with a lot of their wonderful "Crime of Century"'s album. The only bonus are five songs that had not made the cut on film, because of financial and time constraints. Roger Hodgson was saying that he wanted to put recent interviews with all five members, to talk about this event, which is one of the reasons why he did not approve this. But you can read some recent comments with Roger and Rick in the booklet.

So, maybe this would have been more complete if all the members had give their approval, but it's not of "poor quality", as Roger says in a recent letter to his fans. All the Supertramp's fans will be glad to see this video footage. So go get it before the police get his hands on it...

Report this review (#812142)
Posted Wednesday, August 29, 2012 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#876566)
Posted Sunday, December 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars I loved the Paris album when it came out originally, and I've waited for years for the video release ever since hearing of the discovery of the footage. Having it on BluRay, offering the best possible reproduction of the frail 16 mm film is a dream come true. And the 5.1 sound is superb.

As to the controversy surrounding the release: I adore Roger Hodgson, but on this issue, I frankly think he is missing the point. This stuff needs to be available. End of story. Not listing the writers? Well - duh! Anyone buying Supertramp would know that Hodgson and Davies had a "Lennon/McCartney pact". And they can't even remember themselves any longer who wrote exactly what anyway. Rick Davies' objections seem even more obscure.

The other three members (and their original sound engineer) should be commended for overruling the feeble objections and securing the release.

Buy it: It is a priceless, timeless masterpiece. No prog collection should be without it.

Report this review (#1179084)
Posted Sunday, May 25, 2014 | Review Permalink

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