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THE STORY SO FAR...

Supertramp

Crossover Prog


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2 stars This DVD begins with a quite interesting and thorough band documentary, from sources as diverse as talk shows, formal interviews, and what seems to be casual band discussions. The live footage, however, was quite disappointing for me. With very little footage of drummer Bob Siebenberg, and virtually no footage of Doug Thompson on bass, I wasn't too glad to only see the vocalists for the majority of the concerts. The shows themselves are quite good, with only minor sloppy playing, and decent sound quality (though drums are way too low in the mix!). The production is good, and the videos in the bonus features are alright as well. The thing about this DVD is that only huge Supertramp fans will be really eager to get this, and hearing about a band's history is only interesting for huge fans of that band. Overall, I wouldn't suggest running out to get this one. A biography equally as good is available for your reading pleasure for free on this wonderful internet, and as I said, the live footage isn't exactly noteworthy.

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Send comments to Shakespeare (BETA) | Report this review (#132176)
Posted Tuesday, August 07, 2007 | Review Permalink
Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I saw this video in record shops some years ago in the VHS format, but I never bought it until now, available as DVD.

As "The Story of Supertramp So Far" (until 1990, when the video was made), it really is very brief in the information given about the history of the band: about 12 minutes from their period with Roger Hodgson (1969-83), and about 15 minutes from Hodgson`s departure until the split of the band in 1988. It also has some incorrect information: the first two albums of the band were not recorded by the original line-up, as the narrator says. So, in comparison to other "Video Biographie"s of other bands ("Yesyears" from YES and "Genesis- an History" by Genesis, both released in 1991), this video of Supertramp has very little information, but, a very good thing is that they included 11 complete songs from two concerts filmed during their last tour with Hodgson in 1983 (Toronto and Munich), which is the best part of the video (and the YES and Genesis videos, in comparison, only showed fragments of songs!). In general, all songs are played well, with the help of two guest musicians, Fred Mandel (keyboards, guitar) and a young Scott Page (saxophones, flute, guitar, vocals; years later he also played with Pink Floyd between 1987 and 1989). But as the previous reviewer wrote, most of the time the cameras are focused on Hodgson, Davies and Helliwell, and less time on Siebenberg, Thomson, and the guest musicians. But, at last I could see an official and profesionally filmed concert video of the band (I think that some of these songs were available to be seen in youtube.com some months ago; I remember seeing "Crime of the Century" there). There are some variations to previous live versions of these songs: Helliwell and Page share some sax solos; Page adds flute to one song; there are two guitars playing the solo in "Crime of the Century" (as in the original studio version). "Give a Little Bit" is played a bit faster than the studio version, and at last I could see a live version of "Goodbye Stranger" played with Hodgson. It is also good to see and hear Hodgson singing and playing his own songs in concert with Supertramp, and these live versions are, in my opinion, more "Genuine" than the live versions played by the band without Hodgson.

The DVD also includes five bonus video clips of the next songs:

-"My Kind of Lady": from the "...famous last words..." album, with the members of the band dressed as singers from the fifties. In this video is apparent for me that the split of Hodgson from the band was on the way, as the cameras are focused most of the time in Davies-Helliwell-Siebenberg-Thomson, and in the "backing band" scenes the four of them also appear, with Hodgson only briefly appearing playing the guitar.

-"Cannonball": a video clip of the edited single version of the song, with scenes of "Primitive Man and Woman" mixed with scenes of the band playing in an open air theatre (is it the Hollywood Bowl?).

-"Better Days": an interesting video clip with some political images and futuristic images of the world. Some politicians are also shown in this video.

-And two video clips from songs of the "Free as a Bird" album: "Free as a Bird" and "I`m Beggin` You". It seems that I`m one of the very few persons in this world who like this album, so I also liked both videoclips. The video for "Free as a Bird" shows the band doing a playback of the song with images of birds flying. "I^m Begging You" shows the members of the band filmed on the streets of one city (Los Angeles?) with some images of some women walking on the street too.

In conclusion, this is a good DVD, but maybe the main interest to release it for commercial purposes was to show the band playing in concert during 1983, more than being a long Documentary of the band with more detailed information of their history.So it works better as a concert video, in my opinion.

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#133112)
Posted Tuesday, August 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This is not an awful DVD overview of Supertramp, just one that could have been a whole lot better. There are three main features to the disc. First, you get a documentary overview of the band similar to the VH1 style rockumentary with performance clips and personal interviews. It does cover each step of the way but only barely. It is far too short of detail on the classic Hodgson years and this part should have been beefed up considerably. It then covers the post-Hodson years a bit too much, as if we really needed discussion of certain tracks on the Free As A Bird album. Did anyone care about Supertramp at that point? By the late 80s Tramp were as pointless and painful as Yes or Genesis were at that time. Second, you get eleven live tracks from the 1983 Supertramp tour, the last with Hodgson. By this point the band were coasting on fumes with Hodgson already having one foot out of the door to his less than spectacular solo career. They seem rather tired and listless, the performances professional but mechanical. The proper thing to do would have been to show live performances from around 5 years earlier, when they were at the top of their creative game and fully engaged. Furthermore the sound is only acceptable and the crowd noise allowed through is just ridiculous. Strike two. The third and final feature is five promo videos from the 80s which are really nothing special. Supertramp were a pretty good band with a few very good albums at their peak (1974-79) but beyond the scope of those moments they are largely forgettable. This DVD makes that fact all too apparent. For fans of Supertramp I suppose this makes a nice historical document anyway but for others with so many choices for your hard-earned buck, this is certainly one you can pass on. 2 ½ stars, for fans mainly

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#151958)
Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Unfortuantely Supertramp have never been that good at marketing themselves visually. Whether this is down to Roger Hodgson and Rick Davies both being elusive most of the time, the documentary clips contained herein are sporadic and too short. It is a shame because when they are up there on the stage with Helliwell, Siebenberg and Thompson as a unit they are so awesome. Anyway as far as the DVD goes the interviews as mentioned are poor, the live music highlights are Aint Nobody But Me from the Crisis album, From Now On from Quietest Moments and School off Crime Of The Century. The band were to lose Roger Hodgson after this 1983 tour, not to their detriment either. Rick Davies went on to release three out of four exceptionally good jazz rock progressive albums under the Supertramp banner. There is also a fine video of the underrated Cannonball song from Brother Where You Bound, guaranteed to get your feet tapping, great keyboard work from Rick Davies aka Mr. Tramp. Two and a half stars.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#181719)
Posted Thursday, September 04, 2008 | Review Permalink
Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Given the poor offer to get better videos of SUPERTRAMP, I had to take this one. It consists of 3 parts.

The Story So Far is a documentary part including interviews with band members while the narrator gives a rather simplistic biography of the band. It is very general, lacking in-depth details.

This part is intercepted with the portion of 1983 world tour which gives nice picture of the band live capabilities. Most of the repertoire consisted of the popular songs from blockbuster Breakfast in America as well as the masterpiece Crime of the Century. It is nice to see how Davies, Hodgson and Helliwell frequently change their instruments as well as the leading roles on stage. This is the best part of the DVD and solely for this I would recommend it to all fans and prog lovers!

Additionally there are several video clips from the 1980s representing their downfall after the departure of Hodgson and their sinking into the MTV-style sweet soul pop, with remarkable exceptions such as wonderful Cannonball high shot!

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Send comments to Seyo (BETA) | Report this review (#204305)
Posted Wednesday, February 25, 2009 | Review Permalink

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