Supertramp, May 2nd, 1997
Live in Ahoy, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

by Ed Sander

This was the second concert in Holland and the third concert in the new (first 1990's) tour. Before going to Rotterdam I made sure that I got myself a setlist from the Supertramp Web site. To be honest, I'm only familair with the first 'Best of ...' album and the 'Brother Where You Bound' CD. Looking at the setlist, I didn't know half of the songs; quite a change from being able to sing along with most of the material at other concerts.

The reviews of the first concert in Stokholm had all been very positive, so I was really looking forward to the gig. They didn't disappoint me at all, although it was far from the 'perfect show' described in the Stokholm reviews.

The show opened with a new track called 'It's a Hard World'. This was the only new track I really liked, because it sounded more like the old stuff. Where the old songs normally have lots of changes within a track, the new songs mostly use the same rhythm and melody all the way through.

The stage show concept was looking good. The band had a projection screen which had animation during certain songs. 'Crime of the Century' and 'Rudy' came with their old film clips; the train-ride and the barred window in space. Some of the new clips used the 'Tea-time on the moon' theme as shown on the new album cover, like in the cross-over between 'It's a Hard World' and 'You Win, I Lose' and the very end of 'Crime of the Century'.
When the screen was not used for animations the stage lights would sometimes draw some nice patterns on it.
Around the screen a square pattern filled the back of the stage. These square were sometimes lighted in different colours and during 'You Win, I Lose' each square even had a chess board pattern in it.

The whole set-up of the show was rather Floydian and I wonder if any of the Pink Floyd show designers have been involved. I heard a roadie talking about a 'big f***ing arch' so I have the feeling that part of the crew might also have been working on the Division Bell tour.

The actual use of the stage show was far from flawless. During the first couple of songs the timing was full of errors. The bombastic opening of 'You Win, I lose' didn't start at the point where I expect it to start; at the moment the chess pieces are whiped from the board in the screen animation.
When a non-Davies solo was being played there often wasn't a spotlight on the concerned musician and during 'Canonball' something went very wrong with the screen projection. Maybe it was caused by the spontaneous (?) switch in the setlist; 'Canonball' and 'From Now On' traded placed when compared to Stockholm. This was the only difference between the two setlists. Anyway, 'Canonball' only had two very short pieces of film which seemed to go far to quick and were followed by an ominous 'searching' message with counter on the screen. During the first song some troubles could already be noticed when suddenly a test image had appeared on the screen.

Please note that I'm being very critical here; the lights during later part of the show and especially during the 'golden oldies' were extremely effective.

The band was very good. Vocalist/keyboard player Rick Davies was the star of the evening with perfect play and voice. Mark Hart was a good replacement for Rodger Hodgson, although I would not go as far as the Stockholm reviewers to call him 'perfect'. His vocals on 'Take the Long Way Home' sounded a bit flat to me.

Band member John Helliwell had some very cliche monologues with the audience telling them that 'Amsterdam has some beautiful musea' and that he was 'the guy with the shiniest shoes in the building'. Just when he started to get annoying while telling us to put on our safety belts when we went home a face appeared on the projection screen saying: 'Hey John .... you only had to tell the people that when they go home they should take a loooooong way'. After this the band went into the matching classic. This was quite funny, in my opinion.

Sound was very good, considering the 'hay barn' acoustics of Ahoy, although during some songs a couple of instruments were to low in the mix. Especially 'Canonball' suffered from some mixing mistakes.

There was some nice 'improvisation' going on, especially during 'Another Man's Woman'.

Although this review may seem very negative at some points, the whole show would certainly get an 8 out of 10. If some of the errors in this third performance will be prevented on the coming gigs they will certainly be able to achieve a 9. Don't miss it when the bandwagon comes near your town!

After more than 2 hours - including an encore of 4 songs - the screen showed a hand turning a switch during the final keyboard sounds of 'Crime of the Century'. Immediately the lights went on. The band had already left the stage; the show was over. I considered it a bit of a shame that this strange ending prevented the audience from giving the band a standing ovation.

Oh and before I forget: a big 'thank you' to my brother in law for giving me the chance to visit this great gig.


It's a Hard World *
You Win, I Lose *
Listen To Me Please
Live To Love You
Ain't Nobody But Me
Sooner or Later
Free As A Bird *
Cannonball *
From Now On *
And The Light
Rudy *
Another Man's Woman
Bloody Well Right
Take the Long Way Home *
Oh Darling
The Logical Song
Goodbye Stranger

Where There's a Will
Don't You Lie To Me (cover)
Crime of the Century *

* = film clip


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