Even though it was not exactly an unexpected development, the start of the Supertramp 70-10 Tour confirms that co-founder Rick Davies has gone ahead with plans to perform songs that were written by Roger Hodgson. As the group worked through their set list at Gerry Weber Stadium in Halle/Westfalen, Germany Thursday night, Hodgson’s material was indeed part of the show.
Hodgson hits such as “Breakfast In America,” “Dreamer,” “Give A Little Bit,” “It’s Raining Again,” “Take The Long Way Home” and “The Logical Song” were performed during this first show of the tour that will take the group to more than thirty venues on the European continent.
As the promotional video for Supertramp’s tour suggests, Davies seems quite comfortable breaking the gentleman’s agreement that he and Hodgson allegedly made when they parted ways in the early 1980’s. According to Hodgson, he and Davies agreed that Davies would continue to use the Supertramp name, but refrain from performing any material that was written by Hodgson.
Roger Hodgson admits that the agreement was simply a verbal one, and for that reason, it seems unlikely that there will be any legal fallout resulting from the use of Hodgson’s music as part of the current Supertramp tour. Hodgson says he did not have a good attorney when he left Supertramp – a bit of an understatement, since it seems almost unimaginable that any attorney would not encourage a client to put such an important agreement in writing.
Although Davies & Company decided to use the name “Supertramp 70-10 Tour” instead of “Supertramp 40th Anniversary Tour,” “70-10” is a reference to the year 1970 when Davies and Hodgson formed the iconic group, and the current year, 2010, marking 40 years since Supertramp was born.
Perhaps the selection of that name was an effort on Davies’ part to appear a bit less “in-your-face” about embarking on a 40th Anniversary tour without the only other member of the group who was actually there in 1970.
It seems unlikely that selection of a less provocative name for the tour appeased Hodgson, whose management aired their feelings on the issue by saying “We’ve been told that they are billing the tour as the 40th Anniversary tour of the band and we just find this very surprising, misleading and disrespectful of Roger since he is the only other member that was a part of Supertramp when he and Rick founded the band together 40 years ago. (Dougie joined the band in 1972 and John and Bob a year later in 1973 and have not actually been with Supertramp for 40 years).”
As much as fans (including myself) would like to see Davies and Hodgson bury the hatchet and work together again on the amazing music they created, it’s much easier to be a pessimist at this point. With Davies closing in on 70 years of age, it would be quite reasonable for him to retire from performing live and put an end to any future possibility of seeing the founders of Supertramp on the same stage together again.