Reviews

“That was seriously one of the best concerts I’ve seen in ages. Incredible talent and passion from all. What a collaboration of artists. Please pass on the praise. I think you do Supertramp better than they could pull it off.”

 - Brian James, FM 105.5 Muskoka

 

Dreamer: The Supertramp Experience at Toronto’s The Rockpile – Nov 2012  (by: tmakworld.com)

When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful, a miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical.”
– Does Dreamer bring back the magic of the classic rock era? Read on and find out. 

November 3 2012 – Dreamer an 8 piece Supertramp tribute band rolled into Toronto’s The Rockpile last night for a 2 hour 17 song set of classic Supertramp material. The band is composed of Phil Naro (Hodgson vocals), Rich Hamelin (Davies vocals, keyboards/piano), Luc Murphy (Sax, Clarinet, Flute, backup vocals), Luc Caron (Guitar, wind instruments), Matthew Coull (Keys, Organ), Sylvain Marcoux (Bass), Nancy Harper (Vocals, Percussion) and Philippe Lemay (Drums). Of note five members of the band are part of Montreal based Queen tribute band Queen Flash.

We had not heard of this band before, and justifiably so – tonight was just their 5th gig with this lineup. Admittedly we had very high expectations from them when we found out that Phil Naro was involved (more on that later). As the band took the stage the familiar opening harmonica notes of School, the audience was immediately drawn into  the band’s aura. Within the first few lines of “I can see you in the morning when you go to school, Don’t forget your books, you know the golden rule” we were sold. The Supertramp Experience was on and there would be no turning back.

The first set of the night was Supertramp’s 1974 album Crime Of The Century which Dreamer performed end to end. The album features some Supertramp staples such as SchoolBloody Well RightRudy and Dreamer. The band not only delivered a carbon copy musical replica of the record, but they floored us with their vocal mimicry of Davies and Hodgson. Hamelin particularly impressed on Rudy playing keys and singing with conviction.

When watching a rock band on stage I personally like to see the artists doing one of two things while performing. If the artist is either smiling or has their eyes closed in musical bliss you can assume that they are fully immersed in the intimate artist/audience connection. All the members of Dreamer were clearly having a good time and it was so refreshing to see a band smiling so much. The audience did reciprocate with raucous applause so the precious connection was clearly made

The second half of the set consisted of Supertramp’s other big hits includingFool’s OvertureGive a Little Bit, Take the Long Way Home, and The Logical Song. The musical voyage the band took us on was of the highest order and they go down as one of the best tribute bands we have ever seen. The audience unanimously had a great time and although this concert was not heavily advertised, The Rockpile had a very solid turnout. There is no doubt that if this band returns again they will benefit from positive word of mouth (and hopefully from our solid recommendation). The night ends with a 1-2 punch of It’s Raining Again and Goodbye Stranger as the encores to really knock us on our ass.

Earlier we mentioned we would revisit Phil Naro and what he brings to Dreamer. If you like classic rock and have never heard of Naro you should immediately Google him. He is the chameleon of rock – check this out. In the last year we have reviewed three different CD’s from three different bands he is involved in.Velvet Crush from Jim CreanDruckfarben (self titled album), and 3D by D-Drive which are all worthy checking out so have a look at the reviews and see if they fit your musical style. Pretty impressive eh? Well let me continue – we have also just in this past year seen Naro twice do Freddie Mercury at Classic Albums Live presents Queen – A Night At The Opera as well as doing Robert Plant at Classic Albums Live presents Led Zeppelin IV and tonight we add Roger Hodgson to his repertoire. Let that sink in for a minute – 3 different bands and tribute vocals to Plant, Mercury and Hodgson. Not only are his vocals incredible he happens to be one of the nicest people I have ever met (musician or non) – next time you see him at a gig say “hi”, I guarantee you Naro will thank you from his heart for coming out to see him perform. Phil Naro – “The Chameleon” – worth the price of admission on his own.

Combine Naro and what he brings to the table with the incredible Hamelin and the other 6 musicians and you have a surreal Supertramp experience that is a triumphant delight to rock fans of all generations.

In June of 2011 we saw “Supertramp” at the Molson Amphitheater. As is the case with many of the old classic rock bands the current touring incarnation usually lacks a key member or two in their current roster. In the case of Supertramp these days they are lacking their key vocalist Roger Hodgson since 1983 – a loss that is not easy to compensate for due to Hodgson’s distinct vocals that defined Supertramp during the peak of their commercial success. As is often the case of bands that tour without their original creative forces, there is a lack of authenticity.  Given the choice of watching Supertramp (without Hodgson) with binoculars at the Amphitheater for a $70 ticket, $15 beer and $20 parking or Dreamer at the Rockpile for a $15 ticket, $6 beer and free parking – my money and time go to Naro/ Hamelin and their band of musicians.

Verdict: 4.5 out of 5 -  The musical journey that Dreamer take you on is the best bang for the buck entertainment we have seen in a very long time. If you are a fan of classic rock do NOT miss the opportunity to see this band.