Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Party in Niagara, Niagara Falls, Ontario

We headed down to the park at around 9:00. Kim Mitchell was already on stage. Justin Hines had already been and gone.

If I remember correctly, we saw Kim do “Paradise Skies” and “A Million Vacations”, a song called “Stand” from an album called “Itch” that apparently didn’t do well, but they liked it anyway. He did a few other songs I didn’t know, and I believe he ended with “I Am A Wild Party”.

Kim Mitchell

Roger Hodgson from Supertramp was on next. It was just him playing guitar/keyboards and one other guy who did saxophone or whatever other instrument was needed. My brother told me before the concert that I wouldn’t even notice that there were no drums or other instruments, and he was mostly right. During songs like “Breakfast in America” and “Dreamer”, where I knew there were bits where the drums were supposed to come in, it felt a little empty, but overall, it was pretty cool. There didn’t seem to be anything wrong (ie. missing) with the songs I didn’t know, and there were even bits in songs I knew where I went, “Wow, that sounds a lot fuller than it should”.

He opened with “Take the Long Way Home” and he also did “Give A Little Bit” and “The Logical Song”. I don’t know the other songs he did, apparently “It’s Raining Again”, and I think “Sister Moonshine” and “School” (which he introduced by saying we may have noticed he’d written a few songs about his schooling and how he didn’t agree with it), and maybe a few others.

In case I haven’t mentioned — which I haven’t — this all happened in Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls, Ontario. On the Canadian side, which you know, where it’s fifty degrees colder than right across the border in Niagara Falls, New York. Needless to say, it was freezing.

When Roger Hodgson came on, he said something about “forgetting [him]self in the dressing room; she’s gone to get it for me”. I don’t know what he was referring to, since I couldn’t really see much (that “concert-a-week-tall-guy” problem again), but I’ll assume it was like his prosthetic arm or something.

Roger Hodgson

Sleeping Beauty Roger Hogdson?

Oh, and Roger Hodgson? He’s 58 years old — just a young’un! Something that most everyone I talked to noticed was that he was smiling the whole night. He seemed like just a generally very happy looking man. And he had a cute little winter hat! (My family discovered last night that he bore a strong resemblance to a minor character in Sleeping Beauty). And, most shocking of all, I turned to my mom when he came on stage and said, “He’s got hair!”.

While I did not end up taking the long way home and getting lost and having to be adopted by Roger Hodgson after he impatiently started a snowball fight with me and impatiently stated that he loved kids and sarcastically asked if I was up for adoption and I unexpectedly said yes, I would hazard a guess that he is rather a nice guy. He was up on stage for a couple of minutes before he started the set, waiting for whatever he left in the dressing room, so he talked to the crowd for a bit. He laughed a little and taunted us saying, “IIIII’ve got a heeeeeater!”.

Roger Hodgson

“Breakfast in America”, great song. “Take a jumbo ‘cross the water / Like to see America” is of course referring to the Atlantic Ocean, with Supertramp being from Britain and all. Somehow, for a long time, I was able to ignore their British accents, and I had the impression that the song was about Niagara Falls. After all, for me, “the water” is Niagara Falls. You go across the bridge, and there you are! Pancakes in New York, eggs in Buffalo, Breakfast in America. So the fact that I was listening to this song in Niagara Falls was slightly amusing in my own personal way.

Another song I realized was appropriate (on this occasion only!) was “Dreamer”: “what a day, a year, a life it is”. I have a feeling there was someone somewhere who was trying to get Roger Hodgson to play there that night just because they knew he’d sing that line and are frantically searching for someone to play next year whose catalogue includes a song that could be possibly construed as referring to the new year. Or maybe no one thinks of these things but me.

Roger Hodgson

Quite an enjoyable concert, other than the cold. Roger Hodgson left the stage and then came back to do a second set for the TV broadcast, which started at 11:00. After the first two songs in his second set, which were “Take the Long Way Home” and another song he’d already done, my dad and I went back to the hotel. It was just way too cold, especially for our feet, and standing up for concerts just isn’t nice for your back. Plus, I reasoned, he’d be doing the same songs anyway, and I’ve already seen Kim Mitchell twice.

Roger apparently did all the same songs again from what I can tell. I got to watch a bit of the end of his set on TV and then some of Justin Hines. They’re tricky, them TV people. They make it look like Roger goes on, then Justin Hines, and then Kim Mitchell, but in actuality, they just played a clip of Justin Hines while they packed up Roger’s stuff and set up Kim’s stuff. Tricky, tricky!

Kim Mitchell did “Rock ‘N’ Roll Duty”, “Patio Lanterns”, and “Go For Soda”. I don’t think he played any of those songs during the first set, so it’s nice that he switched it up. But like I said, I’ve seen him twice before, and while he’s good, the weather was terrible. During his first set actually, there was a bit of a mini-blizzard, but other than that, the snow mostly held off.

Kim Mitchell

On the TV broadcast, you could see him go up to the heater every once in awhile to warm up his hands, and he always seemed to be sticking his hands in his pockets in between playing the guitar. As they went to a commercial break one time, you could hear him yelling in the background, “I can’t feel my fingers!” which was highly amusing.

Hopefully next year they have some more good people playing in Niagara. Next year should be a good one, if the weather’s going in an alternating pattern of terrible and tolerable. I don’t know if this year or two (three now, technically?) years ago with Foreigner was worse. Cold or rain, cold or rain? Oh, Canada.

Happy New Year