British rock band Supertramp took a jumbo jet across the water to see America, but Brant music fans need only go to the Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts to see the group’s most popular album, Breakfast in America, performed “note for note, cut for cut” by Classic Albums Live.
“Supertramp has always been very popular in Canada – before they were popular anywhere else in the world, in fact,” said Classic Albums Live percussionist Marty Morin.
Though its songs were about life south of the border, “(Breakfast in America) really struck a chord with Canadians,” Morin said.
Classic Albums Live will present Supertramp’s critically and commercially acclaimed 1979 album – which features hit singles The Logical Song, Goodbye Stranger, Take the Long Way Home and the title track – during a Feb. 22 performance at the Sanderson Centre. The show begins at 8 p.m.
“I love playing Supertramp,” Morin said. “It’s very melodramatic. It’s great for theatres.”
Classic Albums Live has upwards of 40 albums in its repertoire, but Breakfast in America is a new addition, premiering in Richmond Hill this month.
“It’s really exciting for us,” said Morin. “A lot of the albums we’ve done many, many times. At the beginning, 10 years ago, we were learning a new album every month. At a certain point you become saturated.”
Reviewed by Rolling Stone magazine as “a textbook-perfect album of post-Beatles, keyboard-centered English art rock,” Breakfast in America was hailed as a fun departure from Supertramp’s earlier progressive rock efforts.
Inspired by the band’s move to Los Angeles two years prior, Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson penned a collection of bright pop songs that still pack a lyrical punch.
Gone Hollywood explores the struggles of an aspiring movie star, and The Logical Song is a deceptively sunny tune that details a young idealist’s gradual transformation into an embittered, socially acceptable automaton. Take the Long Way Home speaks to the discontentment of an untethered life lived in fame’s spotlight.
These weighty themes are tempered by well-crafted pop melodies and dramatic saxophone solos.
“Supertramp wasn’t a party band,” Morin said. “It was a bit finer than that.”
Breakfast in America won two Grammy Awards and went quadruple platinum, with The Logical Song and title track becoming the British band’s only two Top 10 hits in its home country.
Classic Albums Live will use an 11-piece band to recreate the much-loved album’s sound. A Classic Albums Live show caters to music fans first, Morin said.
“We get lumped together with these tribute bands,” he said. “For us, it’s more of a recital.”
Band members don’t announce the songs, but do welcome audience members to sing along. Supertramp’s built-in harmony – brought to life by Morin and Phil Naro – means fans “will always find a part,” Morin said.
The group’s serious focus means there will not be any costumes or slideshows with images of the real Supertramp.
“We concentrate simply on the music,” Morin said.
Tickets to see Classic Albums Live presents Supertramp’s Breakfast in America cost $38 and can be purchased at the Sanderson Centre box office at 88 Dalhousie St., by phone at 519-758-8090 or online at www.sandersoncentre.ca.