[Review] Supertramp: Paris (1980)

The Breakfast in America tour, in Paris in the evening.

Kronomyth 7.0: We’ll always have Breakfast in America.

Supertramp followed Breakfast in America with this soirée in Paris. I don’t recall ever thinking to myself, “Man, I bet Supertramp would be an awesome live band,” any more than I was interested in hearing 10cc or Alan Parsons Project perform their songs on stage. Which isn’t to say that the band doesn’t do a nice job of thumbing through their back catalog or that the audience in Paris doesn’t appreciate the effort. The sax and guitar solos shine a little brighter under the stage lights, the rhythm section doesn’t miss a beat and the vocals from Roger Hodgson and Rick Davies sound as good as you remember.

The trouble with Paris is that it finds the band in a holding pattern at the peak of their popularity. It would be three years before the band released another studio album, by which time my tastes had already shifted from pop music to new wave. Enough Supertramp fans stayed along for the ride to help both Paris and Famous Last Words chart well, but it many ways this marks the end of an era. Looking back over their last few albums, it had been a great ride. Bloody Well Right, Dreamer, Ain’t Nobody But Me, The Logical Song, Take the Long Way Home, all the highlights are here (with the notable exception of “Give a Little Bit”).

The spoken intros from John Anthony Helliwell, done mostly in French, are a nice touch. So is the selection, which digs deep into popular album tracks such as School, Asylum, Hide in Your Shell and Fool’s Overture. As a treat, the band also slips in an old B side, You Started Laughing. The live mix is good, with enough crowd noise to keep you in the moment and clean editing. I can see where someone familiar with Breakfast in America would want to pick up Paris to navigate their back catalog, although I would point you first to Crime and Crisis. Fans will appreciate what basically amounts to a long curtain call after Breakfast, but for most of us Paris can wait.

Original 2LP version

A1. School (5:20)
A2. Ain’t Nobody But Me (4:53)
A3. The Logical Song (3:41)
A4. Bloody Well Right (6:11)
B1. Breakfast in America (2:36)
B2. You Started Laughing (3:50)
B3. Hide in Your Shell (6:36)
B4. From Now On (6:44)
C1. Dreamer (3:15)
C2. Rudy (6:51)
C3. A Soapbox Opera (4:33)
C4. Asylum (6:41)
D1. Take the Long Way Home (4:35)
D2. Fool’s Overture (10:14)
D3. Two of Us (1:23)
D4. Crime of the Century (6:14)

All selections written by Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson.

The Players

Bob C. Benberg, Rick Davies, John Anthony Helliwell, Roger Hodgson, Dougie Thomson. Produced and engineered by Peter Henderson and Russel Pope.

The Pictures

Art direction by Mike Doud. Cover illustrations by Cindy Marsh. Design by Mike Fink. Inside photo by Mark Hanauer. Additional photos by Reed Hutchinson and Steve Smith.

The Plastic

Released on 2LP and cassette in September 1980 in the UK and the Netherlands (A&M, AMLM 66702), the US and Canada (A&M, SP/CS-6702), Australia (A&M, L70167/8) and Brazil (A&M, 170004) with gatefold cover and inner sleeves. Reached #7 on the UK charts and #8 on the US charts (RIAA-certified gold record).

  1. Re-issued on 2CD in Brazil and Germany (A&M, 396702).
  2. Re-released on remastered 2CD on July 30, 2002 in the US (A&M, 493350).

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