Thanks to Elisabeth Flieger for this review

Roger Hodgson - Ball of stars – Mannheim October 18, 2008

From time to time Roger performs at charity shows. We saw him already two times in the Old Opera in Frankfurt, when he played for the Late Year Benefiz Show of the consulting enterprise PASS in 2005 and 2007. 

Another one of those shows took place on october, 18 in Mannheim. There the local radio station "Radio Rainbow" organized for the 19th time the charity event "Ball of the stars" (which refers to star chefs), where Roger this year was the musical highlight at midnight. We were so lucky (after a short trip of 700 km from northern to southern Germany) to attend an event which brought together celebrities of the German TV, economy and the local High Society for a splendid night of dining, dancing, watching and being watched. 

As far as I'm concerned, I never had the chance to see a Supertramp concert in the seventies and eighties, when Roger was part of the band. But when I saw one of Roger's solo shows in 2005 for the first time, I was so deeply moved to hear a sound that was so full of the original atmosphere that I nearly cried. After that experience I seized many opportunities to see Roger's shows.

Back to the evening in Mannheim: it really seemed to me that not few of all those well dressed people had been there exclusively to see Roger. Before the show started, lots of people took position right in front of the stage - and they did not seem to be in the mood to obey the presenter who told them to take their seats in order to allow the sitting people to have a better view to the stage. They kept standing and screaming and singing there for the whole time, and I am convinced that Roger enjoyed it much as the audience did. 

The setlist fitted well to a show with orchestra - "Fool's overture" was in it as well as "School" which I really love with orchestra. We watched most of the show from backstage. The only thing that was a pity in it was the fact that we could not completely get the atmosphere and reaction of the whole audience. So I do not know whether all these VIPs who maybe did not know Roger before were as much charmed as the rest of the audience. But the applause was an indicator that Roger carried them away. There had been only few rehearsals with the orchestra, but the result was fantastic. What an evening, what an event, what an atmosphere! And not to forget: what a sound, which was really amazing. 

Thank you Linda for your kindness and the opportunity to be there. It has been very exciting to be already in the great ballroom when the soundcheck and rehearsal with the orchestra took place in the afternoon. But it has been even more overwhelming when Roger found the time to say hello to us. Arndt who runs the German website since a few months really had been waiting so long to get the opportunity to chat about his lifelong love for Supertramp and his deep connection to Roger’s music. Thank you Roger for the pleasure and honour of this meeting!

In an interview of that day Roger said he has had a wonderful life with wealth, fame and success, but what made him really happy was to give. He had good reason to be very happy after the “Ball of stars”.



Thanks to Uwe Nessler for these translations


Charity: musical and culinary highlights / guests exulting Supertramp-Star Roger Hodgson


Ball is pulsating through the halls of the Rosengarten

From our editorial member Christine Maisch-Straub


A music-legend in a good humor who took everybody on a trip down on memory lane and let them revel in hits, gourmet chefs, who are shining in delectability and celebs who are sparkeling in noble robe. Radio Regenbogen-director Klaus Schunk and his team let stars twinkle and starlets also at the 19th charity-ball at the Rosengarten. More then 2,500 guests followed the invitation. The revenues will benefit the Hannelore Kohl-foundation m(ZNS) and nonprofit organisations of the region.


Biggest Live-Production


Pulsation lighting-effects exploding between brilliant bright angel like creatures while jugglers and equilibrists are doing somersaults – a groundbreaking opening of the Europa Park Rust, before Klaus Schunk stired the suspense for the stars of the evening who are accompanied by a huge music formation. “It is the biggest live-production ever at the Ball of the Stars.” That can be confirmed by Rainbow eventdirector Andreas Ksionek. Six hours long until late in the night ex-Supertramp singer Roger Hodgson rehearsed with the Mannheim Philhamonice, chamber musicians and the Sinatra band of Louis Hoover. “Almost all of them have met for ther first time in their lives.”


Long-jump star Heike Drechlser is looking forward for the pop-legend: “Sure, that was my time”, the 43-year-old adores. “ I have a lot of Supertramp LPīs and CDīs.” From her partner for life, Alain Blondel, she parted a few months ago after twelve years of living toghether: “We had to realize that after a lot of beautiful common experiences our lives developed into different directions.” The good memories are including a lot of former Ball of the Stars: “Here it is always easy and informal.”


Meanwhile Lindenstrassen-Star Marie-Luise Majan is enjoying the sympathy of the fans, posing for mobile phone photos between treats of the think tank of “Da Gianni”cook Wolfgang Staudenmaier and colleague Manfred Schwarz. “We grew up with this TV-production” admitted Nina, daughter of Werner Albrecht, the chief execuive of Heidelberger-Printing-Machines, during being photographed with “Mother Beimer” by her father.


Short way into the hearts of the fans


Even after two encores the guests did not want to let Supertramp tweeter Roger Hodgson off the stage. From “Dreamer” to “Give a little bit” he is exciting 2,000 cheering fans.


“He is the icing on the cake at this wonderfull ball”: also Roberto Blanco and his young lady, the cuban dancer Luzandra Strassburg, are shining. Before the show they were culinary indulged by Harald Wohlfahrt. “But Roberto is also cooking very well”, Luzandra said: “Maultaschen (=Swabian Ravioli) and Fish.”


“Take the long way home”: The way of the Supertramp star into the hearts of the Mannheim people is short in any case. The vibes at the Mozart hall already switched over noticeable to the 58-year-old musician. As an encore, a few girls from the first row are wishing “School”. The audience mafficked. And when Roger Hodgson thanked his audience, a lot of fans called, “We thank you.”


What a wonderful midnight show – and what a prelude for a long disco night at the muse-hall, which wasn’t completely died away at 5 am.


Mannheimer Morgen

Oct. 20th 2008