If Adele tried to sneak into the OC Fair undetected, she probably wouldn’t make it past the turnstile without getting mobbed.
The surviving Beatles? Of course not. Bob Dylan? Fat chance. Mick Jagger? The 70th-birthday greetings would swell to a roar.
But Roger Hodgson, who will play the Toyota Summer Concert Series’ final show Sunday evening, has a hunch that he’s not nearly as famous as the songs his tenor graced.
“I think I’m one of the music industry’s best-kept secrets,” the former Supertramp member said by phone Tuesday. “So many people don’t know who Roger Hodgson is, but they’re absolutely stunned by the quality of the show. I think there’s a lot of people who are going to be in for a wonderful surprise on Sunday.”
Perhaps those who attend on a whim will be surprised that the man onstage was the voice of “Take the Long Way Home,” “Dreamer,” “Give a Little Bit,” “The Logical Song” and others. Then again, Hodgson has done his best to tip ticket buyers off, naming his current tour after Supertramp’s 1979 “Breakfast in America” album and billing himself as the band’s former singer — a move that he deemed necessary “to help people connect the dots.”
For that matter, Hodgson will be the last dot connected on this year’s OC Fair concert schedule, which began July 12 with pop-folk singer Colbie Caillat and has encompassed acts as diverse as Three Dog Night, Alan Jackson, Counting Crows, Joan Jett and ZZ Top.
Dan Gaines, the fair’s entertainment director, said this summer’s Pacific Amphitheatre series has been the best ever in terms of average ticket sales per show, with 11 performances selling out as of Friday.
Hodgson’s appearance will cap off the fair’s final day. Uncle Joe Benson, a disc jockey on 100.3 FM The Sound who has introduced several other acts this summer, will do the honors again for Hodgson, whom he called a longtime personal favorite.
While Supertramp may not be hailed as innovative on the level of The Who or Led Zeppelin, Benson said the group’s hits — a few of which play frequently on 100.3 — more than hold up.
“They were very important in their era, and much of their music has proven to be timeless,” he said. “Any one of the songs he’ll play Sunday night — ‘Give a Little Bit,’ as an example — could have been written yesterday.”
Hodgson may slip a couple of songs into his setlist that were literally written yesterday, or some time close to it, but he’s happy to lay the oldies on thick. His last album of originals, “Open the Door,” came out in 2000, and since then, he’s toured heavily and played in Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band. Three years ago, he put out “Classics Live,” which features tour recordings from around the world, and Hodgson said a second volume is in the works.
The Portsmouth, England, native, who turned 63 this year, co-founded Supertramp in 1969 and remained with the band for 14 years before embarking on a solo career. On Tuesday, Hodgson said he considers his time with the band a bygone era, but the old tunes still resonate with him — and with others. Over the years, he’s heard stories of fans playing his songs at weddings and even proposing at his shows.
“That’s what I see a concert as,” Hodgson said. “I’m bringing 2,000, 3,000 strangers together.”
Two or three thousand strangers who, hopefully, will exit knowing who Roger Hodgson is.
If You Go
Who: Roger Hodgson
Where: Pacific Amphitheatre, OC Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa
When: 8:15 p.m. Sunday
Cost: $23 to $53.35
Information: (714) 708-1500 or pacamp.com/pa