Four years ago, a local promoter had to give away almost half the seats in a 750-seat hall for a Supertramp concert.Last night the rock quintet sold almost 10,000 seats at the Capital Centre in the same week that their latest album, "Breakfast in America," held the No. 1 spot in the sales charts. Another winner in the rock 'n' roll sweepstakes!

The band is in the successful art-rock tradition of Genesis and Yes - which means, to a certain extent, it is given to pretension and redundancy. Several of the newer songs (particularly the extremely catchy "Logical Songs" and the stylistic homage of "Goodbye Stranger") rise above the plodding, drum- and bass-heavy insistence of much of Supertramp's work. While most of the group's songs sound great over the airwaves, hearing them successively in concert is like being trapped in a radio band at the mercy of a deejay with a desperate mission and little imagination.

While Supertramp's outlook, intelligence and production are superior to most contemporary rock groups', they offer too many of the same staples to satisfy voracious rock 'n' roll appetites. Their best songs are among the best in today's rock scene. Unfortunately the body of Supertramp's work is somewhere well below that level.