Peter Frampton is Alive

Peter Frampton. Jazz Fest 2019. Photo Rachel Levine Peter Frampton. Jazz Fest 2019. Photo Rachel Levine

With a crowd largely composed of Baby Boomers and their adult children, Peter Frampton made sure to rock Place des Arts Salle Wilfrid Pelletier from ground to top balcony. He even quipped during Do You Feel Like I Do that those up high should be careful of falling. No kidding. It’s a long way up and the place was packed.

Place des Arts. Crowd. Full House. Photo Rachel LEvine
Salle Wilfrid Pelletier. Place des Arts. Crowd. Full House. Photo Rachel Levine

With some vintage instruments, including his Les Paul Custom guitar from the Frampton Comes Alive era and the drum kit of now deceased John Siomos, Frampton and his solid backing band ran through both covers and originals. The audience repeatedly came to their feet to dance and express their love. Frampton responded in kind, enthused by the warm reception.

Frampton has recently received a diagnosis of IBM, a progressive degenerative muscular disease, so while this is entitled the Farewell Tour, one hopes that is not the case. He certainly didn’t seem to be anything but a genial, talented and energetic performer. Not shabby for a man of 69.

Peter Frampton. Jazz Fest 2019. Photo Rachel Levine
Peter Frampton. Jazz Fest 2019. Photo Rachel Levine

The concert began with Baby (Something’s Happening) and a Stevie Wonder cover of Signed, Sealed, Deliver. Audience air guitarists played along while everyone else danced. Frampton gave the audience an early taste of his legendary solos, with fingers flying over the fretboard. HIs big smile and regular interaction with the audience was indicative of a seasoned performer.

Peter Frampton. Jazz Fest. Photo Rachel Levine
Peter Frampton. Jazz Fest. Photo Rachel Levine

While a guitar great like Frampton can never be anything but fantastic, it was clear that he has a strong rapport with his band. They all had a chance to solo and were identified and praised by Frampton himself. In particular, the band had just started using cameras that put live footage behind them, and they all seemed to enjoy hamming it up. When not filming the band, the film show in the back displayed vintage videos and 1960s style psychedelic stage projection. Frampton broke up the night with stories about his life as a musician in a way reminiscent of Randy Bachman’s Vinyl Tap. There was a lot of name dropping and to be honest, these were some big names, including Chris Cornnell, Bill Wyman, and Charlie Watts.

After dedicating Lines On My Face to Bob Mayo and Siomos, Frampton went on to a much cheered Show Me The Way. This was followed by Fig Tree Baby, a song Frampton says was played because he wants every night to be different for the audience members who follow him from city to city.

Peter Frampton. Jazz Fest 2019. Photo Rachel Levine
Peter Frampton. Jazz Fest 2019. Photo Rachel Levine

In one story, he talked about playing 71 shows with Steve Miller, and how afterwards, they recorded enough blues songs over nine days to produce multiple albums. Currently, one album has spent three weeks at number one on the Billboard Charts (Blues Category). He played Georgia on My Mind (covering Hoagy Carmichael) and Me and My Guitar (covering Freddy King).

Peter Frampton. Jazz Fest 2019. Photo Rachel Levine
Peter Frampton. Jazz Fest 2019. Photo Rachel Levine

After this, Frampton switched to a set of two acoustic songs, saying that he wanted to show how his songs come into being. All I Wanna Be (is By Your Side) was immensely moving, and then he followed up with Penny For Your Thoughts. In particular, he talked about how he was on a deadline to produce an album and holed up in the Bahamas for three weeks. Guitarist Alvin Lee showed up and two weeks disappeared into a black hole. With just eight days left, Frampton composed Show Me the Way and another hit in a single day, one before lunch and one during sunset. “I’ve been trying to have a day like that ever since,” he quipped.

Peter Frampton. Jazz Fest. Photo Rachel Levine
Peter Frampton. Jazz Fest. Photo Rachel Levine

After this, he was back on the rockers — Breaking All the Rules, and also how Chris Cornell was pleased by the cover of Black Hole Sun, which Frampton now dedicates to Cornell’s wife and children. He talked about recording an album with Hank Marvin, Pearl Jam, Bill Weyman and Charlie Watts, only to find out that this labor of love album won a Grammy.

Frampton closed out with his hits, including Do You Feel Like I Do, with it’s familiar Vocoding. The multi-song encore included Four Day Creep, I Don’t Need No Doctor, and a cover of the Beatle’s My Guitar Gently Weeps.

One can only hope we have Frampton back for A Farewell Tour After the Farewell Tour. Aging is clearly on his mind — he referenced his health problems and gave gratitude for all the well wishes and advice he’s received. He re-lyriced a few songs to address his less than full hair. Well, if Frampton is what aging is about, he seems to be doing pretty well. He’s a living legend and his stories from the days when rock was a way of life are as good as his playing.

Set List

  1. Baby (Somethin’s Happening) Play Video
  2. Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours( Stevie Wonder cover) Play Video
  3. Lines on My FacePlay Video
  4. Show Me the WayPlay Video
  5. Fig Tree BayPlay Video
  6. Georgia on My Mind (Hoagy Carmichael cover) Play Video
  7. Me and My Guitar (Freddie King cover) Play Video
  8. Same Old BluesPlay Video
  9. All I Wanna Be (Is by Your Side) (Solo Acoustic – Guitar and voice )Play Video
  10. Penny For Your Thoughts (Solo Acoustic – Guitar) Play Video
  11. Breaking All the RulesPlay Video
  12. Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden cover ) Play Video
  13. (I’ll Give You) Money Play Video
  14. Baby (Somethin’s Happening) Play Video
  15. Do You Feel Like We Do Play Video

Encore

  1. Four Day Creep (Ida Cox cover) Play Video
  2. I Don’t Need No Doctor (Ray Charles cover) Play Video
  3. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (The Beatles cover)

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About Rachel Levine

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