If you can survive the stacked parking, the strict curfew, and the sometimes incessantly chatty people in the seats around you, the Greek Theatre is a great way to spend a beautiful Southern California summer night. More importantly,
if you can get to the Greek on a night when history is repeating itself – then you’ve struck gold. If you get to witness history being repeated by none other than musician Peter Frampton, well then, my friend, you’ve hit the trifecta.
And that’s exactly what Gary and I were able to do on this particular Saturday night as we caught Peter Frampton presenting the 35th anniversary show for his pivotal release, Frampton Comes Alive! As the best selling album of 1976, that record became a staple in the lives of anyone from that era who had a pair of ears (yes, Wayne Campbell – Mike Myers’ character in the movie Wayne’s World – was right… “Everybody in the world had Frampton Comes Alive! If you
lived in the suburbs, you were issued it. It came in the mail with samples of Tide.”)
Wait, it’s been thirty-five years? NO way! Well, as hard as it is for me to believe, it HAS been 35 years since Frampton’s breakthrough release. So what if I was only twelve years old when it came out, that album laid the groundwork for every single expectation I would ever have in my rock stars from that point on. I mean, the cover photo alone (taken by Richard E. Aaron who, much to our surprise, was photographing alongside Gary on this night) formed the basis for most of my teenage fantasies.
Sure, we’d recently seen Frampton at the KLOS Mark and Brian Christmas Show just this past December (seriously, you couldn’t meet a nicer guy), but it is good to see that he is looking surprisingly great all these decades later, especially for a man who admits to having lived the fabled rock and roll lifestyle, joking between songs on our night that the only drugs he still does are Flonase and Viagra – but not necessarily in that order (he quickly asked if he’d given us too much information). Regardless, the once golden-locked rock star doesn’t sound a day over the last time this album toured live, both vocally and instrumentally. In
fact, I’m wondering if he even sounded better.
After a short introduction by the renowned and always beautiful KLOS DJ Cynthia Fox, it was time for the show to begin. And without a single hint of rain (a flood warning had been issued earlier that night in the mountains nearby), the only flood we were encountered were the memories quickly flowing back in our minds. Spending the evening storytelling, interacting with the audience, and seemingly really enjoying himself, Frampton really DID come alive.
Backed by his talented band, and with only a 20-minute intermission after presenting the aforementioned album in its entirety, Peter moved through a nearly three-hour set of the music that made him famous, although I admit to sorely missing the sappier side of the 70s when he didn’t play “I’m In You”. Regardless, there wasn’t much else left out of the otherwise complete set list.
But the highlight of the night
came early for me, as I finally
got to answer the question I’ve
long been waiting to answer live – YES, Peter, I DO feel like you do!!! Second only perhaps to The Nuge’s “Stranglehold”, that song – with its infamous talking guitar – is
the sexiest thing that ever hit
Ending this nostalgic night (just beating the 11:00 curfew), Frampton bravely embraced the new era by closing the show with
a great cover of “Black Hole Sun”
by Soundgarden, a band we had seen live at the L.A. Forum only a week earlier. We half expected Chris Cornell to join the legend on stage to sing his way over the amazing Jeff Beck-ish guitar melody (intermingled with one lyric sung through Peter’s iconic talk box), but it didn’t happen. Instead, we were just awe struck
by Frampton alone.
And moments later, after waving goodbye to this living legend, while deciding to wait out the exiting crowd, we stumbled upon a booth that, for a small charge, provided an instant download of that very night’s live concert! Wow! Our
own personal version of Frampton Comes Alive!
Thanks, Peter! Now we have something to listen to for the next 35 years.Writing and Photography by TourBusLive.comPeter Frampton-Comes Alive