Frampton: Alive 40 Years Later

I entered the Tobin Center excited to see Peter Frampton for the first time. I was just 10 years old when I was introduced to his music, and too young to go to a rock concert. Typically artists don’t allow photographs during the show, so we didn’t bring a camera. Obviously aware that fans will sneak photos anyway, Peter Frampton must believe “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” so he posted signs stating fans could take as many videos and photos as they wanted during the first three songs only.  Once inside the theater, people were holding signs and walking up and down the aisles stressing that photos could be taken during the first three songs.  After the three tunes, he requested we put away the recording devices and “live in the moment!” Bravo Peter! I find myself saying that to my daughter at least once a day – “enjoy the moment.”  Not too long ago, OK, I’ll say it, “in our day,” we had to wait several days to get our photos back from the Fotomat AND we were lucky if they

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Fotomat booth – photo from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:This_is_a_typical_drive-up_Fotomat_booth..jpg

turned out! That was IF we were allowed to bring cameras into the venue. Unless we were there with our friends, we had to tell our friends about it AFTER the concert, (usually the next day), we’d then follow-up a few days later to show the few blurry photos we managed to salvage from the roll [of film for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about.] While we were at the concert though, we screamed, danced, clapped, sang along and could care less about connecting with ANYONE other than the artist and the fans around us! But I digress. . .

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Photo taken at end of 3rd song.

As you can imagine, during the first three songs, the auditorium looked like a sea of smart phone screens! Peter later commented that he didn’t recognize us (because he couldn’t see anyone’s face, just the back of their phones!) Our seats were not close enough for our cell phone camera, so my apologies, but our pictures resemble 1970’s Fotomat prints!  Thanks to the generosity of the Tobin Center, we were able to obtain two very awesome close-ups that were taken by their photographer, John David Scarcliff.

Frampton was ready to rock the night away and he told us that he was going to play for us, “virtually all night.”  Normally, that would make my daughter and I extremely happy, but this being the night before her last final exam, we were thinking that she should have stayed home. OK, so I failed Parenting 101 by taking her to a concert during finals week, but in the end, it was worth loosing sleep and study time!  (In case you are wondering, she got an A on the final.)

He began with his classics and went into at least a half-hour set of acoustic solos from his new album released in February 2016 – “Peter Frampton – Acoustic Classics.”

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Released 2/26/16 (Photo and track list from Frampton.com)

Tracklist:
01. Fig Tree Bay
02. Wind Of Change
03. All I Want To Be ( Is By Your Side )
04. Show Me The Way
05. Lines On My Face
06. Sail Away
07. Baby, I Love Your Way
08. All Down To Me
09. Penny For Your Thoughts
10. Do You Feel Like I Do
11. I’m In You

Peter allowed the audience to connect with him by telling personal stories that were very touching.  For example, he told the story behind his song, “Hummingbird in a Box.” When he was a little boy, his grandfather gave him some type of puzzle box that once opened revealed a small hummingbird figurine.  He had several guitar changes and told us a story about one he stole from his good friend, George Harrison!  He marveled at how big George’s property was and how many “tuners” (guitars) he had and stated that it was OK because “a Beatle should have everything he needs!”  He told us about the guitar given to him by Buddy Holly’s wife – a replica of Holly’s guitar named “Peggy Sue,” which contains the fret from Buddy’s original guitar.  Maria Elena Holly gave the guitar to Peter for his participation in an artist collaboration of recording Holly’s hits for a children’s charity.  He told us that “Peggy Sue” was the very first song he ever sang in front of anyone. He sang it for a Cub Scout music proficiency badge!  He then performed a fantastic rendition of “Peggy Sue” for us!  We even got to learn about his pet peeves.  For instance, it was obvious that he was not a big fan of people screaming things at him while he was trying to tell a story!  A few times he turned up the volume, while tuning to drown out the audience noise!  He also doesn’t like when people arrive to the concert late!  He embarrassed a couple that came in around the fifth song.  He told them, “. . .there’s probably a good reason why you are late” then rubbed-in that they missed several good songs and that there was a photo rule!  So, if you have tickets to his next show, be sure to arrive on time!!

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Photo by John David Scarcliff

A die-hard performer, Frampton never took a break.  His band got several, but he kept on playing and telling stories until his last bow.  As expected, he and the band came back for an encore.  He sang, “I Want you to Love Me. . .till the hair grows on my head.” Obviously making fun of his balding hair-line.  But don’t be fooled, at 66 years old, even though he no longer has those long golden locks, Peter Frampton still ROCKS!! The grand finale, was a tear-jerking performance of the Beatles’ “While my Guitar Gently Weeps.” I’m not sure about anyone else, but it made me cry.

peter frampton jds

Photo by John David Scarcliff

The best part of the night was meeting him and getting his autograph.  Peter had two separate and private meet and greets that night.  One, I was told, was sponsored by Budweiser and the other for people who purchased VIP tickets from the tour.  Sadly, we did not have passes for either one but waited outside with a handful of others hoping to meet him.  We were joined by two people who came out wearing tour passes. They told us that Peter’s tour manager was their close friend and that they often get backstage passes.  What was interesting was that even though they have been backstage numerous times, they have never, I repeat, NEVER, actually met Peter Frampton and/or obtained his autograph! So, it was an honor and privilege that Peter decided to come out, greet us, and sign one item. We respected his request for no photos and just thanked him for the great show and for allowing us to meet him.  He was very humble and gracious.The Manager’s friends also said that they never heard Peter tell so many personal stories!  I guess the intimacy of the Tobin Center makes artists feel comfortable with the audience.

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In case you are wondering why the ticket is signed upside down – I mentioned that we waited and were respectful, but there were a handful of rude people who came “out of the woodwork” and just pulled-up to where we were waiting.  These type of people are why artists usually don’t bother greeting fans and ruin it for everyone else!  I use a cane and was standing on the side; I could not jump down to where the rest of the people were standing, I was technically at the beginning of the line, but Peter started from the other end.  These two guys who just pulled-up, cut in front of me.  When I pointed that out to them, they said, “well come down here.” Hello?! Didn’t they see the cane?! Someone else told them that we’d been waiting there a long time, so they grabbed my ticket and handed it to Peter, upside down, (after he signed their items) and told him it was mine. Peter handed it back to me and gave me a beautiful smile.  I was upset when I realized it was upside down, but being able to thank him for a great show and getting a huge smile makes it priceless.

Frampton is still touring, currently with Cheap Trick.  I highly recommend you make it to one of his shows. Check out his tour dates here – http://www.frampton.com/live/

– BMT

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