By Jacob Zinn
Peter Frampton may have put out his best work 35 years ago, but he’s still able to sell out venues touring on the anniversary of that masterpiece.
The 61-year-old English rocker performed a near three-hour set featuring his 1976 double-live record, Frampton Comes Alive!, in its entirety and a selection of hits and covers for an ecstatic middle-aged full house at Richmond’s River Rock Show Theatre on Saturday night.
The songs weren’t played in the order they appeared on the record, but in the order they were played live in the ‘70s. Frampton started with “Something’s Happening” and “Doobie Wah”, but mixed up the set list with “Lines on my Face”.
For “Show Me the Way” he brought out his famed talk box, an instrument that modifies his guitar’s notes by adjusting the shape of his mouth. His signature black ’54 custom Gibson Les Paul became a talking signature black ’54 custom Gibson Les Paul.
He rounded out side one with “It’s a Plain Shame” and jumped to “Wind of Change” and the acoustic instrumental “Penny for Your Thoughts”.
Then, inevitably, the love songs; couples held hands during “All I Want to Be (Is By Your Side)” and they knew all the words to “Baby, I Love Your Way”. Once those were out of the way, he set the stage on fire with blazing hot guitar solos throughout “I Wanna Go to the Sun” and “(I’ll Give You) Money”.
The talk box came back for a 16-minute version of “Do You Feel Like We Do?” that got 60 or so concert-goers on the floor, despite the security’s apprehensions. There was no inflatable pig from Pink Floyd’s yard sale, but there was a clip from The Simpsons’ “Homerpalooza” episode.
“At this point back then [...] we’d go back and do drugs,” said Frampton, inciting cheers and laughter. “It’s just prescription drugs now.”
He finished off the album with covers of “Shine On” by Humble Pie (the legendary rock group he founded before going solo) and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” by the Rolling Stones.
Frampton prefaced the second half of the show with the Monty Python line, “And now for something completely different.” He began with “Asleep at the Wheel” and “Restraint” (an anti-greed song about Wall Street’s “pigs”) from 2010’s Thank You Mr. Churchill and added “Float”, “Boot It Up” and “Double Nickels” from his 2006 instrumental album, Fingerprints.
By no means was Frampton done with the covers: he pulled out Humble Pie’s classic rock classic, “Four Day Creep”, and a talk box-heavy rendition of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun”.
Frampton closed the encore with a chillingly beautiful adaptation of the George Harrison-penned Beatles song, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.
The show was like seeing two concerts back-to-back with no intermission—not that the Frampton fans wanted him to take a break. If a 61 year-old can rock out for three hours, you know you’re getting your money’s worth, and then some.
About the Author: Jacob Zinn is a fourth-year journalism student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and a concert reviewer for The Runner. He prefers the hardest of rock and the heaviest of metal, and he is more metal than you. Website | Twitter
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