For a man about to be 62 years old, Peter Frampton still gives one hell of a show. He may look his age…but still sounds as great today, as he did in the 1970’s. In the intimate confines of the Peabody Opera House (downtown St. Louis, Missouri) – all 3,100 seats were full, & you could feel the electricity from the crowd beginning to resonate. Young & old alike came to see THE GREAT MASTER perform one of the most iconic albums ever recorded. Frampton gave a solid three hour performance of “Frampton Comes Alive”, in its entirety…without the aid of an intermission or distractions from guest rivals.
“5 Minutes” to stage time was announced, & everyone was set as the house lights went down. The LED screen showing clips of past tours went black & a ‘low rumble’ could be felt. Whether it was from the stage, or the crowd, a vibrating anticipation was surely present. Spotlights started projecting walls of illumination, alternating from floor to ceiling, as the entire venue seemed to shift forward in their seats. Banks of colored lights flooded the stage, as the band took their places. Last out the door was the man himself…Peter Frampton.
Without a word to the crowd, they broke in to the opening number “Something’s Happening”. For those who were there in the 70’s, to hear him in his prime, tonight was like stepping back into a vault. Some artists try hold onto their careers long after they have anything to offer, but Frampton’s still giving HIS ALL unequivocally. As track one came to a close & spectators danced in the balcony, he gave a big two-handed wave & famous rock star “Thank you! Good night!”, & turned to walk off stage…only to crack up & return to the mic moments later. He thanked everyone for coming & said, “I’ve been working real hard this tour…to search within & try to be who I was – a serious musician.” Then he cracked up laughing once again, & it was obvious he is out to have fun & give fans a jolt of humor along with an expressive show.
The guitar tech came out, handing him his next selection, & Peter turned to face the crowd with something they haven’t seen in 30 years – the 1954 black & gold ‘Les Paul’ Gibson that was used to record the original album. He told a story…of how it was lost in a plane crash during 1978…& in his despair, he thought it had been destroyed. Someone had pulled it from that wreckage & held onto it for almost THREE DECADES. When a guitar repairman (in Curacao) was asked if he could fix the instrument only a few years back, he noticed the third set of pickups at the neck of the guitar…& became suspicious. A few calls & pictures were sent, it was verified as being the star guitar in the Peter Frampton line-up, & the Gibson was mended back into shape. It is now back in the #1 SLOT on this tour.
With his old friend in-hand, the drummer broke the cadence, & the diehards were on their feet again singing along to “Doobie Wah”. Hit after hit kept rolling out as the night progressed – “All I Wanna Be (Is By Your Side)”, “Shine On”, “Do You Feel Like We Do”, & many more. Surprisingly, they even covered “Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden. As the night grew to a close, there was no better way to end the show than with The Beatles “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.
St. Louis has been experiencing unseasonably warm evenings lately…but tonight, Frampton brought his own kind of HEAT WAVE. If you get a chance to catch this show on tour, make sure to pack something to cool yourself – you won’t be disappointed.