“If there was ever a musician who was an honorary member of San Francisco society, Mr. Peter Frampton!”
What better way to start a show that celebrated the 35th anniversary of Frampton Comes Alive! than with a recording of the introduction by Jerry Pompili that kicked off the1976 concert recorded for the historic live double album.
For the next one-and-three-quarter hours, Peter Frampton and his band (bassist Stan Shelton, guitarist Adam Lester, drummer Dan Wojciechowski and keyboardist/guitarist Rob Arthur) took the audience at the Murat Theatre at Old National Centre. back in time as they performed the 14 songs that made up the set list of Frampton Comes Alive!, or as Frampton referred to the album throughout the show, Me Comes Alive!
After the opening number “Something’s Happening” Frampton pointed out that the guitar he was playing, a 1954 Les Paul Custom, had been “missing” for nearly 32 years; believed to have been lost in an airplane crash in 1980, the guitar (which was featured on the cover of the Frampton Comes Alive album) was recently returned to Frampton, who played his treasured axe numerous times during the show. Like the priceless guitar he played, the years didn’t seem to have hampered Frampton’s guitar wizardry one bit.
The songs from Frampton Comes Alive! drew the biggest responses of the evening, highlighted by Frampton trading riffs with Arthur’s keyboard playing on “Do You Feel Like We Do."
The second half of the concert featured songs from Frampton’s other albums, both as a solo artist and as a member of Humble Pie. While the songs from his Grammy Award-winning instrumental album Fingerprints and “Thank You Mr. Churchill” may not have garnered the high-decibel response from the audience as the hits from earlier in the show, Frampton and the band played them with the same level of energy and enthusiasm.
Throughout the show, whenever there were lyrical references to his hair, Frampton would grimace and some of the men in the audience would feel his “pain” and laugh. Frampton noted that many of the people in the audience “probably weren’t around when the vinyl version of this record (Alive) came out.”
Among those in the crowd who fit that description was my 16-year-old nephew Jordan whose one-word “review” of the show seemed to sum up many of the comments we heard as we left the concert hall at the end of the two-hour and forty-five minute show: “Awesome!”