All that was missing was acid, black light posters and hair …
Has there been anyone in the history of music that is identified with one album and a live one at that? Every artist who falls under the legend umbrella has at the very least, three albums and ten hit songs. Sure there are one hit wonders but Peter Frampton doesn’t even fall into that category.
Yes, yes – serious Rock guys will say that Frampton was part of Humble Pie and they were a great band and Frampton’s guitar playing was a huge part of it. Yet, ask the same Rock guys what is your favorite memory of Frampton and they will say; Do You Feel Like We Do from the album Frampton Comes Alive. Baseball, Apple Pie and Frampton Comes Alive. Staples of North American culture.
Frampton is on a ‘Farewell Tour’ due to his diagnosis of Degenerative Muscle Disease and he performed as part of The Montreal International Jazz Festival on Friday evening. For the most part – the audience consisted of people who have not been to a show since Frampton Comes Alive was released. Peter Frampton is from the past and these type of artists tend to draw their own kin. Call it a musical ‘sleep with your cousin’ kinda thing.
As the show commenced, none aside from Peter Frampton’s family and band knew what to expect. Was the music going to be like the live record? Can Peter play guitar as well as he used to? Will Place des Arts suit the Rock n Roll Frampton and his band play? The answers came quick. Yes, yes and mais oui !
Baby (Somethin’s Happening) started the show and it was akin to a blind date. The first two minutes are crucial (three songs?) to obtaining enough knowledge to decide whether it will be a late night or a sudden fake phone call will equate to a quick exit. By the time the night entered into song two ( Signed, Sealed, Delivered – Stevie Wonder), a feeling of ‘maybe I will get to third base’ enveloped the crowd. Lines On my Face then proved that Frampton’s guitar skills remain intact and from that point, the stage was set for song number one from Frampton Comes Alive.
Seventy-five percent of the audience jolted upright as if someone placed an electric wire under their seats. Show Me the Way returned everyone to the days of Pop Rocks and North Star running shoes. Frampton and the band eerily reproduced the song as it was recorded on the famous disc. Peter’s vocals that of a young man with no sign of rust. It was as if Frampton’s vocal chords still had hair. Just like that – the night was signed, sealed and delivered to the hearts of the mostly aged punters. Anything following the song Show Me the Way, destined to be accepted as gold.
Following a couple of covers ( Hogey Carmichael’s Georgia and Freddie King’s Me and My Guitar), Frampton derricked the past once again with two Blues’ covers from his new album “All Blues’. Peter Frampton loves playing guitar and music. These passions glared at the audience from the time Peter started playing leads on the Blues’ tunes. His passion grew as the night went on and remained that way via his autobiographical chatter and his vibrancy on stage.
The energy, reached the stratosphere when Frampton paid homage to one of his pals; the late Chris Cornell of Soundgarden. Black Hole Sun allowed not only Frampton but the entire band to shed whatever inhibitions remained within and they started jammin’ as if they were in sound-check. In other words – they danced as if none were watching.
(I’ll Give You) Money and Baby (Somethin’s Happening) set the table for the night’s most anticipated meal.
Do You Feel Like We Do relieved the audience of it’s pain. Most – coming to Place des Arts and forking out big dough to hear Frampton’s most famous export ‘come alive’. The music was the same, the vocals were the same but Mr. Frampton had some fun with the voice box segment of the song. Altering the record words and intertwining them with the real live album lyrics. Laughing at times along with the audience, the iconic singer and song in 2019 have both become a festive Monet live. A celebration of not only Frampton’s legacy but the legacy of the 1970s. Arguably the best decade for arena Rock n Roll. Not arguably, the best decade for Peter Frampton.
On July 5th 2019 at Place des Arts during the Montreal Jazz Festival, three things were missing. Guitar playing, vocals and happiness were not any of them.