He's back and in fine form. Over the weekend I finally got to see Peter Frampton in an outstanding show that had the crowd begging for more. Everyone was on their feet and thousands braved a cold night to hear this legend. Yes our very own Peter Frampton of long hair and teen idol mismanagement. Exploited, over sold and over played. Well behind the colossal image and the ridiculous corporate marketing lies an incredibly gifted player, writer and singer. The man is a triple threat and no one was having more fun than him on stage. With a ridiculous back catalogue from the Herd, Humble Pie and his own thirty year career there is a lot to sift through. I am by no means a fanatic. I have no clue when picking through his immense catalogue but these three discs have worked for me.
First off let’s get the "best of" out of the way. I went with the red album cover "Greatest Hits" off of the A&M label. Well they must have had a fan pick these hits because it cuts right to the heart of his library with 14 great songs from the 70's. They are all there and in pretty good order. Next was a surprise for me. The 1994 "Peter Frampton" studio album; you haven't heard any of these songs except for maybe "off the hook". This disc just flat out rocks and surprised the daylights out of me. I mean I was really blown away. This album is instantly accessible and just right on the money. I guess it took poor Peter until 1994 to get free and clear of all the image and b.s. to finally make a studio album worth a damn. It is really that good and just when you are craving for an old familiar song there are four acoustic bonus tracks. After the blistering guitar work and award winning pop sensibility as well as thoughtful lyrics these acoustic tracks are a perfect topper. Total number of songs is sixteen. The disc runs seventy four minutes (I'm recalling).
So what's a fan to do - well we have to check out the new stuff. In 2003 Peter released "Now". This CD is worth it just for the outstanding version of ”While My Guitar Gently Weeps” which clocks in at 6:59. He did his old mate George proud. But the rest of the album is rock solid. I'm a little put off by the first track but by the time you are into the third cut you have that real good Frampton vibe, melody, lyrical, riffing tunes not too jarring but plenty of power and dexterity to make any gear head, scale hungry, chop running freak pay proper respects. This is a really good listen and after it rotates through your cd player for a couple of tunes you'll be rocking out with anthem like "I Need Ground", grinning at "I'm Back" and thinking of classic Jeff Beck during "Greens."
I will be purchasing his new "Fingerprints" just because I'm happy to see Peter back. Our musical landscape needs him. Thank you Peter from the bottom of my heart and by all means "Welcome Back" - what a great show, and night. We had a blast but I think Peter had more fun than us and wasn't that great to see? Can't wait for the next show!
Partial set list from memory 10/13/06 - Norfolk, Virginia:
Off The Hook
Signed, Sealed, Delivered (contractually appropriate)
Show Me The Way
All I Want To Be (Is By Your Side)
New Songs from Finger Prints**
Boot It Up
Black Hole Sun
I Want To Go To The Sun
Baby I Love Your Way
Do You Feel Like We Do
I Don't Need No Doctor (Classic 60's Rocker - Humble Pie Days)
While My Guitar Gently Weeps (great piano break out)
He didn't look like a man going through the motions - oh well here are my hits - no way – he was totally invigorated and embracing his hits, past, voice box and totally at peace with the whole shebang. It was fun to see that and be there. Way to go Peter some artists never get over themselves.