Friday, August 28, 2009

Frampton Came Alive

I used one of my many showbiz connections to score some free tickets to see Peter Frampton last night. The seats were tremendous: 10th row, center section, on the aisle. The place was packed... but since it was packed with a lot of middle-aged folks with weak bladders and growing prostates, the aisle seat may not have been the best seat after all. Folks on the aisle stood up quite frequently to let the other concert goers head to the bathroom.

Like millions of other Americans, I was a huge fan of Frampton back in the '70's but, until last night, I had never seen him perform. I heard him perform once. A few years ago, he headlined a free 4th of July concert close to where we live but it was so crowded we couldn't get near the stage. It's difficult to enjoy live music when you're sitting on a lawn chair, surrounded by goose poop and you can't see the performers. Turned out to be a perfect view for fireworks, however.

When I told folks I was going to see Frampton they immediately started with the insults. "Will he have that "wah wah wah wah wah thingie?" "You know, he's bald now." "Does he use a walker?" Yes. Who cares? Seriously?

Why do people feel the need to mock Peter Frampton? Are they still so jealous of his former golden locks and shirtless Rolling Stones' covers that they willingly ignore his superb musicianship three decades later?

Hubby and I were both truly blown away by his performance. Frampton is a phenomenal guitar player and completely underrated as a composer. At age 11, I was too pop-centric to notice the jazz and blues influence in his music. At age 44, I am thoroughly impressed.

Anybody who thinks Frampton is an oldies act is sadly mistaken. Yes, he plays his hits-- with a hint of self-deprecation-- but the show isn't just about the past. It's about where he is now and where he is heading in the future. It's about his obvious love of music.

Frampton's agency, William Morris, needs to do a better job of selling him to a new generation. There's no reason Carlos Santana is held up as an icon while Peter Frampton is the butt of jokes. One strategic placement on a soundtrack, careful pairing with a "hot young musician" or performance on a high profile awards show can put all the "wah wah wah wah wah thingie" talk to rest.

It was a live performance album which originally rocketed him to stardom. Perhaps it will be his current live performances which gain him the respect he so richly deserves.

1 comment:

Qaro said...

Really great post on Peter Frampton!