Peter Frampton Tour Includes New School Band With Old School Love
[09.30.2007] St. Louis, MO
Traveling to a new concert venue in a new town is always a treat -especially when you find a familiar sound tugging on your ear as you are drawn to the doors. I scanned the line that wrapped around the corner; the faces in the crowd are different, but the excitement was a welcome reunion. The doors should open in 5 minutes, but I want to take my time...
Most of the people waiting to get into The Pageant were locals waiting to see Peter Frampton on his current tour across the states. The Pageant, renovated in 2000, is no stranger to big names in entertainment. Backstage the walls are covered to the ceiling with portraits of bands and entertainers -that were either big at the time, or small potatoes just starting out. It's a fitting environment for the show: Peter Frampton headlines with special guest Down The Line.
Anyone who has been to a concert recently knows that the opening act is either a hit or miss. Their goal, to get the crowd primed for the headliner is no easy act. Opening for Peter Frampton? Don't sign me up, that's too much pressure. On Sunday night, Down The Line opened and showed the packed house that pressure was not an issue for them. When Down The Line started, I was standing in the music pit -an area that could easily fit over 100 people, by myself. Before the set was over, I had to zig-zag through the group that was dancing in front of the band. Down The Line rocked the people looking forward to the old school show with a new school sound that's a welcome change to the overproduced pop music we are routinely subjected to. Four part harmonies, acoustic, electric, mandolin, harmonica, djembe and violin -this band has it covered. Playing songs from their recent album "For All You Break" and others, it was the cover song "Everybody wants to rule the world" by Tears for fears, that had the crowd saying "What, what's this band's name? Are they selling CDs?" Now people were awake...and dancing. The band closed by playing "Here I Am"; where band members build up the crowd with a 3 part harmony lyrical and instermental rollercoaster before band member Dan Myers plays an emotional violin solo that closes with broken strings and behind the back playing. An amazing performance by a band that was concluding their 6-show tour with Frampton. They will continue on the road with another oldschool band, America, this Fall on the East coast.
I could talk about the history of Frampton and the "Frampton Comes Alive!" tour, discuss his current CD Fingerprints or tell you if he's better now or if the 70s were his better days -but I won't. You can read the debates online, scan the fan sites and talk music on your own time. If you have never seen Peter Frampton live -go, leave now. Leave this story, leave your desk and go find a show that's playing. I don't have the vocabulary to describe the show outside of saying: it was awesome. I'm a fan of classic rock and Frampton's set did not leave me disappointed. It just so happened that he allowed small digital cameras at the show, but the bouncers let me shoot with my 35mm 1970s camera -why would I mention that? Because shooting with an old camera listening to hits with people that probably saw Frampton in the 70s and shot with the same camera brought a funny smile to my face. When it was time for the end of the set I knew he had to play my favorite song -you know the one...You need a "talk box" to make it sounds just right, and Peter knows how to make it sound right. "Do You Feel Like We Do?" was just as amazing live as the 1971 recording -and a perfect way close out a great show. The lights go down and the crowd cheers, in love with the music and the man that took time mid-song to sign a vinyl album cover a fan was parading around. The show is over; well that is, until the encore...
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