When you look up Peter Frampton's name, four words come up: "teen idol" and "guitar god."
Today only a very strange teenager would have a poster of the now balding, 64-year-old Frampton on their wall. That is, unless the kid was a student of the guitar. Then it would make perfect sense.
Last night in his two hour set at Hard Rock Live, Frampton showed that while the dreamy hair might be long gone, he still knows his way up and down the neck of a guitar.
See also: Ten Guys Who Make Their Guitars Talk
On the 57th and final night of this year's tour and clad in a blue T-shirt and jeans, the Brit entertained the crowd with a retrospective of his past 40 plus years of music. He explored sounds from his days with Humble Pie to the massive Frampton Comes Alive hits to lesser known new songs. He also managed to throw some old jokes including, "I suppose it's time to introduce the band," followed by handshakes between the five band members and groans from the audience.
He teased latecomers, "We should let the people who just walked in know that we already played all the big hits."
About performing those songs, he said, "I love playing them, because I see the smiles on your faces. There's a catch for hearing me play the hits, it's you have to hear something brand new." Applause and cheers from the crowd followed by a dry, "You lie."
Beyond the tired Vaudeville routine though was a master of his chosen instrument. He was supported by a tight backing band which included his bassist of four decades, Stanley Sheldon.
Between songs Frampton recounted stories of glory days, including how he wrote two of his biggest hits on the same day in "Show Me the Way" and "Baby I Love Your Way." There were no stories about the talk box, the effects unit that allows Frampton's voice to talk through his guitar. But it was a fan favorite in three songs -- the opening licks of "Show Me The Way," the chorus of the otherwise all instrumental cover of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun," and most especially during the main finale, "Do You Feel Like We Do."
That song has long repped the excesses of 1970s arena rock. But last night, the track redefined the meaning excess. He stretched the song --- which on Frampton Comes Alive is already fourteen minutes long -- to last nearly half an hour. During that time, he included an actual introduction of the band, a dedication to fallen bandmates, shook a tambourine until his arm grew sore, and then walked to the center mic with the talk box and made the strings sing.
The talk box is gimmicky, but after seeing Frampton manipulate it live, you can't help but feel it's one that should be used more. Even today's teenagers would be impressed by it, it's that good.
You Had To Be There
It's a Plain Shame
Lines on My Face
Heart to my Chest
Show Me the Way
(I'll Give You) Money
Black Hole Sun
Baby I Love Your Way
Do You Feel like We Do
Day in the Sun
Four Day Creep
I'm in You