If you can stand another round of Peter Frampton’s “Do You Feel Like We Do”, complete with talk box guitar – and as offered here with a superlative keyboard solo – and if “Show Me The Way” and “Baby I Love Your Way” are nostalgic musical milestones in your life, then this 1999 concert video, Frampton – Live In Detroit, is a persistent reminder that classic rock will never die. Commercial radio still parties like it’s 1977, and the chances of turning on the radio right now and hearing any of Frampton’s ’70s hit singles are very, very good.
It’s unfortunate that only a slice of Frampton’s fan base is aware of his total body of music as opposed to his hit singles. This concert reminds me of just how good some of his lesser known songs are. “Lines On My Face” from 1973’s Frampton’s Camel, and turned into a classic live track on 1977’s Frampton Comes Alive! is still a heart stinging testament of youth leaving a reckless dusty trail behind in the wake of emerging adulthood. Here, as on Comes Alive!, the song bleeds in emotion as Frampton’s guitar gently and ferociously weeps.
“You Had To Be There”, a new song, also recalls the nostalgic past. It’s an adrenalin charged rocker that recalls a time when rock and roll was high on peace and love. It’s bittersweet lyrics lament a “We Are The Champions” vibe for the aging and wizened hipsters among us.
The weight of this show remains, however, Frampton Comes Alive! territory, that seminal 1977 album that taught record label executives that a slickly produced live album by a cult status guitarist could sell upwards of six million copies. “Show Me The Way” is still a sweet song with a heart-achiness that has matured into a longing whimsey. “Baby I Love Your Way”, with audience sing-a-long, sounds as heart warming and romantic as thumbing through your old high school yearbook. It sounds almost a bit Nashville countrified with Frampton’s gentle strumming of his acoustic guitar complimenting Bob Mayo’s sparkling keyboards.
The Frampton standard, “Do You Feel Like We Do” is still an extravagance, but with the added pleasure of Bob Mayo’s solo interlude, which gives the familiar song considerable polish and backbone. “Can’t Take That Away”, again a nostalgic nod to surviving rock ‘n roll, from 1993’s Frampton boasts Frampton’s considerable blues guitar talent.
His voice is strong and rich and his playing impeccable. It’s reassuring to see a rock ‘n roll graduate like Frampton not succumbing to the lifestyle of drugs and booze. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, and with just a bit of grandstanding (hand cupped to ear, “How ya feeling tonight?”) he rouses the crowd like a circus master.
Bonus features include a Frampton interview in which much discussion concerns his mastering of the talk box. The concert is shot in High Definition TV Format with 5.1 surround sound.
Photo credit: amazon.com