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Concert Reviews:
Peter Frampton says farewell with sentimental, rocking show at Pine Kn..., er, DTE

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

Posted: Friday, July 26, 2019

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- Health issues may be forcing Peter Frampton off the road after more than five decades, but the Farwell bash he threw Thursday night, July 25, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre was no pity party.

Instead the veteran rocker and 70s pop icon celebrated an abundance of career high points, reminded the vintage-aged crowd -- as if it needed to be -- of his myriad, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-worthy achievements as well as his abilities as an upper-echelon guitarist, even if the degenerative Inclusion Body Myositis is slowly atrophying his muscles. And if that wasn't public news nobody would have known anything was wrong, as Frampton and his four-piece band tore through a 16-song, two-hour-plus set filled with memories both musical and verbal.

Frampton certainly delved into sentiment throughout the show, but not of the cheap or cloying kind. He only acknowledged his health issues at the start of the encore, telling the fans that "I feel your love" and predicting that "you will heal me!" He did tell a few choice stories, dedicating "Lines of My Face" to late former bandmates Bob Mayo and John Siomos with some nice anecdotes, remembering the late Chris Cornell before his instrumental rendition of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" and recalling a lost week in the Bahamas with Ten Years After's Alvin Lee that preceded the writing of his hits "Show Me the Way" and "Baby, I Love Your Way."

The black-clad Frampton, whose long blonde tresses have been gone for a long time now, included some local touches as well. He slipped "Lying" into the set because it was on his 2000 album "Live in Detroit" and made several references to DTE as Pine Knob -- at one point putting on an "oops" act and asking, "They haven't shut the power on us yet? They are the power company." He even finished the show with a video screen message referring to the venue by its old name.

But the biggest thrills came in the playing. Following an opening set of iconic material by Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Evening -- wrapping with a soaring "Stairway to Heaven" -- Frampton and company trooped onstage with a historical photo montage rolling on the screen, culminating with a video introduction from Frampton's late childhood pal David Bowie. By the end of the first chorus of "Baby (Somethin's Happening)" he delivered the first of what would be many sharp, hot guitar solos, with a smile on his face that indicated there was no place Frampton would rather be than on stage with some sort of Gibson guitar in his hands.

There were deep-catalog treats such as "Fig Tree Bay," the first track from his first solo album, "Wind of Change," in 1972, and the 1981 rocker "Breaking All the Rules." This year's chart-topping "All Blues" album got an airing with a show-stopping instrumental version of "Georgia (On My Mind)" and a pair of Freddie King numbers, "Me and My Guitar" and "Same Old Blues." And Frampton saluted his days in Humble Pie, accompanied by more historic photos, with an encore pairing of the group's granitite arrangements of Ida Cox's "Four Day Creep" and Ray Charles' "I Don't Need No Doctor."

And then there were the epics. Frampton and guitarist Adam Lester traded licks during a gleefully sludgy, extended version of "I'll Give You Money," while "Do You Feel Like We Do" was stretched to more than 18 minutes (longer than on "Frampton Comes Alive," even) with some generous solo time for keyboardist Rob Arthur and, of course, Frampton's trademark Talk Box sequence.

The show wrapped up with the Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," a nod to yet another of Frampton's heroes. As he lingered on stage before leaving, perhaps for the final time in this area, Frampton told the crowd that, "I can't say goodbye." Regardless, his performance on Thursday left the DTE crowd with an indelible memory of one of music's finest and most resilient figures.

Web Site: www.313Presents.com

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