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Palladium concert reveals that Peter Frampton still has it

Peter Frampton
Peter Frampton© 2014 Mark Sheldon

Peter Frampton

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The angelic curls that once framed the younger Peter Frampton’s fresh face are gone but the 64-year old British rock singer, guitarist, songwriter and producer demonstrated that his legendary guitar chops are still intact, during his debut concert, Sunday, at the Palladium in Carmel, Ind.

After opening with “Had To Be There,” followed by “Doobie Wah,” Frampton made a few remarks to the audience. He joked that he had been informed about the proper pronunciation of Carmel (it’s Car mul as opposed to Car mel, the city in Calif.) as he welcomed the crowd to London’s Royal Albert Hall (a reference to the Palladium’s classic architecture).

Frampton went on to say that he is frequently asked in interviews about whether he tires of singing the songs he is most famous for and he said, “Absolutely not. There are three reasons. Number one, I wrote them. Number two, they sound different each time I play them with this incredible band and number three, I enjoy watching you listen when I play them.” Considering that his audience was made up predominantly of Baby boomers, it was no surprise that his comments brought forth a huge cheer from obvious fans that idolized him when he was at his peak in the late ‘70s during their youth. Producing further nostalgia for the greying crowd were such images as psychedelic and kaleidoscopic patterns, birds in flight and photos of Frampton as a young pop idol, all of which were projected on a large screen behind and above the band.

The Grammy winner who is regarded as one of the most celebrated artists and guitarists in rock history did not disappoint. Encouraging the audience to sing along, Frampton sang his iconic hits “Show Me the Way” and “Do You Feel Like We Do,” employing a talk box, an effects mechanism he has become synonymous with, and “Baby I Love Your Way.”

Other songs performed during Frampton’s two hour set sans intermission included “Lines on My Face,” “Boot It Up,” “Go to the Sun,” “I’ll Give You Money” and others, including “Black Hole Sun,” written by Chris Cornell for the American grunge rock band, Soundgarden.

“Heart to My Chest” was a newer soft rock song which Frampton also performed. It is from his most recent album, “Hummingbird in the Box,” inspired by the Cincinnati Ballet (he’s lived in Cinci for over ten years). The renowned dance company featured choreography set to Frampton’s music in its spring concert in April 2013.

Though, as previously mentioned, Frampton has not lost one iota of his musicality and vitality, his exceptional band contributed immensely to ensuring that the concert was much more than a mere trip down memory lane. Members included Adam Lester on guitar, Stanley Sheldon (who has played with Frampton from the beginning) on bass, Rob Arthur, keys, vocals and guitar and Dan Wojchiechowski on drums. Some of the concert’s most memorable moments occurred when Frampton and Lester demonstrated their virtuosity as guitarists during intense duets. Also mesmerizing were solos by Arthur and Wojchieschowski, both of whom gave electrifying performances.

During the concert, smartphones could be seen in use by audience member throughout the hall, so it came as a surprise that after “Day in the Sun” was performed during an encore, Frampton grabbed one from an audience member seated in the first row. After throwing the offending object up into the chorus section behind the stage, he and the band immediately launched into “I Don’t Need No Doctor,” which closed the concert. Unaware of exactly why the good-natured Frampton, a serious artist, took this extreme measure, this writer is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that his action was probably justified.

For tickets and information about the Center for the Performing Arts 2014-2015 season call (217) 843-3800 or visit thecenterfortheperformingart.org

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