After his February announcement that he will be retiring from touring due in part to his inclusion body myositis diagnosis, Peter Frampton made one last stop in DFW on Sunday night at The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory.
Kicking off the night was Led Zeppelin Evening, who ran through Zeppelin’s classic songs much to the delight of the audience — made up of parents and their grown-up kids — that packed the grounds in Irving and used their phone flashlights for the knockout finale performance of “Stairway to Heaven.”
The son of legendary Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, Jason Bonham led the remarkable tribute band from the elevated drum kit with singer James Dylan delivering pitch-perfect Robert Plant vocals and guitarist Jimmy Sakurai absolutely shredding Jimmy Page’s classic riffs, even bearing an eerie resemblance to Page with his stoic face and long curly hair.
In a prerecorded message played before the set, Frampton gave the audience permission to take as many photos and videos as they wanted in the first three songs but asked that they refrain from cellphone use after, assuring them he had “already called your babysitter to let them know that you will be late this evening” — a friendly message to remind folks to live in the moment and enjoy his last night in the area.
Opening with a slideshow of his history as a guitarist, from boyhood through his career with Humble Pie and The Herd and on through his solo career playing with the likes of David Bowie and Keith Urban.
When Frampton took the stage, the audience stood from the front row to the back of the lawn.
Opening with “Something’s Happening," the opening track from the classic live album Frampton Comes Alive!, Frampton showed immediately that his dexterity as a guitar virtuoso was still intact, playing two solos with flawless precision.
As Frampton moved into his next song, “Lying,” the audience took their seats to take in the spectacular show that had been designed for them.
In a brief pause before the third song, Frampton took some time to tell the audience how much he loved playing in Texas, and when a fan shouted “I love you, Peter,” Frampton smiled and said how much he loves all of us too.
He went on to tell the tale of drummer John Siomos and the green drum kit he was playing, which had been lost for 30 years before he found it on eBay, along with the guitar Frampton was holding — both featured in the artwork of the Frampton Comes Alive! cover.
Things slowed down for “Lines on My Face,” which was accompanied by a slideshow of pictures of Siomos, who co-wrote and performed "Doobie Wah" and the hit "Do You Feel Like We Do” and died in 2004 at the age of 56.
The audience rose to their feet again for the hit song “Show Me the Way” and the signature sound of Frampton scatting through his guitar that defined the 1975 single, taking over the chorus parts for Frampton along with the rest of the band.
While taking a sip from his coffee mug, Frampton told a story of his girlfriend and a trip to Cyprus, before playing the slow rocker “Fig Tree Bay.”
A longtime friend of Steve Miller, Frampton introduced the next part of his set, telling the audience that after touring with Miller for 71 shows, they decided to cut the blues record All Blues in just 10 days — an album that has been topping the blues charts for 11 weeks.
Frampton played a few blues songs — “Georgia on My Mind” as played by Hoagy Carmichael, “Me and My Guitar” and “Same Old Blues” — before returning to his own material with “Breaking All the Rules.”
Then it was story time again. This time a promotion of his instrumental album Fingerprints, Frampton explained that he had gone to Seattle, gotten together with The Shadows, and called Rolling Stones members Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts to record Chris Cornell’s “Black Hole Sun,” knowing he would never be able to sing it.
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Delivered with a face-melting, acid rock bravado and concluding with lyrics sung in the robotic voice from Frampton’s classic hits, the Grammy-nominated song was dedicated to Cornell’s memory, his wife, his children and his legacy, as Frampton saluted his image in the song’s close.
Closing the set with the three-top tracks from Frampton Comes Alive! — “(I’ll Give You) Money,” “Baby I Love Your Way” and “Do You Feel Like We Do” — Frampton gave fans what they came to see, and in an encore featuring songs by Ida Cox, Ray Charles and The Beatles, he showed the remaining fans where he got his inspiration.
Through a night of songs of his past and present, Frampton ultimately secured his place in the future of music. with fans young and old.