The rock guitarist brought his virtuosic talents to 20 Monroe Live on Sunday night, closing out a week that also featured dynamic shows in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, plus Starkbierfest in Cedar Springs.
SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTO GALLERIES FROM A FULL WEEK OF CONCERTS
On Sunday night, Peter Frampton brought his “Raw: An Acoustic Tour” to Grand Rapids’ 20 Monroe Live with unplugged versions of many of his biggest hits, along with deeper cuts from his repertoire.
Grand Rapids music devotee, musician and BarFly Ventures owner Mark Sellers was there for this special, sold-out seated show and filed this guest review for Local Spins.
Peter Frampton is universally regarded as one of rock music’s “guitar gods.” A childhood (and lifelong) friend of David Bowie, the London schoolmates saw their careers take dramatically different paths after high school. While Bowie’s career continued on an ever-upward trajectory, gaining him almost unanimous respect from fans and critics alike, Frampton had a roller-coaster ride from obscurity, to mild fame with Humble Pie, to the highest peak of rock ‘n’ roll. (For years, his “Frampton Comes Alive” album was the highest-selling live album of all time). It’s fascinating, then, to see how a musician who once rubbed elbows with The Beatles, Bowie, and other mega-stars, has completely reinvented himself.
Of course, Sunday’s show boasted the hits: “Baby I Love Your Way,” “Show Me The Way,” “I’m In You,” and the classic rock anthem (almost residing in the “Freebird” category), “Do You Feel Like We Do” (sans Bob Mayo). He played all of these songs acoustically, sometimes solo but often with his current songwriting partner Gordon Kennedy, using rich chord voicings laced with talented guitar solos, utilizing different acoustic guitars with different sounds seemingly on every song. (He has an amazing collection of acoustic guitars and it was fun to see them all.)
Frampton told stories between each song, giving each of the evening’s selections new life and meaning. There were stories about playing with Ringo Starr, George Harrison, a funny Paul McCartney story, a Jerry Reed story, and many others. They were laced with self-deprecating humor and the perspective of someone who has seen it all and been there, done that. There were also lots of laughs. This was a story-telling session as much as a concert.
Even more obscure and newer songs — “Hummingbird in a Box,” “Wind of Change,” and a version of Humble Pie’s “Take Me Back,” — were rich with jazz chord voicings and incredible acoustic guitar solos.
This was not the Peter Frampton who appeared shirtless with long golden locks on magazine covers in the late 1970s and went from pin-up star to obscurity. This was a mature, introspective (and almost hairless) 66-year old adult playing songs with depth and telling stories that drew in the audience. This was a real human being sitting in front of us, someone we could relate to.
Rather than becoming a cartoon version of himself, reliving his “glory days” on stage as many aging rock stars do (think of the numerous Eagles “reunion tours”), Frampton now plays his old and new songs acoustically, giving them more dimension and depth than the guitar-fueled versions that fans know so well.
It was really nice to see a real, humble, introspective adult on stage, rather than a Spinal Tap version of himself. – Mark Sellers
PHOTO GALLERY: Peter Frampton at 20 Monroe Live (April 2, 2017)
Photos by Jamie Geysbeek
Sunday’s night Peter Frampton show closed out a busy week of live — sometimes raucous — music in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo (which kicked off the week with what amounts to a holiday, Oberon Day, at Bell’s Brewery). Check out the Local Spins images here.
PHOTO GALLERY: Oberon Day at Bell’s Brewery (March 27)
Who Hit John?, Guitar Up photos by Derek Ketchum
Photos by Kendra Kamp