This weekend was bittersweet for hubby and I. We attended one of Peter Frampton's final live performances.
For those that don't know, Frampton, 69, is suffering from a rare muscular disease called Inclusion-Body Myositis. He did an interview with Rolling Stone earlier this year in which he said that he initially saw symptoms about 5 years ago but he just attributed to the 'aches and pains of getting older.' But 4 years ago, his arm and leg muscles were getting weaker and after a fall on stage he finally decided to see a doctor who made the diagnosis.
He waited years to go public about it, but close friends and family knew that the disease has no known cure, and over time, will make it more difficult and even impossible for him to play the guitar, the thing he loves to do the most. (And if you know anything about Frampton, you know what an amazing guitar player he is.)
He finally went public announcing a 'Farewell' tour earlier this year, saying that:
"In a year's time, I might not be able to play. Right now, it's progressing, but I'm still at the top of my game. We decided to do a farwell tour now since I don't want to go out and not be able to play well. If I'm going to do a farewell tour, I want to rock it. I want to go out screaming."
He's also furiously recording while he can, so we can expect new Frampton music for years to come. He also hasn't discounted performing live again, he's currently participating in experimental drug research to help delay the progression of the disease and if it's successful, we may see him grace the stage again.
But for now, he's been astonishing audiences with his performances, and I can attest to that. Frampton's music was one of the first connections between hubby and I when we first met. We both loved him, but hubby introduced me to more of his early work, and Humble Pie, since I was mostly familiar with Frampton Comes Alive. My husband and I have seen him 13 times over the last 15 years and we've met him twice. We have loved every, single performance. Old music, new music, covers, he never disappoints. So many people counted Frampton out, but since a comeback in 2000 with a Live in Detroit album, he's been reminding people that he was never gone, they just weren't paying attention!
Last August, hubby and I went to see him at The Greek Theater, and this weekend, we went to Pechanga Casino in Temecula. We have seen Frampton there 3 times over the years and it's a great venue. But we haven't been out there since the addition of a new tower and resort area. Pechanga comped a room for my husband and I (I guess they remembered just how much I like to gamble!) and we were placed in the new 'resort' tower....which is absolutely incredible. The architecture of the entire casino is phenomenal. When you walk in, you feel like you've walked into any grand casino in Las Vegas. There is so much to do there, so many bars, places to eat, a comedy club and of course, gambling, the amount of slots is just astonishing and it seems to never end. I was particularly thankful for the Double Sevens $1 machine this visit.
This time Frampton was playing in The Summit, a new event and concert arena on the resort side. It's an intimate venue, about 1,100 seats, which we love, but this guy can sell out huge arenas as well. This time he was touring with Jason Bonham and his Led Zepplin experience. I've never seen them so I had no idea what to expect.
At 7:30pm, a young man took the stage, I didn't recognize him at first but then Frampton came out and introduced him as Julian Frampton, his son. Turns out his son's band would be starting the show and it was clearly obvious that Frampton was one proud father.
Julian Frampton and his band played 5 songs, and they were really good. I felt like he has been really influenced by bands like Soundgarden and Foo Fighters. Really a great start to the night.
Then Jason Bohnam and his band took the stage and I was pleasantly surprised at how they sounded, my husband called every song they were going to sing in order, and they played for about 40 minutes.
At 9pm, a video began playing, showing slides of Frampton over the years from his childhood, to Humble Pie, playing with George Harrison, Ringo Starr, David Bowie, Frampton Comes Alive concert shots and finally shots of him in the last 20 years.
Frampton took the stage and from the first note, killed it, opening with 'Somethin's Happening', the opening track of Frampton Comes Alive! From then on it was a journey through his entire career, with some wonderful surprises, covers, new tracks from his new blues album, old favorites and stories of how some of the songs were written. He also paid homage to friends he has lost, most notably his longtime keyboard player Bob Mayo and his close friends, George Harrison and Chris Cornell, lead singer of Soundgarden. To honor Chris, he played his incredible, instrumental version of 'Black Hole Sun', which he dedicated to Chris' wife and children, and gives me goose bumps every single time I hear it....at the end, he displayed a photo of Chris on the video screen.
Just after 11pm he 'finished' the show with "Baby I Love Your Way' then 'Do You Feel Like We Do' which had everyone, if they weren't already, on their feet.
Coming back for an encore, he played another favorite of mine, 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps,' it seemed very fitting for the farewell.
It's clear Frampton still has it, he is an incredible guitar player and every moment of this concert was meant to remind us of that.
After the finale song, after a long standing ovation, Frampton took to the mic to thank his fans for their love and support over the years. At one point, he got choked up, (as did I and hubby) saying that if the love and support from his fans can do anything, it will help to heal him.
Frampton alone played for 2 1/2 hours, an incredible final performance that I will remember for my entire life. As heartbreaking as it is to see him stop performing, I thank him immensely for all of the years of wonderful concerts and even more, for the music legacy that he leaves behind not only for the world, but for hubby and I, because that connection through is music is what brought us together, and that's something that there's not enough 'thank yous' in the world for.
If you are lucky enough to see him before he goes, please do it, you will not regret it. He's got a concert Oct. 5th at the Forum, and while I'd love to go, hubby and I wanted our final concert of his to be at one of our favorite, more intimate venues....Pechanga.