CHEAP TRICK & PETER FRAMPTON
The Greek Theatre
Los Angeles, California
June 12, 2015
Writing and Photography by TourBusLive.com
If you can survive the stacked parking, the strict curfew, and the sometimes incessantly chatty (or downright drunk) people in the seats around you, the Greek Theatre is a great place to spend a summer night. And, if you can get to the Greek when there is an incredible line-up, even better. But when there are back-to-back headliners, you are in for one hell of a show! And on this night of the KLOS SUMMER CONCERT SERIES at The Greek, we hit the jackpot – CHEAP TRICK and PETER FRAMPTON on one bill – a truly EPIC two-fer!
After a quick intro from KLOS DJ FRANKIE DIVITA, the evening’s opener – CHEAP TRICK – kicked off the show. For those of us who were raised on the radio, the second that Cheap Trick hits the stage, we are reminded that fictional ticket scalper Mike Damone was indeed correct: How can we forget about “the magnetism of Robin Zander” or “the charisma of Rick Nielsen!” Cheap Trick still rocks our world! Taking the early slot a lot lately (maybe they like the natural light on these long summer days, or maybe they just like an earlier bedtime), the band’s fans were on time and on their feet for the entire Cheap Trick set. Front man Robin Zander, guitarist Rick Nielsen, bassist Tom Petersson (an amazing musician and the man with the best smile), and touring drummer Daxx Nielsen (yes, he’s Rick’s son – original drummer Bun E. Carlos retired from touring in 2010) rocked through a nineteen-song set that included some of their biggest hits, a few rare tracks, and a couple of covers. So much fun to see these guys still doing what they love to do!
After a quick set change, it was time for Frampton to take the stage! We’ve seen him many times before, and were lucky to spend some time with him at the KLOS Christmas Show a few years ago (seriously, you couldn’t meet a nicer guy), but it is good to see that Frampton is still looking and sounding surprisingly great all these decades later, especially for a man who admits to having lived the fabled rock and roll lifestyle – although he often jokes that the only drugs he still does are Flonase and Viagra – but not necessarily in that order. Regardless, the once golden-haired boy of a rock star doesn’t sound a day older (both vocally and instrumentally) than that infamous live album that he released almost FORTY years ago! In fact, I’m wondering if he even sounds better.
In fact, it was surprising to find that, only a few days later, he and his voice would be sidelined due to a pretty nasty bout with a virus, which forced him to cancel his gig at Red Rocks – with Cheap Trick taking on the role of sole performers that night.
In any case, Frampton was healthy and in full form at our L.A. gig – and we got just about everything out of him that a fan could ask for. More than half-way through his set, Frampton introduced “Baby, I Love Your Way”, and explained he was playing the song on the very same guitar he’d written it on nearly 40 years ago to the day (the song was then released in September, 1975).
Another throwback to the good ol’ days: On bass on this tour is Stanley Sheldon, who was part of the touring band on “Frampton Comes Alive!”
Yet among the old is the new. Frampton still regularly releases material – his latest and fourteenth studio album, Thank You Mr. Churchill, released in 2010. And, in 2006, Frampton released an instrumental album (his first) called Fingerprints, on which he very beautifully and bravely tackled his own version of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun”, which he played live for us on this night – a majority of the melody line performed only with his guitar, although Frampton does sing one lyric through his iconic talk box. The crowd was literally awe struck.
But what seems to be anticipated – or even expected – is the song that everyone yearns for during the entire show: Frampton’s “Do You Feel Like We Do”! The fans wait patiently for this quintessential tune (well, sometimes impatiently, as some people, including your humble writer, begin to prematurely yell for its appearance throughout the set). Finally, at the close of the evening, Frampton appeased, and, although he teases a bit before he FINALLY steps up and puts his mouth over his talk box, Frampton definitely delivers. For one brief moment, those of us who lived with our ears in our headphones in the 70s are transported back to our bedrooms long ago, where we sat and enjoyed every note of this truly amazing song. Yeah, for one sweet moment, I swore I was part of that lucky crowd from the 1975 album when Frampton first Came Alive.
Nope. Doesn’t get much better than that.
SPOTTED IN THE CROWD: Comedian GEORGE LOPEZ, and musicians PAUL RICHARDS (California Guitar Trio), JOEL MARTIN (The Running Jumps), and ROB GRAD (Kik Tracee)
CHEAP TRICK SETLIST:
- Hello There
- Come On, Come On
- Big Eyes
- On Top of the World
- Need Your Love
- Didn’t Know I Had It
- Magical Mystery Tour (The Beatles cover)
- Baby Loves to Rock
- I’m Waiting for the Man (The Velvet Underground cover)
- The Flame
- I Want You to Want Me
- Dream Police
- Ain’t That a Shame (Fats Domino cover)
- Auf Wiedersehen
- Good Night
PETER FRAMPTON SETLIST:
- Something’s Happening
- Doobie Wah
- Lines on My Face
- Show Me the Way
- (I’m a) Road Runner (Jr. Walker & The All Stars cover)
- Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours (Stevie Wonder cover)
- (I’ll Give You) Money
- Baby, I Love Your Way
- Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden cover)
- Do You Feel Like We Do
Off the Hook