Photo and Story by Scott Smith
Peter Frampton can run with the Energizer Bunny any day of the week.
The Grammy Award-winning rock singer-guitarist brought his popular "Frampton Comes Alive 35 Tour" to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s concert venue, The Joint, in Catoosa, Okla., near Tulsa on Aug. 23. Frampton’s blistering, three-hour set featured a complete performance of his ground-breaking 1976 live opus, "Frampton Comes Alive," as well as other coveted solo tracks and songs he created during his tenure as a founding member of the steam engine-like Humble Pie.
At 61, Frampton looked remarkably young as he pranced, jogged and stalked across the semi-bare stage. His short, white hair stood as a visual counterpoint to Frampton’s black wardrobe of pants, shoes, T-shirt and, for the first few songs, a jacket.
Frampton’s vocals ran strong throughout the show, which featured punchy versions of "Show Me The Way," "Baby I Love Your Way," "I Wanna Go to the Sun," "(I’ll Give You) Money," "Wind of Change," "It’s a Plain Shame" and set-opener "Something’s Happening."
Humble Pie fans were treated to sweltering takes of "Shine On" and the rowdy "Four Day Creep," both which were full of dynamic blasts of improvisation, as well as a wonderful cover of The Beatles’ "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and The Rolling Stones’ "Jumpin’ Jack Flash."
When Frampton played the first few notes of his well-known instrumental version of Soungarden’s moody hit "Black Hole Sun," the multi-generational, near-capacity crowd cheered, yet the audience’s biggest roar came when Frampton and his quartet dove head-first into the epic "Do You Feel Like We Do." Frampton even pulled a Craig Ferguson while executing the landmark "talking guitar" parts, chuckling at himself a few times as several fans laughed, too.
Stanley Sheldon, who first joined Frampton’s band in 1975, thumped the evening’s bottom-end frequencies, and took several fluttering bass runs in playful, push-and-pull bouts with the guitars of Frampton and Adam Lester. Former LeAnn Rimes drummer Dan Wojciechowski and keyboardist/guitarist Rob Arthur rounded out Frampton’s muscular group.
"This is the time when we would run off and do drugs backstage," said a laughing Frampton during what usually is his concert’s intermission. "And then we would come back onstage and play two more songs really, really fast. But we’re going to stay right here and play on through, because we want to fit everything in."
Frampton then paused for a couple of seconds.
"And I don’t do drugs anymore," he then said as several fans whistled.
These days, the only drug Frampton seemingly cares about and has any need for is his collection of guitars. And no matter which six strings he’s playing — a Les Paul, one of his hollow-body axes, an acoustic guitar or dobro – Frampton is an unleashed-yet-enchanting creature under the spotlights.