Entertainment, Lifestyle

Concert review: Frampton comes alive in Boston

BOSTON — Back in 1976, no one was hotter than Peter Frampton. His double live album, “Frampton Comes Alive,” spent 10 weeks at the top of the Billboard charts and Rolling Stone magazine readers voted it Album of the Year. 

The English rock musician, who has continued to make exceptional records through the years, brought his “Finale — The Farewell Tour” to the Rockland Trust Bank Pavilion in the city’s Seaport Tuesday night. Frampton will retire from regular touring at the end of this year due to the recent diagnosis of Inclusion Body Myositis (IBM), a rare disorder characterized by progressive muscle weakness and pain.

This was no solemn occasion, however. A near-capacity crowd came ready to party and travel back in time to the carefree days of Pontiac Firebirds, Atari Pong and Farrah Fawcett’s feathered hair.

Frampton and his longtime band hit the nostalgic sweet spot with the three smash hits from that 1976 live album. “Show Me the Way” arrived early, with fans singing the chorus and roaring with pleasure at the talk box effect. The main set ended with “Baby, I Love Your Way” and a 20-plus-minute blast through “Do You Feel Like We Do,” with Frampton giving his black Gibson Les Paul Custom a red-hot workout.

Even better were three tunes from his new LP “All Blues,” an all-covers affair that frees Frampton to go guitar-crazy, tearing it up with one deliciously dirty lead solo after another. He shined bright on “Me and My Guitar” and “Same Old Blues,” a couple of Freddie King songs,  and a nuanced instrumental of Hoagy Carmichael’s “Georgia (On My Mind).” 

“Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” by Stevie Wonder, who recently announced he’s getting a kidney transplant, was an unexpected tribute. A blistering instrumental run-through of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” honored that band’s late frontman Chris Cornell and featured stellar solos by both Frampton and six-string sidekick Adam Lester. 

For the encore, Frampton reached back to his Humble Pie days, delivering the raucous R&B boogie of “Four Day Creep” and “I Don’t Need No Doctor.” The evening ended with The Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

Jason Bonham, son of original Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, and his band opened with a set of the classic band’s best-known songs. Jason Bonham’s drumming echoed his dad’s style, while vocalist James Dylan sounded eerily like Robert Plant. “Whole Lotta Love,” “Rock and Roll” and “Stairway to Heaven” was a mighty three-pack. 

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