Peter Frampton was inseparable from San Francisco long before recording most of his best-selling album, Frampton Comes Alive! picked up. here. The city has contributed to his career and longevity since his time with Humble Pie and his friendship with the late Bill Graham. That’s why Tuesday’s concert at the Freemasonry (if it was indeed his last here) was especially poignant.
Frampton, 73, said goodbye in 2019, when he wrapped up his final U.S. tour at the Concord Pavilion venue in the East Bay. The legendary ’70s guitarist suffered from inclusion body myositis, a muscle disease that, among other things, was slowly reducing his ability to play. But earlier this year, he decided he had some gas left in the tank and quickly organized a “Never Say Never” trip.
Peter Frampton performing at the Masonic San Francisco on August 15, 2023. Courtesy of Adam Charles Pape.
He hasn’t said “forever” yet, so who knows what the future holds? There was one key difference between Tuesday’s show and his recent trip across the Bay Area: Peter Frampton and his band were all seated. Frampton needed a cane to walk on stage and sit in a padded swivel chair. Overall, the orchestral style of performances didn’t give the show much. Frampton’s hands aren’t noticeably slower, as is the speed at which he moves the fretboard on songs like “I Got My Eyes on You” and “(I’ll Give You) Money” from 1973’s Framptons Camel. The 1975 compilation “Frampton” isn’t noticeably slower, but still shocks many of today’s guitar icons.
The latter song, like the previous one, features a duel with guitarist Adam Lester that starts off rocking, but turns into a screeching sound after about 10 minutes.
Frampton’s vocals are also strong, especially on big hits like “Show Me the Way,” “Baby, I Love Your Way,” and the main episode’s finale, “Do You Feel Like We Do.” Many older guests jumped up from their seats, sang along, and cheered loudly for everyone.
“I love you guys, you know that. It’s a very special night for me and the band; it’s a very special night.” “I want to go back to the beginning,” Frampton said on the second night of the night. Said after the song “Shine On” by Humble Pie.
He’s in high spirits, sharing stories and anecdotes (and when the show opens with a montage of him from his childhood recording career to his start with The Herd to his days as a stadium rocker, you know what to expect). Frampton dedicated “The Lines in the Face” to his good friend and bassist John Reagan (who died earlier this year), and keyboardist Bob Mayo, calling it his favorite Peter One of the Frampton songs. The song starts off slow, but by the end Frampton is reclining in a swivel chair, weeping in front of a red Gibson guitar.