When discussing the recording techniques of the six million selling ‘Frampton Comes Alive’ in the bonus interview section of this excellent DVD, Peter Frampton remembers asking: ‘Why release a live album if you can’t hear the audience?’ It was the key to making ‘Frampton Comes Alive’ such an exciting album and the same applies to this special Blu-ray/5.1 surround sound re-issue.
‘Live inDetroit’ also reminds us that whatever the changes in fashion you can’t keep a great performer and his band down for too long.
It’s one of rock’s ironies that having worked his way up with The Herd, Humble Pie and his own burgeoning solo career, Frampton’s commercial flame all but evaporated after the hugely successful ‘Frampton Comes Alive’, a misjudged role in the ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ film and a car smash that put him out of circulation for a few years. And while a handful of solo albums suggested he still had the chops and song writing ability, it took the 1995 ‘Frampton Comes Alive 11’ to put him back on the map.
4 years later, he filmed this rousing concert in a pre-depression Detroit, revisiting early career songs with the big hitters and an semi plugged middle section that just about works. Aside from a few sharp edits, this is a fine account of him revelling in the American heartland almost as if punk, grunge and the like never existed.
Peter Frampton is a consummate musician with a well drilled band, capable of striking a cool jazz groove on ‘Lines On My Face’, delivering some expressive phrasing on the heartfelt ‘All I Wanna Be (Is By Your Side)’ and the brand new band composition ‘If You Say Goodbye’.
He even reprises the then 28 year old ‘Oh For Another Day’ from the ‘Wind of Change’ album and adds the kind of soaring guitar work on the bluesy ‘Cant Take That Away From Me’ (from ‘Frampton Comes Alive 11’) that he revisits in a brace of encores.
Inevitably there’s the vocoder led, crowd pleasing ‘Do You Feel Like We Do’, which makes the most of the multi camera shoot and he rocks out on the guitar led instrumental ‘Off The Hook’.
Frampton finally launches himself into the hard rocking ‘You Had To Be There’ – complete with a short clip of Marriott on the backdrop – and riff driven ‘I Don’t Need No Doctor’. Ironically the latter two are the kind of riff driven rockers that he left behind to embrace the melodic arena rock that fills most of this enjoyable DVD.
The bonus features include a funky jammed rehearsal of an instrumental ‘Boot It Up’ with Frampton in imperious form and a biographical interview that references Bill Wyman as manager of his teen combo, his days with Humble Pie, the price of fame and final memories of Steve Marriott.
A sad footnote to the concert is the subsequent death of Frampton’s long time multi instrumental keyboard player Bob Mayo. **** (4/5)
Review by Pete Feenstra
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Power Plays w/c 16 May 2022 (Mon-Fri)
FLOYA The Hymn (Arising Empire)
VEXES The Dream Disease (indie)
NEAR DUSK The Way It Goes (Iron Head Records)
IN SEARCH OF SUN Make Me Crazy (indie)
WALLNER VAIN Deceive Her (indie)
FIGHT THE FADE Where You Go I Go (FiXT)
MARATON Non-Euclidean Heart (Indie Recordings)
Featured Albums w/c 16 May (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 TERRA NOVA Ring That Bell (Lion Music)
12:00-13:00 FOZZY Boombox (Mascot)
14:00-16:00 MICHAEL McDERMOTT St.Paul’s Boulevard (Pauper Sky Records)
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