Speed jumps to: Peter
Frampton - Foreigner - REO
Foreigner & Peter Frampton
A Concert Review
Yes, I'll admit it, growing up I listened to a lot of REO Speedwagon.
There, I said it. I won't be one of those people who denies that
their copy of "Hi Infidelity" has two, big, worn out
grooves. Hell, I even went with The Dude on the Left to REO a few
years back when they played a festival show near Chicago. When I saw
that they were headlining a triple-bill of them, Foreigner, and
Peter Frampton, all those scary memories from so long ago came
rushing back and I had to get my butt to the show. So did a lot of
others, based on the large crowd that made it to the show.
First up was the Peter Frampton man.
Frampton Comes Alive was the epitome of a live album, basically
launching a career who you probably can't name another album/CD from
him. For his show, unfortunately, the World Music Theatre was still
pretty empty. It was 6:00 after all, on a work day, and by my
calculation it would be pretty tough to make it from most of the
Chicago area to the show if you left work on time. Nope, traffic
would slow you down enough, let alone going home to change out of
your work clothes. But, basically what people missed was a guy who
looks like he just wants to have fun and he has the most fun playing
on stage. But I think more than that, most people weren't there to
be reminded of just how good a guitar player Peter Frampton is.
Quite honestly, myself, like I think most people, I only
remembered Peter Frampton for that funny voice-box thing, and a
couple of rock songs that will last for most of eternity. You know
the songs, those hits like "Baby I Love Your Way" and
"Do You Feel Like We Do?" But as I sat and listened, I
think Peter Frampton gets a bad rap on those songs sometimes. The
critics blast him for replaying them and trying to use them as a
drawing card, but what you never read about is how this performer is
talented on guitar, knows how to work a crowd that may not always be
there to see him, and just loves to have fun. But I'm not your
normal critic, oh no, so take that last sentence and that is Peter
Frampton - Live in 1996. I liked the show, and so did the small
crowd that was starting to fill in, so it's TWO THUMBS UP for the
Second up is me, always the observation man.
No, I wasn't on stage pointing out things to the crowd, but I was
waiting between sets when some things struck me. First off was this
crowd. A show starting at 6:00 with three acts like Frampton,
Foreigner, and REO Speedwagon brings out all types of folks. There
was the business man straight from work with his tie undone, he was
followed by a dude with no shirt, torn jean-shorts, and biker boots,
there were grandma's there with their grandkids, and there were
people who pulled their old concert t-shirts out of the mothballs
and didn't care if they didn't fit anymore. Dammit, they were going
to squeeze into them anyway, no matter how kinda disgusting that was
on some people, but on some people, well, us men are pigs so you can
guess what I'm getting at. Anyway, there were people who I don't
think have been to a concert since the recording of Frampton Comes
Alive because they showed up trying to bring in all kinds of
containers of stuff. And then there were just stupid people.
What do I mean about stupid people. Well, let me tell you. I'm
sitting there, just sucking down a soda-pop, when this lady starts
ranting and raving about how security checked her purse but weren't
checking everyone's purse. Now, personally, this lady didn't look
like trouble at all, so even if the security dudes and dudettes were
being selective in the purse-checking, I don't think this lady would
have been high on their list to wonder about. Well, her and her
husband will have none of this, so they blow right past security
trying to get in. Security catches up with them, and there's now a
couple of security people around, things calm down, and the people
start to walk away. No, this won't do, I guess the guy changed his
mind because he turns around and comes back to try and start
something with the one security dude. Hello? Are you stupid or what?
Five security dudes and one of you. Where the hell do you think this
will take you? Well, it took some more negotiating but the stupid
folks finally made their way to their seats, but these are probably
the type of folks who are going to try to sue the security people
for doing their job. Oh yea, a couple of words of helpful advice to
those of you who want to start a fight at a show, not that I condone
trying to beat the crap out of each other, but just in case you're
planning on it: First, don't pick a fight with the security dudes.
There are more of them than you and you will lose. Second, if you're
picking a fight with someone else, for God's sake don't start it
right in front of the Security office. I saw two dudes do this once,
and let's just say no one really got to win because it only took the
security dudes about five seconds to move in. Sorry about that
little observation interlude, just kind of think of it as a break
between sets because now it's about time for Foreigner.
Third up is was the Foreigner boys.
I always try to give my own little advice when I'm talking bad about
a band, not that I'm talking really bad about Foreigner, but I will
say this: Quit trying so hard and have fun.
Foreigner really hasn't had an album/CD out in years, at least
that I remember. The last thing I really remember from them was
"I Wanna Know What Love Is" and that was years ago. They
may have had some songs since then, probably those two that I didn't
remember hearing as I was listening. If they have had music out
since then, their publicity people need to get off their butts and
get to work. But if the case is just Foreigner cruising around,
please guys, lighten up just
a little bit and don't come off like you're trying so hard.
Now, the crowd was receptive, it's hard not to when Foreigner was
one of those bands that ruled when these people were buying albums
and wearing the needles out on their turn-tables. And, it was pretty
cool hearing some of these songs live and all. You know the ones,
songs like "Urgent," "Cold as Ice,"
"Waiting for a Girl Like You," "Feels Like the First
Time," and no Foreigner greatest hits show would be complete
without "Jukebox Hero." The band still sounded good, and
Mick Jones on guitar still wailed, so I can't condemn them, but Lou
Gramm just didn't look like he was having fun. Oh well, maybe it's
I'm kinda torn. I want to give them one thumb up, but the crowd
sure seemed to appreciate them more, so, the crowd tips the scale -
their the ones who count anyway. If you liked Foreigner back when,
and you never got to see them live, they're not a bad show. Alright,
I guess it's TWO THUMBS UP for Foreigner.
And then came REO Speedwagon.
REO Speedwagon, for those who didn't know, have a new CD out and
it's called "Building the Bridge." It's a good CD, hell, I
even reviewed it, and personally I was looking for a bigger mix of
new material, but I guess sometimes you have to bite the bullet and
give the crowd the old hits while you're working on making new ones.
That's okay, and I won't crucify them for that, but I hope that if
REO gets on a smaller line-up and gets longer than 75 minutes to
play, that they throw in a few more new tunes.
Talk about bringing back the memories. With every hit Kevin
Cronin and the boys played, I could relate to some experience and
some time in my life. I don't know if it was cool or just kind of
scary, but I did start to realize exactly why I liked REO Speedwagon
back then, and why I, as well as the thousands of folks there this
night, still like them today. Why? Because REO is you basic
guitar-based rock & roll with some organ/synthesizer for effect.
They can still belt out a ballad to snuggle up with your honey
(which for me was just too depressing with no honey to snuggle up
to), and will get you rockin' when you need it (this I could
handle!). The younger crowd may not get it today, but some day their
one-hit-wonders will have disappeared and bands that actually
play music will still be around. At least I hope so.
|Bruce Hall & Dave Amato
My first impression at the show was one of shock. What the hell
happened to Kevin Cronin's hair. Sure, maybe he had it cut at that
festival show I was at a few year's back, but from being so far back
I sure couldn't see him then. My last remembrance of him was with
the 80's afro-style hair. No, wait, my last remembrance of him was
this publicity photo I was looking at a few weeks ago and he still
had the afro-hair, or a really cool wig. He almost looks respectable
now. My second impression was that even though they lost Gary
Richrath on guitar a few years back, Dave Amato is quite a good
replacement - damn good if I might say. And my third impression is
of Richard Nixon: "I am not a crook." Alright, visual
jokes don't go well in a written article, but the joke was there and
I took it.
As for the show, REO Speedwagon sure knows how to put one on. After
all of these years they still know how to have fun with the crowd,
keeps things lively, and mix up the slower songs with the rockin'
ones. They throw in some fog, these way cool lights that kinda look
like candy canes, and just plain rock. Kevin Cronin still has one of
the most recognizable voices for a song, and the band was incredibly
tight. The crowd loved every minute of it. So did I.
What else can I say? If you ever liked any song by REO Speedwagon,
I would highly recommend their show, and their new CD. The boys
still have it, and didn't have to win over this crowd - this crowd
was there to rock and REO obliged by putting on a show that let
them. Yeppur, TWO BIG OL' THUMBS UP for REO Speedwagon.
As for the evening, I was glad to see all three acts, but what
would really be cool is seeing full-blown shows by all three bands.
The short sets kinda limited just how much fun you could have, but
it was cool to remember the talent that is Peter Frampton, remember
some of the forgotten hits of Foreigner, and rock the night away
with REO Speedwagon. Now, if only my brother didn't use my "Frampton
Comes Alive" record as a Frisbee, I didn't leave my
"Foreigner Records" CD at my ex-girlfriends, and my
"Hi Infidelity" record wasn't worn down to having almost
no grooves left. Oh well.
That's it for this one, I'm The Dude on the Right. L8R!