Peter Frampton / Cheap Trick (concert review)

Cheap Trick / Peter Frampton – Rose Music Center 8/9/15 – review

Two artists who built their reputation on their live show do not disappoint

Peter Frampton and Cheap Trick both had their biggest success from live albums.  In the case of the former, 1976’s Frampton Comes Alive was a mammoth seller, redefining what a live record could be, while the latter’s own Live at Budokan captured one of the most boisterous audiences in history, while introducing the band to the rest of the world.  It was fitting then that both bands are touring this summer, even though musically they seem to be an odd pairing.

Cheap Trick opened the show with the appropriate “Hello There,” the same song that kicked off the Budokan album.  Much of the band’s 70-minute set centered around their classic 1970’s material, with standouts including “Stiff Competition,” “Clock Strikes Ten,” and the Tom Peterson-led “I Know What I Want.”  The group dug out two seldom-played tracks off 1988’s Lap of Luxury – the Diane Warren co-write “Ghost Town,” and the band’s only number one hit, “The Flame.”  “Dream Police” and “I Want You to Want Me” got the entire crowd to their feet, while the band encored with two more Budokan moments – “Ain’t That a Shame,” and “Surrender.”

The group was tight, with guitarist Rick Nielsen clowning around, while switching guitars with every new song (eventually pulling out his patented five-neck monstrosity for the encore).  Peterson played his custom, twelve-stringed bass and provided some very nice basslines, and Dax Neilson maneuvered some much-needed muscle on drums.  The real standout was singer Robin Zander, who has amazingly not lost any of the high range in his voice – showcasing especially on the ballad “The Flame.”


Peter Frampton also relied heavily on his signature live record, opening with “Something’s Happening,” followed by “Doobie Wah,” “Show Me the Way,” and “Lines on My Face,” all staples of the 8-times Platinum album.  One surprise of the night was his rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” which was a hit for Frampton in 1977. He also did an instrumental version of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun,” where he dusted off his Talkbox.  “Baby I Love Your Way” and “Do You Feel Like We Do” were obvious high points.  Frampton encored with a couple of interesting choices – first came the Humble Pie nugget, “Four Day Creep,” which gave the entire band a chance to sing.  Then, he closed the show with a passionate take on the Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”


Frampton did something unique that we could be seeing more of concert-wise: he posted a policy concerning the use of phones during the show – allowing the audience to take pictures or video of the first three songs ONLY.  At the end of his third song, he said – “now let’s enjoy the show and live in the moment.”  Very good idea indeed.


Frampton’s guitar playing was exceptional – his lead lines were always tasty, with an envious guitar tone.  Rarely does he get mentioned in the list of great guitarists, but he really should.


The was the first show I’d seen at the brand-new Rose Music Pavilion in Huber Heights – and I was very impressed.  The entire seating area was covered, so even with the threat of rain, there wasn’t any chance anyone would get wet.  The beer and food lines always seemed to move fast, and there didn’t seem to be a bad seat in the house.  And, probably the biggest plus – the line in the parking lot moved rather quickly and got everyone up on the freeway in no time.  All around a great first impression.  —Tony Peters