By Lane Claffee
July 29, 2016
On a humid Tuesday night at the Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre, two rock and roll legends, Gregg Allman and Peter Frampton, were set to deliver a performance of their respective repertoires of abundant rock classics. As both acts hold considerable weight in the world of music, I’m sure picking the headliner was a difficult task for the tour. Allman was set to perform first, starting his set during the muggy eventide.
As the massive crowd began to pour into the venue, Allman and his band entered the stage dressed in t-shirts and blue jeans, surely in a gesture to be true to their working class roots. They opened with the punchy blues anthem “Done Somebody Wrong,” accompanied by Allman’s full band, consisting of embellishments such as brass instruments and an upright piano.
The humidity started to subside half-way through the set, as the sun went down, and the band started playing the iconic, southern-rock driven riff of “Statesboro Blues.” The rhythm section was as tight as ever, and Gregg Allman’s voice sounded as if he had just recorded the legendary At Fillmore East album just yesterday; neither Allman nor the band had missed a single beat. Afterwards, they eased the crowd into an intimate rendition of the Allman Brothers’ hit, “Melissa,” which has to be an emotional moment for Allman, considering it was his late brother’s favorite song.
Allman’s set concluded with the original, concert staples “Whipping Post” and “Southbound.” The backdrop began to glow an appropriate psychedelic, tye-dye design, as they famously turned five minute studio songs into awe-inspiring ten minute jam sessions. The perfect execution of Allman Brother’s hits, as well as the adept improvisation of the band showed that their capability and showmanship had not weathered since their days of their initial mainstream success, decades earlier.
After an intermission, and an oddly hammy, expletive-ridden introduction by a man with red-dyed dreads and a top hat, Peter Frampton came out with an incredible amount of excitement and enthusiasm that didn’t falter one second, for the rest of the night. He opened with an electrifying “Something’s Happening,” akin to his celebrated breakout album, Frampton Comes Alive!
A personal highlight of the night, for me, was the next song on the set list: a cover of David Bowie’s “Rebel Rebel.” A fitting tribute to the late, monumental artist, as well as a close friend of Frampton. The rest of the show included the contemplative “Lines On My Face” which was prefaced by Frampton making a self-referential joke, saying, “This has been one of my favorites to play live ever since I wrote it in 197-,” making a joke as if the microphone had cut out, masking his spotty memory.
Frampton initially ended his set with renditions of the romantic “Baby I Love Your Way” and “Do You Feel Like We Do?” following Allman’s precedence, turning the song into fifteen minute improvisation. In fact, almost every song of Frampton’s came paired with an intense, virtuous guitar solo, sometimes trading the spotlight off with his keyboardist, Rob Arthur. As Frampton bid the audience goodnight, the crowd applauded increasingly louder for an encore, and he ultimately came back for one last encore: a final cover of the Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”
Overall, the performance showed that both artists’ style and proficiency hadn’t been hindered one bit. Both steadfast in their showmanship as they were in the seventies, the artists provided the inherent nostalgia factor that the older generation that attended expected, while still proving to be an exciting evening out for younger audiences out to see a classic band play as proficiently as they were decades ago. Aside from the humidity, the night was truly a pleasant nostalgia trip for all ages.
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