Classics such as “Baby, I love your way”, “Show me the Way”, and “Do You Feel Like We Do” continue to move and touch people 36 years later.
Self-taught, young Frampton began playing guitar at 7 years old. In his teens he played in several different bands including Humble Pie and The Herd before branching out on his own. An extremely proficient guitar player, Frampton also possessed a wide vocal range and the playful, charming stage presence that would catapult him to fame. In the 70’s Frampton was a guitar-god and a sex symbol and everything in between. The men wanted to be like him, the women wanted to be WITH him!
Frampton continued to put out solo records, collaborated with other artists, and toured for many years. He overcame many obstacles in his life during that time, including a near fatal car accident, addictions, and the loss of his beloved Les Paul after a cargo plane carrying the band’s gear crashed shortly after take-off in Venezuela in 1980.
Frampton Comes Alive 35! is a celebration of the songs and album that skyrocketed Peter Frampton to international stardom….35 years later. The tour featured a 3 hour show that left fans positively giddy in its wake. Although tour dates continue to be added, it would be impossible to have enough shows to satisfy the demand of Frampton’s millions of fans….this tour needed to be captured on film and released on DVD.
Enter the Grammy-Award winning Lamoureux brothers, who masterfully captured the magic that happened on stage so that the world could enjoy this concert extravaganza in the comfort of their own homes!
Imagine my delight, when Francois Lamoureux called me and told me that Peter Frampton would be in Montreal in November for the world premiere of Frampton Comes Alive 35! at Montreal’s Imax theatre! I was going to have an opportunity, not only to see a carefully selected hour of footage from the 3 hour DVD, but to meet the man himself, and watch him mingle with some fans at a pre-show cocktail event.
Although I didn’t do an official count, I estimate that there were around 60 people at the VIP Meet and Greet. After managing to draw over a hundred thousand people for their show during Montreal’s Jazz Festival in the summer of 2012, I was surprized at how few people attended the Meet and Greet. Perhaps the $150 ticket price discouraged some folks, although proceeds from the event were contributing to a worthy cause (the Saku Koivu Foundation).
Peter was a joy to watch as he moved through the room, connecting with everyone, one conversation at a time. He graciously signed everything from shoes to album covers and posed for hundreds of photographs. He was funny and humble and seemed genuinely grateful when he thanked fans for their support. He was completely natural, charming, and appeared to be as comfortable speaking one-on-one with his fans as when he’s on stage, which is a rare gift. Well-meaning fans who become tongue-tied and star-struck when meeting their idols can emit some very awkward energy. Peter’s highly polished social elegance completely diffused any awkwardness. I watched and smiled as fan after fan experienced highly memorable, special moments with Peter which most often, were frozen in time with a photograph.
I asked Peter what it was like for him to see himself on the big screen, and he responded that he can barely stand to watch himself. The conviction on his face as he told me made me laugh aloud and further endeared him to me! Peter smiled, and signed, and posed while chit-chatting casually with his fans who queued anxiously waiting for their turn to speak with him. There was no urgency about his demeanor. Peter Frampton was elegance embodied. I truly admired him and was grateful to have had the opportunity to bear witness to his coolness!
It wasn’t long before we were ushered into the theatre to watch clips from the DVD. The film opened with some fascinating interview clips and the story behind Peter’s beloved Les Paul that was returned to him earlier this year after disappearing for 30 years. The intimacy of the interviews, and Peter’s openness on camera gave me the distinct impression that when putting together his ideas for a DVD Peter really wanted to give something back to the fans who had supported him for all of these years. It was as though Peter wanted to invite everyone into his living room to sit and chat for a while about life and music, so that we could get to know him a little bit better. What he gave, through these interviews was the gift of himself. The more I got to know him, the more I liked him.
Then he started playing music……and the magic was captured.
I honestly don’t know how Pierre and Francois Lamoureux did it. They must have used an army of the most technically supreme cameras & talented operators to capture the live footage because there were so many different angles yet Peter and the entire band did not seem to even notice the cameras, nothing was impeded in any way. It was almost as though the cameras and crews were completely invisible producing an extremely polished, elegant yet very natural feeling result.
The sound was stunning in its clarity and captured every subtle nuance and shade offered by the band.
Masterfully edited, the images flowed seamlessly and captured magic moments shared by the band throughout the show. A smile here, a knowing look there, and playful musical banter that gave viewers a glimpse into the connection and energy flowing among the band-mates, a rare and intimate privilege.
So true to life, it didn’t surprise me when I heard the man sitting to my right say to his wife “This is awesome! I feel like I’m at the show.” He wasn’t alone because at the end of every song, the entire Imax theatre erupted in applause! People were so moved, so involved, so absorbed by the film that cheers and applause even filled the theatre frequently throughout the film mid-song after a smokin’ lead. I even heard someone yell out “THANK YOU, PETER” partway through.
I clapped and cheered and laughed with sheer joy as Peter ripped through a deliciously decadent instrumental version of Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun. It took everything I had not to get up and start dancing in the aisle!
The film was nothing short of phenomenal – an absolute MUST HAVE for Peter Frampton fans, for guitar fans and for people that have an appreciation for excellence in music and film!
Polished, elegant, natural….it seems that I’ve used all of these words to describe Peter himself, how fitting that these same words should apply to the film!
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