Wednesday, August 14, 2013
B.B. King and Peter Frampton: the thrills ain't gone
He may be almost 88 (September 25), but he sure don't look it. He don't act it either. "He," of course, is the only one, the inevitable, Mr. Showman, B.B. King, who wowed'em with a capital W at Wolf Trap where the house and yard were full. And along on the ride was another musical star, Mr. Peter Frampton, who brought a surprise guest.
B.B. was fit and energetic and talkative (all he did was talk the first 30 minutes). With co-star Frampton and Frampton's Guitar Circus, they played their most popular pieces to the screams of fans who were mostly white, mostly over age 40.
B.B. King sat on a chair while he played (well, look, some half his age have to sit on a chair) and said more than once: "I know I am getting old. You can look at me and tell," but he didn't look or act it. He seemed to really enjoy himself up on the stage, in the lights again. He sang "I Need You So," "Every Day I Have the Blues," "Rock Me, Baby," "How Blue Can You Get?" and, with the audience, "You Are My Sunshine"/Patricia Leslie
B.B. King held his signature piece, "The Thrill is Gone," until his last number when Peter Frampton sneaked on stage to join him and helped belt it out on the guitar. With voices as crisp and throaty as yesteryear's, the men needed no back-ups or sound equipment to strengthen their sounds. They were fine/Patricia Leslie
B.B. King, far right, bantered with the audience and said "Above 60, you're not old. You're just getting there"/Patricia Leslie
Peter Frampton, 63, seemed and sang happy "All Night Long" with his special guest at Wolf Trap/Patricia Leslie
To the screams of the crowd, Frampton brought out Roger McGuinn, 71, one of the masterminds of the Byrds, who started off his performance with "Mr. Tambourine Man" and sang "So You Want to be a Rock and Roll Star" and "Eight Miles High"/Patricia Leslie
Some of Peter Frampton's greatest hits he let loose at Wolf Trap were "Show Me the Way," "Lines On My Face," "Baby I Love Your Way," "I'll Give You Money," and "Do You Feel Like We Do"/Patricia Leslie
Frampton's Guitar Circus at Wolf Trap Sunday night. Besides Peter Frampton, band members are Adam Lester, guitar; Rob Arthur, keyboards and guitar; Dan Wojciechowski, drums; and Stanley Sheldon, bass/Patricia Leslie
The only disappointment of the evening was B.B.'s shortened version of "The Thrill is Gone" which mortified some fans who pleaded for more before he left the stage for the night at intermission (he said he was three minutes over his allotted time!), but when you get to be almost 88 and have won 17 Grammys (the first in 1971 and the last in 2009), you can pretty well do what you want to do, they say. Even an abbreviated version of the classic alone was worth the price of admission and with all the "extras" (!), well, to understate the experience: a memorable concert for the record books.