by Andrew Calvio
Legendary guitarist, singer-songwriter Peter Frampton graced the stage at ACL Live Moody Theater on 11/13/2023. He and his touring band held the attention of the audience for a solid two and a half hours. The night’s setlist spanned his massive catalog, reaching back to songs dating 1970.
As the night began, Frampton was seated with his guitar on the right side of the stage. He spoke of gratitude and addressed his diagnosis of Inclusion Body Myositis. “Early on I thought I would lose ability in my fingers, but I haven’t yet and here I am. There’s no one more excited than me!” I will admit, seeing the artist sitting and not as mobile as before did bring a sense of sadness initially. However, that feeling was overcome with positivity as I watched him fight through and thoroughly enjoy his craft.
That feeling of positivity was felt by everyone as Frampton was in great spirits while he cheerfully spoke to the crowd in between songs. The night felt like a casual hang catching up with an old friend. He humbly spoke about how his 1976 album “Frampton Comes Alive” is still one of the best selling live albums of all time. The iconic black Les Paul “Phenix” that had been missing for 31 years was in full force singing beautifully as Frampton pressed on the fretboard. If you’re not familiar with the story, it’s worth a search.
Check out all our concert photos from the show on Austin 101 Magazine.
Before he started playing “Georgia (On My Mind,)” he praised songwriter Hoagy Carmichael, saying that “my mother had a secret thing about him, I never told my dad. I felt it was the right thing.” As the music began, the band played the song in the style of Ray Charles allowing Frampton to demonstrate his ability to coax his guitar into playing whatever pitch he was feeling at the moment. As expected, there were singalongs when the commercially successful songs were played. The crowd joyfully helped sing “Show Me the Way” and “Baby, I Love Your Way.”
Keeping with the jovial feeling, Frampton told a story about growing up in England and noticing words being pronounced differently in America. He led a call and response to his song “Can’t Take That Away” by purposely having the crowd say “Kahn’t take that away” then switching to “Can’t take that away” in a very over pronounced American accent. It was another lighthearted moment for the iconic rock star.
The highlight of my night came when the band played an instrumental version of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun.” His use of the talk box at the end of the song had my spine tingling. As the song came to a close, a picture of Chris Cornell was displayed on the screen behind him and he turned and pointed in tribute. A truly touching moment.
Late in the set, Frampton held a keychain up to the mic and pressed a button that made it play the intro to “Do You Feel Like We Do.” He joked, “if you need a keychain, that’s the one to get.” The band then played an extended version of the song, as Frampton introduced each member and gave them a chance to shine individually. When the tune ended, Frampton reminisced saying “When I was upright, at this point we would have run off stage and done coke and drunk and come back and do three sloppy encores. Now it takes me 30 minutes to come on and off the stage.” The band then went into Humble Pie songs “Four Day Creep” followed by “I Don’t Need No Doctor.”
Frampton and his band closed the night with the well known Beatles ballad “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” The song has been covered by some of the greatest guitarists in history. It was a fitting ending to see and hear this rock legend put his own spin on the classic. Peter Frampton put on an amazing show and continues to impress and persevere through the years. I will remain hopeful that he gets to continue on for many more years to come and share his gift with the world.