Wednesday, March 14, 2012

No. 813 – Talk to Me

Performer: Peter Frampton
Songwriter: Peter Frampton
Original Release: Frampton Comes Alive II
Year: 1995
Definitive Version: None

Lightning doesn’t strike twice, after all.

When I saw that Frampton was going to release a sequel to his live opus in 1995, I was as curious as the next person who loved the original. The emcee, the same one as on the original Frampton Comes Alive, starts the second album with comments about lightning striking twice. Of course, as we know, it didn’t happen: This album missed the masses, who had long since moved on.

But the album, which basically brings us up to date from 1975—the oldest song is I’m In You—did produce a few gems. This song, which is Frampton’s immediate reaction to the Oklahoma City bombing, was one of them.

He played this song when Debbie and I saw him at the end of 1995. It was a Q-FM Secret Santa show at the Newport near OSU. Q-FM had those shows every year, and a portion of the door went to a charity to buy toys for poor kids. Q-FM typically also held an auction of rock memorabilia before the show.

I wanted to go early to see what kind of stuff was available, so we were there when the doors opened. We weren’t first in line, but we were in the first 10, which meant that we got seats in the upper area (bonus).

Debbie took the table and I went down to scout out potential purchases. But what I remember the most was the guy on stage just jamming it out on guitar. He was joking around with some of the Q-FM folks as they set up for the auction. He wasn’t really playing any songs, just testing this, that and the other thing. He had long, curly black hair and was wearing nondescript jeans and a blue shirt—obviously a guitar techie getting the sound right.

So, the order of the evening would be the auction after about 30 minutes, then the warm-up act, which was Gary Hoey, who was a guitar shredder of some repute but who never really made it big—like a poor man’s Yngwie Malmsteen. Then Frampton would come alive.

When the auction ended, the lights went down and Gary Hoey came out … wearing nondescript jeans and blue shirt and long curly hair. Yeah, it was the axman himself who was tuning up when the doors. I’d never seen a pro do that before, and I thought that was pretty funny. And I can’t say I’ve seen it since.

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