Monday, March 4, 2013

No. 458 – Day in the Sun

Performer: Peter Frampton
Songwriters: Peter Frampton, Kevin Savigar
Original Release: Peter Frampton
Year: 1994
Definitive Version: Frampton Comes Alive! II, 1995

There’s something poignant about Peter Frampton singing he’s only waiting for his day in the sun 20 years after he had a day in the sun that shined as hot and bright as it ever did for anyone else. It seems to me he’s kept a good sense of humor about his meteorlike rise and fall, but then, what would you expect of someone who made his home in Cincinnati?

This song, of course, opens Frampton Comes Alive! II, and I was glad when he similarly played it to open the Secret Santa show that Debbie and I saw in 1995. I mentioned seeing Gary Hoey, the warm-up act, performing his sound check when the doors opened, but the real reason we got there so early was the charity auction.

Debbie went upstairs to grab us a seat. I went down on the floor up to the stage to see whether there were any items worth bidding on. There was. The selection included autographed guitars and amps and CD sets donated by various groups.

The thing I had my eye on right away was a Pearl Jam package. It included a framed concert poster from their non-Ticketbastard tour earlier that summer, a backstage pass, a tour T-shirt and a ticket stub from Summerfest in Milwaukee (issued, ironically, by Ticketbastard). All proceeds were to go to Secret Santa, which buys toys for poor kids in Columbus, so I didn’t mind going high if needed.

After looking over everything else, I decided that the Pearl Jam collection was the only thing I really wanted, and I formed my bidding strategy: The opening bid was $50. I thought for sure someone would go $75. Was I willing to then go to $100? I wasn’t sure. Of course, if the bidding quickly ripped past $100, the point would be moot.

I decided that $75 was as much as I wanted to pay. If someone topped me at $100, I’d have to go to $125, and I’d be out. Besides, $75 might be enough to get it, considering that it wasn’t autographed by anyone in the band, so I’d let someone else make the opening bid and then jump in and see what happened.

I didn’t have long to wait. The Pearl Jam package was the first thing up for bid. The auctioneers—noted Q-FM-96 DJs Wags and Elliott—opened the bidding … and no one bid. I couldn’t believe it. I thought that Pearl Jam’s fame would push that thing above $100 before I could take a breath. As soon as Wags said going once, going twice … just as I was about to raise my arm and steal it, someone bid $50.

OK, it’s me and maybe one other person. I waited again to see whether anyone else would jump in but no, so when Wags began to count it down, I raised my arm and said $75.

And then … nothing. No more bids. Going once, twice, sold to the young man in the long winter coat doing the yes-yes dance on the floor.

I paid and was practically giddy when they handed over the merchandise, which I was allowed to take out to our car ahead of time. I liked that it was all going to charity, and what the heck, the frame alone was worth $75, so I got a pretty good deal. (And the poster, pass and ticket still hang in my hallway.)

Frampton was pretty good, and the show was memorable as the first time I recall ever seeing a woman flash the stage. Unfortunately, what she showed wasn’t memorable—or maybe fortunately, now that I think about it. But as far as I was concerned, my night already had been made before we’d heard a single note.

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