It’s been too long since I last posted something other than an obituary (although the music world did just lose another great in Glen Campbell). A concert, then, offered a welcome opportunity for change. Last night (August 8) I attended a collaboration of two rock icons at the Colosseum in Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Although I must confess I did not stay the entire show (due in large part to a rather frenetic work week), what I did see impressed me, at least as a fair-weather fan of these two legends.
Peter Frampton opened up with an hour and ten-minute long setlist of his greatest hits, many of which were from his most successful album, 1976’s Frampton Comes Alive. While the highlight of his act was a lengthy (about 17 minutes) and rollicking rendition of “Do You Feel Like We Do” – which included his iconic “talkbox” solo and some fun interplay between Frampton and the keyboardist – Frampton also performed a unique version of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” (again using a talkbox) as a tribute to Chris Cornell. Frampton explained how he and Cornell had performed this song together a few years ago and, in an acknowledgement of Cornell’s exceptional vocal skills, Frampton allowed his guitar to do the singing. It was a touching and classy gesture on his part.
After Frampton’s gig it was time to say hello to the Steve Miller Band. Steve Miller is 74 years old, but he can still jam – and he had a lot of fun doing it. After playing a few hits, including “Abracadabra,” he welcomed Frampton back on stage for a surprising performance of four old blues songs: KC Douglas’ “Mercury Blues,” Otis Rush’s “All Your Love,” Muddy Waters’ “Can’t Be Satisfied,” and Elmore James’ “Stranger Blues.” This homage to these classic blues musicians elicited a positive response from the audience and it was probably my favorite part of the whole show. Miller and Frampton showed off their guitar chops with a number of improvised solos and duels. And we enjoyed watching and listening!
Frampton exited to much applause for a second time as Miller and his band prepared to return to their greatest hits, but it was at this point that I left (I never would have done this on a Friday or Saturday night, I promise). I did check out the setlist and confirmed my suspicions: Miller concluded the night with the hits “Fly Like an Eagle,” “Rock’n Me,” and “Jet Airliner,” among others. Despite my early exit, this proved to be a wonderful experience. Having known just a few of the songs of both performers going in, I did not exactly know what to expect – but I did not leave disappointed. From the humorous (Frampton accidentally burping on the talkbox while performing “Do You Feel the Way We Do”) to the touching (Miller dedicating “Living in the USA” to the members of the United States armed forces), this concert did not disappoint.