Written by Dave Clements
I have never met anyone named Imelda and not sure I want to after seeing what Tropical Depression Imelda did to our fine city leading up to an evening of Jason Bonham and Peter Frampton at The Woodlands Pavilion. There were moments that I thought it would take a boat to get to the venue however fortunately this nasty storm drifted away from our area the day before the show. Therefore many fans were very pleased when the caravan of Peter Frampton Farewell Tour buses came rolling in so we could enjoy this evening!
First up was the JBLZE (Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening). I never had the opportunity to see Jason’s Dad’s band perform but was very familiar with their music from back in the day. I can only image what I missed when John Bonham, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant where out there tearing it up. All I know is these JBLZE guys were fantastic. We got treated to JB on the drums, two extremely talented guys on guitars, a terrific keyboardist…and vocalist James Dylan. Wow! He could definitely sing with best who have ever stood on this Houston, TX stage. Close your eyes and you are listening to Robert Plant on steroids from the first note to the last, incredible.
It took them just under an hour to cover nine Led Zeppelin songs that started with the Immigrant Song, Good Times, Over The Hill, then on to What Is, Black Dog, Ramble On, followed by Whole Lot Of Love, Rock N Roll and of course wrapping it up with Stairway. I just don’t know how one musical hour could be any better. These guys rocked the place. And not even once did I think ‘cover band’. When Jason Bonham but this show together he intended a tribute. It was all of that and more!
If I had left after this performance alone I would have had nothing to complain about. These guys could easily be headliners without the bonus of Mr. Peter Frampton.
This comment is in no way a reflection on one of the best that Rock and Roll has ever produced. ‘Should Be’ in the R&R HOF Peter Frampton comes across as a humble class act who is an extremely talented artist with a unique talent of capturing his audience’s attention. He came on stage with a large smile and from that moment on seemed to be really enjoying what will likely be his last Houston stop. He is retiring from touring at the end of this year. It has been reported that he has a rare degenerative muscular disease called ‘inclusion body myositis’ that will inflame the muscles and weaken them slowly.
Let the record show that there was zero evidence that this was having any impact on his performance. Let me repeat – NO EVIDENCE. The man was brilliant in his guitar work and vocals were just as you would hope they would be.
Frampton started his set with Baby, then Lying, Lines on My Face and Show Me the Way…all very entertaining. He followed with the Lodger and then talked about how, while touring recently with Steve Miller, they did some blues covers. The message was that he really enjoyed doing those with Steve and ‘why not do something similar on this tour’? So he did! He covered Georgia (On My Mind), a Hoagy Carmichael tune, then Freddie King’s Me and My Guitar and another Freddie King tune Same Old Blues. I’m not sure how the crowd reacted to that but I enjoyed them and it seemed like many fans did as well even though it was clearly unexpected.
Before the night was over he had played seven covers out of sixteen songs but he played his anthem (Do You Feel like We Do) and that is all that mattered.
I hope Peter discovers down the road that maybe he has a second Farewell Tour in him. His music is relevant and brings pleasure to a very large fan base that stretches around the world. Hopefully he will embrace that and continue to share as long as he is able.
Until next time please support live music every way you can.