Peter Frampton’s “Never Ever Say Never Tour” LIVE! at MPAC

Spotlight Central
Spotlight Central
Published in
8 min readMar 22, 2024

--

By Spotlight Central. Photos by Love Imagery

The sold-out crowd inside Morristown, NJ’s MPAC auditorium this March 13, 2024 evening applauds as a video montage of singer/songwriter/guitarist Peter Frampton appears on a large screen at the back of the stage.

Frampton, who initially became known in the late 1960s for his work with the English rock group, Humble Pie, went on to even greater success as a solo artist, notably with Frampton Comes Alive!, his 1978 8-times platinum-selling album. In the ’70s, Frampton appeared with The Bee Gees in the motion picture Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and played guitar on Frankie Valli’s smash hit, “Grease.” In the 1980s, he toured with his school chum David Bowie, and in the ‘90s appeared as a member of Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band.

In 2019, Frampton was diagnosed with inclusion body myositis, a progressive muscle disorder, and announced his retirement from touring, but in 2023 embarked on his Never Say Never Tour which he’s extended into 2024 with tonight’s Never Ever Say Never Tour.

When the video montage concludes, keyboardist Rob Arthur, guitarist Pat Burgeson, bassist Alison Prestwood, and drummer Dan Wojciechowski take their places on stage.

The crowd cheers when — with the help of a cane — Frampton makes his way into the spotlight. Drinking in all the love and support coming from the crowd, Frampton takes a seat and is handed a guitar before launching into “Golden Goose.”

His voice sounding as strong and clear as ever, Frampton cries, “Well, my waiting’s over, turn me loose, turn me loose!” as he expertly accompanies himself on guitar on this upbeat rocker.

The crowd claps along as Frampton and the band segue into “Lying.” While the group rocks, the word “Lying” flashes on screen in different fonts, adding to the energy coming from the musicians on stage. Frampton impresses with a fast and furious guitar solo and he follows up with “Shine On” where three-part vocal harmonies are featured as he happily sings the anthemic “Shine on/Me, shine on me/Let it shine on/Shine on/All I have to do is let it shine on” chorus.

Music lovers hoot and holler, and Frampton greets the crowd announcing, “Hello, New Jersey, thank you very much! It’s a dream come true still being on the road. Just being able to play guitar is a dream!” After joking, “We wanted to do a few numbers that we’ve never done live before, and ‘Free Bird’ isn’t one of them!” a fan yells out “Whipping Post!” and Frampton exclaims with a grin, “I have had the honor of sitting in with The Allman Brothers!”

As smoke rises, Frampton plays the guitar intro to “I’ve Got My Eyes On You,” a funky rocker where he impresses by playing a tremolo guitar solo in octaves. When switching over to a classic Gibson Les Paul guitar, he says, “I thought I’d use this old thing — it took a dive from an airplane, but I got it back 32 years later,” at which point a fan yells out, “Never say never!” and Frampton replies, “You are correct!”

Frampton lovingly strums and picks this historic guitar on the intro to his power ballad, “Lines on my Face,” and fans wave when he sings, “So many people, my family of friends/Trying so hard to make me smile until this heartache mends.” As the song progresses, he plays an emotionally searing guitar solo while images of David Bowie, B.B. King, and family members appear on the screen.

Music lovers cheer — and some dance in the aisles — when they recognize Frampton’s 1976 hit, “Show Me the Way.” Frampton comes alive when he incorporates his trademark “talk box” guitar playing technique into his solo.

When Frampton says, “Come on, show me the way!” music lovers sing along on the song’s famous “Oh, won’t you show me the way, yeah/I want you to show me the way” refrain.

The crowd stands and applauds when Frampton reveals that he’s just been nominated for inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. While members of his band play the Jeopardy TV theme song, Frampton encourages audience members to take out their cell phones and capture an onscreen QR code so they can vote for him. Also, during this time, Frampton gives away an autographed Frampton Comes Alive! LP to a lucky fan chosen from the audience.

Revealing, “This is one of my all-time favorite melodies,” Frampton performs a dramatic instrumental interpretation of Ray Charles’ “Georgia (On My Mind).”

Putting his entire body into his performance, Frampton literally and figuratively rocks in his seat under dancing lights.

Frampton announces, “We need your help on this next one! We’ve never played it live before so at the end we’re going to have a competition for you to make as much noise as possible for as long as you can.” On the folk-rocker, “The Crying Clown,” Frampton plays a jazzy and melodic solo which is solidly accompanied by his talented band. At the conclusion, concertgoers stand and provide extended applause until Frampton pronounces this crowd his “#1 audience!”

Frampton introduces music lovers to a special guest — Greg Mayo, the son of long-time Frampton keyboard player Bob Mayo and current keyboardist for Daryl Hall — who takes his place at the keyboard as Frampton launches into his 1976 Top 20 hit, “Baby I Love Your Way.”

Sounding as youthful as ever, Frampton sings, “Shadows grow so long before my eyes/And they’re moving across the page,” before Mayo and the audience join in singing the famous “Baby I love your way, every day” refrain and Mayo is featured on a Fender Rhodes keyboard solo.

The crowd stands and applauds, and Frampton acknowledges, “That was very special,” as he and the band segue into “All I Wanna Be (Is By Your Side).”

Sliding up and down his fretboard playing powerful fast licks, Frampton makes his instrument sound like a pedal steel guitar on this appealing folk-rock tune.

Music lovers clap in time as keyboardist Rob Arthur plays the strong chordal piano part on the driving “I Wanna Go to the Sun.” At the end of the number, a black hole appears on screen and Frampton and Co. rocket into a powerful rendition of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun.” On this otherworldy rock fusion number, Frampton plays a wailing guitar solo as rays of light strobe to the band’s intense performance.

Four-part vocal harmonies float over the driving beat of “(I’ll Give You) Money” where Frampton and guitarist Pat Burgeson duel under flashing lights before ending in a frenzy of sound to the roar of the crowd.

Music lovers dance in the aisles on Frampton’s 1976 hit, “Do You Feel Like We Do.” Audience members happily sing along on the tune’s powerful “Do you, you/Feel like I do” chorus. Frampton plays tambourine while Arthur plays a Fender Rhodes keyboard solo, slapping the keys with two hands at lightning speed. After introducing his bandmates, the number continues with Frampton vocally improvising with his talk box under bright lights before ending in a pulsing sea of sound and lights.

The crowd stands and cheers, and Frampton grins from ear to ear prior to acknowledging, “When I was ‘upstanding’ we would exit, but now it takes me a half hour to get off the stage, so instead we’ll sit here and listen to you.” The crowd roars, and Frampton asks, “How about some Humble Pie?” as he and the band launch into an encore of the bluesy “I Want You to Love Me.”

After Burgeson and Frampton alternate singing lead, Arthur shares the lead vocal with Frampton on an encore of “I Don’t Need No Doctor.” Following Arthur’s Hammond organ solo, Burgeson plays a crying blues harmonica solo, Alison Prestwood is featured on a low and rumbling bass solo, and Pat Wojciechowski rocks out on drums while Frampton rocks out in his chair.

The audience happily joins in singing on the Ashford and Simpson-penned “I don’t need no doctor” refrain before standing and cheering for Frampton and Co.

To conclude the evening’s festivities, for his final encore, Frampton gives a tour de force performance of George Harrison’ composition for The Beatles, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

Vocalizing and playing his guitar with passion, Frampton’s spellbinding performance inspires yet another round of cheers and a well-deserved standing ovation.

Using his cane, Frampton rises and takes a bow with his band. Once his colleagues leave the stage, he takes a moment to thank the audience, telling them, “What I’ve got going on here is something where only you can give me the energy — that’s why I love to play live — the adrenaline that I get from you guys just brings me back, you know?”

Continuing, “I’m so grateful that I’m being allowed to come out and play some more,” Frampton acknowledges, “It’s funny — you can see I’ve got problems with my ‘leggies’ here, but when I sit down and I pick up the guitar and I put my hands on the guitar, my fingers know what to do!” prior to concluding, “You know, I’m a fighter. I’m gonna fight this so I can keep on adding ‘Never ever ever ever ever’ to my tours! Thank you so much, New Jersey!”

To learn more about Peter Frampton, please go to frampton.com. For info on future concerts at MPAC — including Pat Metheny’s Dream Box Tour on April 5, Kansas on April 26, and Buddy Guy’s Damn Right Farewell Tour on May 3 — please click on mayoarts.org.

--

--

Spotlight Central
Spotlight Central

For the best in Jersey entertainment news, concert recaps, and interviews, keep it focused on Spotlight Central