July 30, 2014 Peter Frampton & The Doobie Brothers put Nikon Theater at Jones Beach, NY in a groove 7-13-14
The live music performance is an experience like none other and can leave an impression on an audience that could last a life time. British born guitarist/vocalist Peter Frampton etched his name in rock-n-roll history with such a show captured on tape back in 1975 with the Frampton Comes Alive! (1976) album. Selling more than six million copies, the album has become one of the best-selling live records of all-time, which launched Frampton’s career into super-stardom. Remaining active since, the Grammy-winning musician, in the midst of a worldwide tour in 2014, has teamed up with The Doobie Brothers for a summer long trek across North America. The tour rolled into Nikon at Jones Beach Theater on Sunday July 13th to a packed amphitheater of fans.
First to take the stage was Bloomington-Normal, IL nineteen year old guitarist Matthew Curry. Spending time on tour with Steve Miller Band in the spring, Curry and his band are making a name for themselves quickly. Combining mature songwriting and bluesy rock licks, the band made the most of their brief set by jamming through with style. Curry’s voice was powerful and full of soul as he played like a veteran and shined bright on the big stage. Turning everyone’s head, this incredibly talented musician is someone to watch out for. His latest album Electric Religion (2013) is available on Cdbaby.
After a short intermission it was time for classic rock powerhouse The Doobie Brothers. Formed back in 1970 in San Jose, CA, the band has gone on to an illustrious music career selling more than forty million albums, touring the world hundreds of times over, and becoming a household name for rock-n-roll fans of all ages. After disbanding for five years between 1982-1987, the backbone of the brothers reunited with Tom Johnston (guitars, keyboards, harmonica, vocals) and Patrick Simmons (guitars, banjo, flute, vocals) igniting excitement among fans. Existing with a variety of line-ups over the years, the current configuration of the band is complemented by Guy Allison (keyboards/vocals), Ed Toth (drums), John McFee (guitar/strings/vocals), Marc Russo (saxophones), John Cowan (bass/vocals), and Tony Pia (drums). Making a habit of coming to Nikon at Jones Beach Theater year after year, this crowd was amped up and ready to go.
Wasting no time, the excitement level was elevated from the opening of “Jesus Is Just Alright”. Joining together immensely powerful vocal harmonies with lush instrumentation, the band sounded as strong and unified as ever. Playing a generous portion of their memorable songs such as “Rockin’ Down The Highway”, newer piece such as “World Gone Crazy, and deeper tracks like “Neal’s Fandango”, the band kept everyone’s up on their feet for a good portion of the set. Sending out relaxing vibes into the air of textured guitar work, the whole set felt like a personal jam session and fans were invited. Bopping and grooving, the audience erupted with cheers for later set songs such as hits “Takin’ It to The Streets”, “Black Water” and “Long Train Running”. For the encore the band came out enthusiastically, going into a dazzling live rendition of “China Grove” followed by closer “Listen To The Music”, which had everyone dancing. The Doobie Brothers continue to prove why they are still one of the most lively rock-n-roll bands to see each time they come around with excellent sound and energy.
Having their blood flowing from the prior group of songs, this audience was filled with positive feelings as they smiled, laughed, and spoke of memories past while waiting for Frampton to arrive on stage. Frampton shares a strong connection with Long Islanders as the famous Frampton Comes Alive! album was partially recorded at the former Long Island Arena in Commack on August 24th in 1975. Relishing in those thoughts, a great deal of pride is felt by residents, and when Frampton appeared on stage cheers came pouring down loudly. Opening with newer track “You Had To Be There”, the heavy guitar riff and steady drum beat had people’s full attention. Keeping the audience up was groovy classic “Doobie Wah” followed by “Lines On My Face”. For those who were fortunate enough to experience the tracks, recorded nearly four decades ago, were in heaven while younger attendees were given a moment of enrichment in rock-n-roll history.
Not letting the moment fade, Frampton and his band went into “Show Me the Way”. Bringing the sound of his classic Talk Box to life, more dancing was seen in the aisles, illustrating the good time all were having. Gracious of the theater’s warm response, Frampton was in high spirits and his tenor singing was soaring while his guitar playing did not miss a note from song to song. Moving along, he played “(I’ll Give You) Money” and exchanged solos with young Australian guitarist Adam Lester before the show stopping “Baby I Love Your Way”. Considered one of the most beautiful love songs of all-time, it was easy to see the sentiment felt by each couple as they danced and embraced while singing along with Frampton. Picking right up after the touching moment was the band’s cover of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” which was featured on Frampton’s 2006 album Fingerprints. The instrumental portrayal of the song was full of color, emotion, and also heavy parts. It was the perfect prelude to “Do You Feel Like We Do” which saw Frampton and his band completely in sync, feeding off one another and closing out the set on a high note. Walking off the stage, the crowd screamed and whistled for one more song. Therefore, they were treated to an encore of George Harrison tune “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” with John McFee of The Doobie Brothers and Matthew Curry joining in on the ten-plus minute jam session. Playing off one another, the three guitar players had everyone in awe for this spectacular encore.
The overall consensus felt by the audience, as they exited the amphitheater into the night, was this was one unforgettable experience. Frampton’s ability to command the crowd with his emotional playing and balanced song selection was flawless. Combining the atmosphere of the bay breeze, open air theater, and songs that evoke joy; this performance was second to none for classic rock lovers.