The circus came to town in the form of “Peter Frampton’s Guitar Circus” at The Lawn at White River State Park in downtown Indianapolis. It was a beautiful night on the lawn, which made a perfect backdrop for the guitar showcase that took place for those in attendance. If Peter Frampton and his many tricks weren’t enough, he brought legendary blues guitarist Robert Cray to open up the festivities. It was a special night that featured new takes on classic hits and some insane covers as well.
Frampton started the show with a psychedelic video intro that played on a huge lcd screen which served as a backdrop for the stage. We saw frogs hopping to and fro, cats jumping back and forth, men with amazing facial hair with fire coming from the tip of their top hats cut in and out of the screen while “Being for the benefit of Mr. Kite” by the Beatles played through the speakers. Peter walked out with the rest of his band and began the show with a crunchy jam that was in your face. This gave me an idea about how memorable evening was going to be. The intro segued into “Magic Moon” and the screen cut into a mythical slide show of astrology signs and tarot cards.
After Peter heard about the 20th woman shout out to him that they loved him in between songs, he encouraged everyone to continue going ape shit, and proclaimed that the geezers rule. He then followed that with his hit “Show me the way”. Anyone who has ever felt heartache cannot help but connect to “Wind of Change” and with the screen behind him showing many never before seen photos of the early days in his career, it was hard not to have a barrage of memories going through your head while he sang those touching lyrics.
Steve Cropper walking on stage was a special surprise. The man who was in the original Blues Brothers Band, and is also a legendary producer who was highly respected by John Lennon and countless other greats. Before busting into the hit “Green Onions” by Booker T and the MG’s, Steve joked about how he never would’ve imagined when the song was created that it would one day be in an adult diapers commercial.
Towards the end of his set, Peter showcased the instrument that truly set him apart from the rest of the classic rock guitarist, the talkbox. He played an epic version of Soundgarden’s “Blackhole Sun” by matching the lyrics coming from his talkbox to those classic guitar riffs. He closed the set with “Do you feel like we do” which had everyone feeling what the man was talking about. After a short break, Peter and the boys came back on stage and broke into a super sick blues jam which lead into “While my guitar gently weeps”. The majority of the households in America have the record “Frampton Comes Alive” making it as American as apple pie. Peter played those songs with this same passion he had when he recorded it over 35 years ago, and him being in Indianapolis was a shining example for the younger generation who were in the crowd to follow your dreams and always do the things you love.
Words by Tyler Muir