Peter Frampton and Yes
Nikon Theater at Jones Beach
Wantagh, New York
June 26, 2010
According to Yes bassist Chris Squire, his band and Peter Frampton hadn't played together since the early 70s. For many in attendance at Jones Beach on Saturday, June 26, 2010, the double-billed concert was the closest thing to time travel.
By opening with a Humble Pie number ("Four Day Creep"sometimes known as "I Want You To Love Me"), Frampton made a clear and immediate statement of, "I've still got it." There's a reason that the man is a rock legend. In addition to recording arguably the best and (up to that point) best-selling live album of all time, Frampton Comes Alive! (A&M, 1976), and winning the Grammy® for best Pop Instrumental Album (Fingerprints, New Door Records, 2006), the man is a damn fine guitarist. On this warm and pleasant evening at the outdoor venue his performance was a firm affirmation that not only does he still have it, but he can rock out with the best of them, enabling the audience to turn back the clock yet performing relevant new music.
The concert found him weaving easily among the old ["Plain Shame," "Lines On My Face" and "(I'll Give You) Money"]; the new ("I Want It Back" "Restraint" on which he rails against the Wall Street bailout and "Vaudeville Nanna and the Banjolele" from his 2010 New Door Records release Thank You Mr. Churchill); the classics ("Baby, I Love Your Way," "Show Me The Way" and, of course, "Do You Feel Like We Do?"). Additionally, Frampton and his band (Rob Arthur on guitar and vocals, guitarist Adam Lester, John Regan on bass and drummer Dan Wojciechowski) covered Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" and encored with a tender, moving and poignant version of his friend George Harrison
's signature song "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."
After a half-hour break, co-headliner Yes took the stage for the second half of the evening. Though not the classic Yes line-up, the band provided a strong set of progressive rock at its best. This incarnation of Yes featured fill-in lead singer Benoit David and his spot on vocals (David is again subbing for original vocalist Jon Anderson, who remains out of commission due to respiratory illness). Oliver Wakeman, son of the band's primary keyboardist Rick Wakeman (who is also ailing) continues to finger the ivories in his father's absence. Original members Squire on bass and Steve Howe
on guitar along with long-time drummer Alan White rounded out the group.
As expected, Yes performed their signature tunes. "And You And I," "Yours Is No Disgrace," "Perpetual Change," and "Close to the Edge" all made their respective appearances during the band's hour-and-a-half set. While the veteran cosmic prog-rockers performed their very tight set, the background of the stage as well as the two monitors above to the left and right were flooded with synchronized and syncopated vibrant, bright and occasionally pastel images of the Yes logo, classic Yes album covers and short video shots which seemed to please the older Baby Boomer crowd. At the same time, the younger members of the audience were not to be denied. They were treated to a slightly sped-up version of the band's '80s comeback hit "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" from 90125 (Atco, 1983). Ending the show was an excellent version of "Roundabout" and the encore of the epic "Starship Trooper."
Though a co-headlining bill of Peter Frampton and Yes doesn't quite sound like the most logical fit when discussing pairing huge arena acts from the '70s, the evening proved an unqualified success. Fans were treated to three hours of great musicrock, blues, pop, white-boy soul, progressive psychedelia, a dash of classical and a touch of funk.