Peter Frampton makes saying goodbye look effortless in career finale in Concord

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Peter Frampton, Peter Frampton's Farewell Tour

Peter Frampton performs at the Concord Pavilion in Concord, California on Oct. 12, 2019. Photos: Karen Goldman.

CONCORD, Calif. — For the last show of a tour called Peter Frampton Finale — the Farewell, there wasn’t a lot of crying and saying goodbye Saturday night at the Concord Pavilion.

Oh, it was certainly implied. But there wasn’t any talk of why Frampton has to end more than five decades of rocking live venues like few others. Why ruin the mood? Everyone knew anyway and if Frampton was anything but happy-go-lucky and doing everything possible to make his audience feel at home … well, something would feel off.

Peter Frampton, Peter Framptons Farewell Tour

Peter Frampton performs at the Concord Pavilion in Concord, California on Oct. 12, 2019.

The poster boy for what a 1970s mainstream lead guitarist should look and sound like wasn’t about to mess with the mood. He was energetic, his playing was fluid and powerful, and he sang like … Peter Frampton, for a little more than two hours.

The packed house knew it was a farewell tour from which there will be no comeback. Frampton announced in February he suffers from Inclusion-Body Mitosis, a progressive muscle disorder causing inflammation, weakness and atrophy. Among the symptoms is weakness in the wrists and fingers, as well as the front of the thigh and the muscles that lift the foot.

The 69-year-old musician was diagnosed four years earlier, after another four years of symptoms. Playing live got progressively difficult;  he fell on stage at least twice. The Muscular Dystrophy Association says on its website that most people with the condition for 15 years “require assistance with basic daily routines, and some become wheelchair-bound or bedridden.”



Frampton told Rolling Stone in February it was possible he wouldn’t be able to play guitar a year later. So he immediately began recording new music and planning his last big U.S. tour.

The Bay Area, of course, is particularly special to Frampton. Not only was his breakthrough 1976 album, Frampton Comes Alive, mostly recorded at Winterland in San Francisco, it was at the Fillmore West in 1970 with Humble Pie that Frampton—troubled by a guitar squealing feedback at high volume during the first of two shows—obtained the modified, black 1954 Gibson Les Paul he played for most of the next decade, from a fan (the guitar on the cover of Frampton Comes Alive.) The guitar was believed destroyed in a 1980 plane crash, but survived to make it back into Frampton’s hands in 2011.

Peter Frampton, Peter Framptons Farewell Tour

Peter Frampton performs at the Concord Pavilion in Concord, California on Oct. 12, 2019.

Looking thin, but happy, Frampton and his airtight band opened with “Baby (Somethin’s Happening),” kicking into comfortable cruise mode. If he’s on the verge on not being able to play, no one has told his hands. By third song “Lines on My Face,” Frampton was again demonstrating why he’s been one of consistently great live acts for so long, while deferring to those who helped along the way. He paid video tribute to bandmates from the ’70s who’ve passed on: Bob Mayo and John Siomos. The latter’s drum kit was in such bad shape when he joined the band that Frampton bought him a shiny new green set. Saturday he told a funny story of buying it back years later for more than he initially paid. That set was on stage at the Concord Pavilion.

Frampton rolled through “Show Me The Way” and “The Lodger,” about a fan showing up at his house during a late night rain storm and the artist inviting him in. Frampton is still a dynamic player, and his band was in lock-step with him, never obviously veering outside his wake.



Frampton came of age during the ’60s, first finding success as a 16-year-old with The Herd, then a couple years later in Humble Pie. English musicians were firmly rooted in the blues and had a wide repetoire of cover songs to prove it. Saturday, Frampton glided into Hoagy Carmichael’s “Georgia (On My Mind)” and Freddie King songs “Me and My Guitar” and “Same Old Blues.” The burst of blues allowed Frampton and his band to really stretch out. Between songs, he interacted with the crowd like an old friend, telling stories about the Rolling Stones and Chris Cornell, among others. He reprised his 2006 Grammy-winning cover of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun,” which proved to be a big crowd favorite.

Peter Frampton, Peter Framptons Farewell Tour

Peter Frampton performs at the Concord Pavilion in Concord, California on Oct. 12, 2019.

The best segment of the show followed, with Frampton and guitarist Adam Lester putting on a clinic for aspiring guitar duelists with “(I’ll Give You) Money” and a big-as-expected versions of “Baby, I Love Your Way” and “Do You Feel Like We Do?”

During the encore, he reached back to his Humble Pie roots for “Four Day Creep” and “I Don’t Need No Doctor,” before finishing with an appropriate cover of the Beatles “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

As joyful as Frampton was intent on keeping things, seeing him firing on all cylinders brought its own sadness. If he’s going out, he’s departing in great form. If he only has months until his playing slips away, at least he’s leaving as much on the stage as he can by celebrating with his fans.

Perhaps his legacy will live on in son Julian Frampton, whose band was met enthusiastically while opening the show, before another famous rock son brought Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening to Concord. Bonham is a great drummer and his band paid powerful tribute to his late father John Bonham’s band.



Follow photographer Karen Goldman at Twitter.com/Xposure120 and Instagram.com/XposureArts.

(27) Comments

  1. Patty Knox

    Congratulations, Tony, on being the first reporter/critic out with a review of the final concert of Peter Frampton's last road tour. You scooped your peers! Do you have a set list that you might attach? Especially interested in the encores & if he performed "You Can Be Sure" or "Not Forgotten" last night. Wish I could have been there. Glad you were. Peace, Patty Knox Akron, Ohio

  2. Peggy Speer

    I was lucky enough to be at the next-to-the-last concert, in Ridgefield, WA on the 10th...here's the set list from that concert, which was the same as previous concerts: Baby Something's Happening Lying Lines on My Face Show Me the Way The Lodger Georgia (On My Mind) Me and My Guitar Same Old Blues Breaking All the Rules Black Hole Sun (I'll Give You) Money Baby, I Love Your Way Do You Feel Like We Do Encore: Four Day Creep I Don't Need No Doctor While My Guitar Gently Weeps Perhaps the greatest joy of the evening, next to being privileged enough to be in his audience, was in listening to his stories of his lifetime in music, told in joy and sincerity. What an amazing man!

    1. Mike Murdock

      I agree I was very thankful to have the privilege of being in his audience for Peter. Thanks for all the bands. They really made the night very special. And what a write-up? Tony was spot-on. Thanks.

  3. Valerie barker

    I have to tell you I'm so glad that I saw Peter Frampton last night in concord he was unbelievable the best and his band oh my god something I will never forget! The first time I saw him was in 1975 in Oakland a day on the green so it's been a long time coming! I wish him all the best in life! Thank You for a night I will never forget !

  4. Lorinda Chavez

    Saw him last night in Washington......waited 44 years... he did not disappoint. Loved it❤. I wish him the best!

  5. mandy ganz

    I was in the first row last night @ Concord and I could not have written a better review. I have seen Frampton countless times since I was 14 in nyc in 1976 and I am blessed to have made it to the last show. Frampton made a conscious decision to play a regular show and let the set list and the screen behind him say the farewells. I did not really cry until this morning. I can't imagine what he is feeling today, but I feel immense gratitude. My life would have been a completely different life without him. I believe he may even have saved it. I believe he knows how much he has meant to so many of us and I hope all the comfort he has given all of us through the decades comes right back at him whenever he needs it.

    1. Susan - simplytheblest

      Mandy I did not get to see him at his farewell concert. I agree that he has meant so very much to so many and I like you am so grateful to have seen him and loved him, even from afar. Prayers for a beautiful talented soul.

  6. Debora Harrigan

    Mandy Ganz... very well written! I did cry before I even left last night because of the happiness he's capable of bestowing on his audience in spite of suffering physically.

  7. Irene from Milmay

    Frampton is really at the top of his game. Have seen him about 35 times since 1975. Philadelphia finale tour date in July, 2019 at the Met, most recent. Got to meet him after show where he signed & dated, 11/1975, the tambourine he gave me while playing DO YOU FEEL, at a 1975 gig at the then, Glassboro State College, in Glassboro, NJ. This finale tour meet & greet ended a 44 year quest to have him autograph the tambourine. It was such a great night seeing him in Philadelphia for the finale tour, with my lifetime Frampton friend, Judee R., as she was with me all 35 times we saw him . Judee just happens to be my sister!! PETER FRAMPTON IS, UNDOUBTEDLY, ONE OF THE TOP, BEST LIVE SHOWS EVER. HE'S MADE HIS CAREER PLAYING LIVE. Forever a fan, Irene D.

    1. Judee

      Dido Irene❤️ It certainly has been a wonderful musical ride with you and Peter Frampton but, most of all, watching Peter sign the tambourine he gave to you so many years ago!!! Your Peter Frampton❤️ partner forever, Judee To the GREAT and WONDERFUL PETER FRAMPTON, so many thank you’s (I would fill up this page if I could, lol!) being sent to you , cause “Baby I Love Your Way”🎶❤️🎶.

  8. Irene from Milmay, NJ

    Frampton is really at the top of his game. Have seen him about 35 times since 1975. Philadelphia finale tour date in July, 2019 at the Met, most recent. Got to meet him after show where he signed & dated, 11/1975, the tambourine he gave me while playing DO YOU FEEL, at a 1975 gig at the then, Glassboro State College, in Glassboro, NJ. This finale tour meet & greet ended a 44 year quest to have him autograph the tambourine. It was such a great night seeing him in Philadelphia for the finale tour, with my lifetime Frampton friend, Judee R., as she was with me all 35 times we saw him . Judee just happens to be my sister!! PETER FRAMPTON IS, UNDOUBTEDLY, ONE OF THE TOP, BEST LIVE SHOWS EVER. HE'S MADE HIS CAREER PLAYING LIVE. Forever a fan, Irene D., Milmay, NJ

  9. Lucinda Vivaldi

    I had the pleasure of seeing Peter at the City Hall in Orlando way back in about 2005 and then 2 years ago had the honor again of seeing Peter and Steve Miller Band at Pine Knob ...where they joined in to some beautiful blues!.... What a great era to of grown up in .... God sure has blessed us with many talented bands!...WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER YOU PETER AND Will ALWAYS APPRECIATE THE PF PICK YOU KINDLY THROW DOWN TO ME AS YOU LOOKED AT ME!...YOU ARE TRULY AN AMAZING MAN

  10. Cara

    I was honored to see Peter Frampton play his last concert last night in Concord. I am a lifelong fan, and Peter was a huge part of my formative years. He is a class act that went out in style. Thank you Peter for sharing your talent with the world.

  11. Paula

    I have to say I was so excited to see Peter Frampton LIVE for the second time last night at the Concord Pavilion. He is an incredibly talented guitarist, a creative songwriter and his warmth and enthusiasm was evident throughout the entire show! He did not let us down, he still has it! I was surprised to find he's also quite a jazz and blues guitarist. I loved him at the top of his fame and I loved seeing him now as he really rocked us a fanfare farewell. Maybe he'll be back, how could he stop all THAT entirely? Many blessing of love and healing Peter!

  12. Paula

    I have to say I was so excited to see Peter Frampton LIVE for the second time last night at the Concord Pavilion. He is an incredibly talented guitarist, a creative songwriter and his warmth and enthusiasm was evident throughout the entire show! He did not let us down, he still has it! I was surprised to find he's also quite a jazz and blues guitarist. I loved him at the top of his fame and I loved seeing him now as he really rocked us a fanfare farewell. Maybe he'll be back, how could he stop jamming the way he did last night? Many blessings of love and healing Peter!

  13. Brad Yazell

    I was at the Concord show. I live in Fort Lauderdale and was at the Sep 6 West Palm show as well. IMO there is no more underrated performer than Peter. His playing is top shelf, even now. I will never forget this show.

  14. Janelle

    I was at the Woodlands Texas show and it was as memorable as seeing him in Houston as a teenager in the seventies . What a consummate musician . I was also blessed to have seen him in Humble Pie . My son bought us the tickets for my birthday and I was so happy to have shared your music with him and my daughter .God Bless you Peter and Thanks for the memories .

  15. Kelly bengston

    I work at the pavilion and I didnt even k ow who he was at the start of the show, I had a great time working this show I'm grateful to been at this show ,it was so fun n I really enjoyed working ,thanks to Peter and his fans for making it a night to remember ..

  16. Jacob

    I'm so sad.. I wish I had the opportunity to see him. Was always sold out, and being am active duty service member made it impossible... He's always been an inspiration. Thanks for the awesome music.

  17. Jackie

    My son brought me to see Peter...it was a fabulous concert. I loved him back in 70s and love him now. Great job Peter God bless you!!!!

  18. Jeff Heusler

    Went to see Peter Frampton on Saturday night ; I knew the circumstances he has a rare degenerative nerve disease and within a year won't be able to play guitar again. Whatt I didn't realize it was the LAST show of the tour. Julian Frampton his son opened the show he was alright. Then out came Jason Bonum with a set of Led Zeppelin music it was killer. Then out came Peter Frampton . It got emotional right there. You could not walk around the elephant in the room on this night. We all came to say thank you and goodbye one way or another! He was unreal the show he put on . Started with some old stuff of coarse then went into a blues set and at one point had a guitar face off with his other guitar player trading haevy riffs with him for about 5 - 10 minutes . Awesome. He was quite the story teller talking about the people that had been in his band and passed away playing some more obscure songs that meant a lot to him and them. At one point he said All the love I feel from you all tonight and none of it can cure me it's a shame I lost it crying. He ended the set with Do you feel the way I do of coarse then came came back for an encore and Played 3 Humble Pie songs. After that he brought out everybody the stage hands the other bands and friends from back stage and explained how they were one big family he talked about his disease and how rare it is and that he was going to try a miracle cure and if it works he would come back around and tour again and call it the miracle tour. He then said he wasn't going to say goodbye and just walked off the stage. And just like thatit was over . I felt so honored to be a part of this night . He came out to start playing at 9:30 and it ended at ( are you ready for this) 12:30 at night . All the Days on the Green and Winterland and the Coliseum shows I have seen him in past years came rushing through my mind.Just like that it was over. If you read this post to the end thank you as I am having a hard time processing all of this!!!!

  19. Arlan Witham

    Dear Peter; Sorry to say I did not attend your Farewell Tour because I felt it would be awful for an almost 82 year old man to be seen crying for 2-3 hours.I knew you are special the first time I saw you in HUMBLE PIE.Thank You for all the exciting performances especially the one at the San Joaquin County Fair about 17 years ago when I really needed a lift. You are in my thoughts always and I am praying to see you in FRAMPTON'S MIRACLE TOUR!!! Arlan Witham

  20. Kacker

    Saw the show in Sonora on Sunday the sixth. Was hoping to hear that an unscheduled final Final show at the Fillmore occurred after Concord. Cheers to all the musicians, roadies and support people who helped make this tour happen. Great run Peter. Now you can have that time to yourself. Congrats.

  21. Gordon Bennett

    I'd like to invite all Peter Frampton fans to join a Facebook group. Link to follow, it's called; International Day Of Prayer For Peter Frampton-November 9th, 12:00 Noon CST I'm not religious personally but do believe in the power of positive thought and just maybe we can help the guy we all admire and love so much. https://www.facebook.com/groups/761645447587464/

  22. John

    I saw him twice this year. Bethel woods NY and mohegan sun in Ct. I have seen him whenever he comes around and is my favorite performer. I'm so glad I got to meet him a few years back, not knowing his career was coming to an end. I really hope they did some serious recordings of this final tour and put out a video in the near future.

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