You may find this hard to believe, but I was quite a rocker in my youth.
Now, most of my rocking is done in a recliner, but such is life.
I attended many “Days on the Green,” saw The Who, Led Zeppelin, all the powerhouse rockers, and actually remember most of it — including getting hit in the head with a large chunk of watermelon soaked in Jack Daniels. Good times.
I have a large collection of albums in the garage that document my love for rock. Maury has been slowly building a CD rock library, and he visits Rasputin Records regularly. He treats our neighbors to the musical stylings of Boston, Bruce Springsteen and The Eagles, among others. I’m not so sure they’re always thrilled, but it helps Maury get through the yard work, and he typically switches to more soothing sounds as the sun goes down.
A few months ago, he brought home a classic album, “Frampton Comes Alive.” If you have never heard of Peter Frampton, it’s probably because you were born in the 80s or later. His album debuted in 1976.
I was 17, and everyone — I mean everyone — owned this album. He was a master at the electric guitar, and his 14-minute version of “Do You Feel Like We Do” rivaled “Hey Jude” and “Stairway to Heaven.” It became a classic!
Sadly, we heard on the radio that Peter Frampton was ill and planning a farewell tour. Maury bought tickets the day they went on sale. The very last concert was going to be at the Concord Pavillion, and we were going to be there. Thankfully, Maury bought seats, not lawn tickets.
I had a bad experience the last time we chose the lawn. We went to see Hall & Oates. For one thing, if you’re on the grass, you’re sitting on a steep slope. I spent most of the concert trying to discreetly pull my underwear out of my butt as it kept creeping up! I was trapped in a perpetually billowing cloud of pot smoke the whole time, I could barely see the stage, and I’m pretty sure I was high by the end of the night — I was starving and also felt like everyone was staring at me. Two reasons why I never smoked pot! I was miserable.
This time, we were close to the stage and in comfortable seats. Sure, there was an occasional whiff of pot, but it was tolerable. The audience was primarily old. There were a lot of balding and gray heads bobbing up and down, and judging by the countless times people had to go to the bathroom, incontinence and prostate issues abounded. But hey, we all could still rock!
The first band was Peter Frampton’s son, Julian, who had obviously inherited his dad’s genes and got the audience warmed up. Then came the next band, headed by the son of Led Zeppelin’s famous drummer, John Bonham. The Jason Bonham Led Zeppelin Experience tore down the house with classic Led Zeppelin tunes and a lead singer who hit all the notes Robert Plant used to hit, but probably can’t anymore.
The familiar refrain of “Stairway to Heaven” began sending the audience into a frenzy.
The lead singer asked everyone to turn on our phone flashlights, but I couldn’t find it on my phone! It was dark and I didn’t bring my glasses. I feverishly tried to install a flashlight app so I could participate in the fun, but ended up dropping my phone on the sticky floor. I retrieved it and turned on my super bright LED flashlight just as the song came to an end. What an epic fail!
I relayed this story to my son, James, who showed me that I already had a flashlight app that came with the phone. Ugh. I’m such a disappointment to my kids when it comes to cell phones.
Finally, the moment we were all waiting for! Our beloved Peter Frampton appeared on stage — minus his signature long, curly, blonde hair, but smiling ear to ear. The screen behind him was a montage of pictures and video clips from his concerts and appearances spanning over 30 years. He was more frail looking now, but his voice and guitar playing had the packed auditorium rocking and reeling back to 1976! His rendition of “Do You Feel Like We Do?” did not disappoint.
He talked to the audience as if he knew each and every one of us, sharing funny stories and observations about his wild life, the people he loved and the people he lost. He thanked us for our love and support over the years, and you could tell he never wanted that last song to come, but it did.
He remained on stage long after the applause and whistles faded away. He gazed up at the audience, taking it all in one last time. It was a heartfelt moment I’m glad I got to see.
The next day, I saw Maury carrying his small boombox with him out to the backyard, blasting Peter Frampton and singing along to “Do You Feel Like We Do?”
“Yes,” I thought to myself. “We do.”