Peter Frampton was indeed live at Detroit’s Freedom Hill, with his Guitar Circus Tour, and what a show it was. Fans were in for a real treat, as Gary Hoey opened the show. The singer song writer started out with a short story about getting the gig, and he told the fans he got a call from his agent who asked “Wanna play a gig with Peter Frampton at Freedom Hill?” To which Hoey replied “Are you kiddin me?” He is a real showman, and got the fans going from song number one.
Hoey’s set list included some of his most famous hits like Peace Pipe from 1996, Fade to Blue, a hit back in 1993 and his mega hit Hocus Pocus from 1993. The audience was on their feet and flashing peace signs like it was still the 1990’s, and the atmosphere was filled with a quiet kind of energy that just kept elevating as Hoey threw out guitar picks to the crowd. The sound was amazing, and Freedom Hill is a genuinely fantastic outdoor venue, that can only be beat by the larger arenas. Hoey also rocked the Hill with songs from his newest album Deja Blues, and is a true musical artist and performer, as he graced the audience with short interesting stories before every song.
The headliner of the evening was Peter Frampton, who showed he could still rock the house at 64 years old, and he came out singing. After the first couple of songs he interacted with the crowd and stated how happy he was to be in Detroit which he told the cheering crowd was close enough, even though the venue was in Sterling Heights. Some of his more famous tunes that the mostly older crowd came to hear did not happen except in small doses at the beginning of the evening. Lines on my Face and Show Me the Way were huge crowd pleasers, and he graced the fans with a personal story before introducing his newest works from a mini-album called Hummingbird in a Box, which was written for a ballet.
His story was about how journalists frequently end their interviews with the same question “How do you feel about doing the oldy goody numbers?” To which the rocker answers “I enjoy playing them every night, because I wrote them.” He went on to say how he enjoys playing the 70’s and 80’s hits with different bands which gives them a different variation in their sound. The variation was apparent to some, but apparently not to others as they would jump up and start singing right away. Others in the crowd would take a minute to catch on as there really was some acoustic differences from the originals.
Frampton played several numbers from his Hummingbird in a Box mini-album, and a number of acoustic songs, and the audience loved every minute of it. Circus of Guitars, is an apt name for this tour as the musician switched guitars for just about every song and this kept it very interesting, and the fans were happy to be a part of Frampton’s live tour.
By Kristi Cereska
Photography by Freelance Photographer Debbie Blundo