Peter Frampton - guitar, vocals; Bob Mayo - keyboards, vocals; Stanley Sheldon - bass, vocals; Jamie Oldaker - drums, percussion; Bob Hamlin - horns; Neil Barr - horns; Joe Stellute - horns; J.J. Silver - horns
Following modest success in the mid-1960s in the Herd and increasing popularity during his five-album tenure in Humble Pie, lead guitarist Peter Frampton embarked on a solo career. At the time, many found this move questionable as Humble Pie were just breaking through to American audiences with the release of Rockin' The Fillmore, a raw exuberant live album that captured the original group at the peak of their powers and showcased Frampton's guitar playing in a most positive light. Over the course of the next several years, Frampton released several promising, but uneven albums, which gradually increased his profile, but failed to capture the immediacy and excitement of his live performances. The big breakthrough occurred in 1976 when Frampton released his first live recording, Frampton Comes Alive, which literally exploded onto the charts, remaining in the Top Ten for over a year and eventually becoming the biggest selling live album of all time. Uncharacteristically for a live album, Frampton Comes Alive spawned no less than three hit singles and a ubiquitous FM radio staple, which led to a cover story in Rolling Stone magazine, making Peter Frampton a household name by the end of the year.
The follow-up album, 1977s I'm In You saw Frampton writing songs that displayed distinct R&B leanings, but despite the title song becoming another hit and the album going platinum, it was perceived as a disappointment compared to the monumental success of the live album. Frampton's high-profile status also led to him being offered and accepting a co-starring role with the Bee Gees in Robert Stigwood's interpretation of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Despite the soundtrack album becoming quite successful, critics universally savaged the movie and Frampton's involvement alienated his core fan base. The merciless bad press put a dark cloud over his career and things got worse when Frampton was involved in a near-fatal automobile accident the following year, breaking his right arm and damaging his hand—the ultimate curse to any guitar player. Continuing to embrace his root interests in soul and R&B, Frampton returned to the studio in 1979 to record his next album and try to revitalize his damaged image. For the Where I Should Be album, Frampton more thoroughly embraced his R&B leanings, but this time augmented his core band with the likes of the MG's Steve Cropper and Donald "Duck" Dunn and the Tower Of Power Horns. Although it was inevitable that many of his fans would perceive this as too dramatic a departure in style, the new songs on this album were chock full of catchy hooks, memorable choruses, spicy horns and plenty of his trademark guitar stylings. Where I Should Be contained some of the most engaging material Frampton had ever written and more clearly displayed his talents as an arranger, and to promote the new album, Frampton again hit the road.
One of the most highly anticipated dates on this tour occurred on August 31, 1979, when Frampton and his band returned to the Bay Area, where much of the material from his landmark live album was originally recorded. On this night two performances occurred at the Oakland Auditorium and this early show from that evening captures Frampton and company in good form, performing a set that featured five songs from the new album, a couple of choice covers and not surprisingly, many of the key tracks from the live album, which were guaranteed to be crowd pleasers.
With the same two 1974 tracks from his Something's Happening album that kicked off the live album, Frampton's set begins with the bouncy optimistic title track and the up tempo wah-wah pedal infused "Doobie Wah." With these two rockers warming things up, Frampton next performs two ballads, "Lines on My Face" and "Show Me The Way," showing his more introspective side on the former and delighting the audience with one of his biggest hits on the latter. Although originally from studio albums, both of these songs also appeared on the live album. With the audience thoroughly engaged, Frampton next introduces material from the new album into the set.
With the exception of the mellow acoustic leanings of "Baby, I Love Your Way," another ballad and smash hit from the live album, the next six songs all showcase Frampton's new material, beginning with the funkier leanings of "Got My Feet Back On The Ground," with the band now augmented with a horn section. Frampton next celebrates life on the road with the title song, "Where I Should Be" and the riff-laden rockers "I Can't Stand It No More" (which became the hit off the album) and "She Don't Reply." All of these showcase Frampton's formidable guitar skills and are well received, but it's perhaps "Everything I Need" that proves most satisfying. "Everything I Need" displays an overt Steely Dan influence and as such, comes across as the most vibrant of Frampton's R&B-geared songs, featuring an impressive soaring guitar solo, some of Bob Mayo's best electric piano work of the set, plus an engaging sax solo courtesy of Bob Hamlin. To cap off this portion of the show, Frampton and company tackle their own interpretation of Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," which unfortunately was not completely recorded due to a tape stock change.
The final song of the set is a marathon 17-minute exploration of Frampton's touchstone of 1970s rock, "Do You Feel Like We Do?" Much like the live album version, this song clearly focuses on Frampton's guitar playing and energetic performing skills, traits that always came across far better on stage. Although the song itself is generally lightweight, the improvisational nature of this number adds in heavier elements as the song progresses and of course features an extended call and response section between Frampton's voice-box guitar and the audience. Although others (Jeff Beck and Joe Walsh most notably) had explored the voice box, it was Frampton who epitomized its use and although by this point, it had become somewhat of a gimmick, the audience obviously loves it. Immediately afterwards, the crowd is on their feet demanding an encore and Frampton obliges with his own interpretation of the Rolling Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash." Also highly extended, Frampton's version is quite original, initially slowing down the tempo, changing pace several times and adding an extended jam section that features plenty of his wailing guitar to cap off the set.