The Steve Miller Band and Peter Frampton at The Mann Center

Blankets and chairs [check], 74 Degrees, light breeze with puffy clouds [check], time machine to the 1970’s [check].  It was a night for reminiscing at the Mann Center as rock legends Peter Frampton and The Steve Miller Band provided the soundtrack for ticket holders to relive their youth, or simply to rock out to the sweet sounds of the 70’s.

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Peter Frampton took the stage while the sun was setting over the lawn section of the venue. When he played ‘Show Me The Way’, the crowd immediately got on their feet.  Peter then talked briefly about his history with the City of Philadelphia and his love for the people here before playing his new release, ‘I Saved A Bird Today’, about a bird who knocked itself out by flying into his window, and was saved by Peter.  Before he began the song, he joked and asked the audience to applaud like they just heard ‘Do You Feel Like I Do’, and the crowd roared with laughter.  The song was played on an acoustic guitar with a Flamenco flare to it.

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Frampton then played a cover of Soundgarden’s ‘Black Hole Sun’, in tribute Chris Cornell. Peter played the lyrics using his Gibson Les Paul and his “talk-box” to a standing ovation.  ‘(I’ll Give You) Money’ was up next and featured amazing solos, with guitarist Adam Lester trading licks back and forth for at least 10 mins, finally ending with the crowd air-guitaring the famous last 4 chords (F,E,G,A), Money-everything.

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The audience was perfectly primed when Frampton got to the big hits. he told the audience his process for writing some of his most famous songs. Frampton said he was in the Bahamas, and wrote ‘Show Me The Way’, before lunch, and then went for a swim in an ocean.  After the swim, he wrote, ‘Baby I Love You Way’.  Closing out the evening was of course, ‘Do You Feel Like I Do’, which was extended with tremendous solos. The audience gave him a loud extended standing ovation.

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The first-time The Steve Miller Band played the Mann Center was in 1990. He said that the venue feels like home and he thanked the crowd for the years of support.  The set list was filled with many, many guitar changes, and great stories in-between each song.  The band played many hits and included some deep tracks like ‘Serenade’, which delighted the rabid fans.  Steve Miller whipped out the harmonica for ‘Livin’ in the USA’, which had the crowd clapping in unison to the beat.  He finished the song with the famous line, “Somebody get me a cheeseburger!”

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A highlight of the set was when Peter Frampton came out to jam with the The Steve Miller Band.  They jumped right into the blues song ‘Mercury blues’ by KC Douglas. Miller grabbed the glass slide to play the Elmore James song ‘Stranger Blues’, which included a great piano solo while Miller and Frampton traded solo licks back and forth, leading to another standing ovation.

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Steve Miller is a guitar aficionado, and he literally had a different guitar for each song. Miller showed the crowd a guitar he bought in 1967, at Manny’s Music in NYC for about $150 bucks.  He explained that he chose it for its uniqueness of having six control knobs, three pickups, a pick-guard mounted on springs, and a simulated alligator skin covering the guitar with a mirror on the back side.  The Vinnie Bell Coral Sitar signature model guitar is a hybrid guitar with a sitar positioned above the guitar pick-ups creating a very ethereal sound which he used to play ‘Wild Mountain Honey’.

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Steve Miller closed the night first with ‘The Joker’ and then by delivering two more popular hits in a row with ‘Fly Like An Eagle’, which include the ‘Space intro’, and finally ‘Rock’n Me’.  It was truly a perfect flash back for the older members of the audience and a chance for the younger generation to see two rock legends in person at once of the most magical venues in Philly.

[Photos by: Brockswell Photography]

[Article by Bob Linneman]

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