Concert review: Peter Frampton and Yes at Ruth Eckerd Hall

At a time of struggle for the music industry, when co-headlining tours and package shows are borne out of necessity, this particular bill had to have a lot of people drooling with anticipation. Consider the drawing power each of these two acts possessed during their individual existences: Peter Frampton [pictured below] could have sold out any arena (or stadium, for that matter) during the mid-1970's. His career-making live album, Frampton Comes Alive, broke sales records upon it's release in 1976  and endeared the young, wavy-haired guitarist to countless concertgoers as Frampton-mania broke out around the globe.  Yes holds the dubious distinction of being one of the only (if not the only) prog-rock band whose success and record sales enabled them to also draw tens of thousands of fans to arenas and stadiums worldwide. So, imagine the potential of these two forces touring jointly... [All photos by Jeff O'Kelley.]

Although the crowd scene wasn't what it might have looked like 35 years ago, the enthusiasm was certainly still present. Gone are the long hair, the billowing smokestacks and the crunch of an over-eager general admission mob. Instead, Clearwater's stunning Ruth Eckerd Hall featured a much more orderly scene. A look around the room revealed some receding hairlines, lots of chugging from water bottles, and a greater desire to sink into the hall's plush seats instead of remaining upright. Nonetheless, the capacity crowd of 2,180 arrived with the intention of enjoying these two monster acts together on the same bill. And they let their appreciation be known: in what had to be the loudest and most boisterous crowd response I've ever heard at Ruth Eckerd, the mostly 45-plus-aged crowd proved that they may be older, but they still love a good rock show. And that's just what they were treated to.