I’ve started doing a weekly podcast with a guy named Maury Eskenazi at KRKO, called “Maury & Tim Escape from the Radio.” While we do a couple of breaks each week on the radio talking about what’s new in movies & TV, that’s the focus of the content. I couldn’t help but notice around the halls and bantering with each other, that we’ve had some pretty funny moments together that were then lost forever. So, I decided we needed to do a podcast together.
Each week, it’s anything goes, as long as we want and whatever we want to say. In our most recent episode, we touched on the topic that everyone has a different answer for–would you like to go quickly, or have time to say goodbye to your loved one?
Go quickly and you become an immediate saint. Everyone has nothing but good to say about you. Go the long and drawn out route, and while you have time to say goodbyes, often times both sides can never figure out the right moment to say things, and there’s prolonged suffering for both sides. I’ve seen it both ways.
I personally tend to lean towards the long goodbye, but shortening it, if possible, once I’ve had a chance to say what I have to say. I’ve always joked that when my time comes and I’m officially useless, I’m going to walk into the woods and let the wolves have me. Over the weekend, we attended a memorial for a person who suddenly became ill, kept it very private, had time to say goodbye to her family and then exited, stage right.
When my almost 92-year-old dad fell backwards, hit his head and his brain began bleeding slowly to death, I at least had time to talk with him one last time and spent that last night talking his ears off. After all, they say hearing is one of the last things to go, so I made sure I told him everything and anything I could think of in those final hours. Remembering Little League games and family vacations and everything we had experienced together. He left us the next morning.
This past week, my wife and I were able to experience one of the sweetest goodbyes imaginable at the Paramount Theater in Seattle. Rock legend Peter Frampton (who provided the soundtrack to my college days) had been diagnosed with a degenerative disease that will eventually rob him of his ability to perform. While so many other artists have put on farewell tours followed by another farewell tour, we believed this to be a serious goodbye and immediately bought our tickets.
That seemed so long ago, but October finally arrived. The concert was set to start at 7:30 on Wednesday evening, October 9th and as the opening act walked out on the stage, so did Peter Frampton. He welcomed the crowd, thanking us profusely for coming to see him one more time and expressing a serious amount of parental pride, as the opening act was none other than Julian Frampton, his son, who looked and sounded a lot like Peter back in the day.
As for ‘that day’, I remember it vividly. His Frampton Comes Alive album was all the range in the dorms and you’d hear it constantly playing in almost every room. I believe I caught him in concert twice during my time at the U.W., both times wowing me with his amazing rifts and ‘talking’ guitar. That had to be the peak of his career, even though he had been around for a while. He had been a member of Humble Pie, had a couple of albums, but the songs on those records were much slower than the versions he played when they were live. On “Frampton Comes Alive”, between the excitement of the crowd and the brighter tempo, we ate his music up like it was candy.
OK, back to the Paramount. After Julian wrapped up his contribution to the evening, Jason Bonham and his Led Zeppelin Experience took the stage. Jason is the son of the late drummer for Led Zeppelin, John Bonham, and surrounded himself with a group of musicians that came pretty close to the original. Absolutely not the same, but respectable. Apparently, Peter and John were close in their early rock days and Peter had actually bought John a drum set. He later re-purchased that set on eBay and it was the one on the stage when Peter’s band began to play.
They performed effortlessly for two hours and everyone looked like they were having a blast. Frampton told the story of how he was facing a deadline for an album so he went to the Caribbean to write songs. After partying most of his time there, he sat down one day and wrote, “Show me the Way” and then later that same day, “Baby, I love your way.”
That night at the Paramount, he performed all of his big hits, threw in some blues he loves doing (He’s had the number 1 album on the blues charts for the past 14 weeks) and then brought out a couple of special guests–Mike McCready and Matt Cameron from Pearl Jam. They joined forces to do an instrumental of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” that felt like a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I just had to capture it.
The concert concluded, he came back out for an encore and then he said goodbye one more time. He reminded the crowd it wasn’t his choice, but this disease was soon going to rob him of his ability to perform.
That night, he wasn’t just great, he was even better than I remembered him back in his hey day. His voice, his guitar work, everything–absolutely spot on.
As we left, a friend that went with us, Linda Botts, commented that while it was an amazing performance, it was so darn sad. Peter Frampton was seriously calling it quits, wrapping it all up, and we were there for his Seattle goodbye.
He could have just suddenly gone away, like so many other artists, but Peter opted for the long goodbye and I’m so glad he did. This was how he did it his way–one last gathering with the fans he loved. You could feel it in the room.
And yes, Mr. Frampton, we did feel like you do.