Frampton to come alive in Walla Walla

The performer played some of the largest venues in the United States in the late 1970s.

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WALLA WALLA - Peter Frampton is coming to Walla Walla to perform live on March 24 next year.

Rock aficionados say it may be the biggest name to play locally, considering that in his peak of popularity Frampton filled major metropolitan stadiums.

"Peter Frampton is an icon because he was the first solo artist to headline sports arenas," Hot Poop owner Jim McGuinn said.

The Stones, Led Zeppelin and other bands were able to draw in as much, but McGuinn points out that Frampton was a solo artists who, in the late 1970s, was playing some of the largest venues in the United States.

The artist who once played stadiums with seating capacity of 50,000 or more, will play at Walla Walla Community College Dietrich (Dome) Center, which has a seating capacity of 2,800.

"Where he is playing, I don't know if it will sell out. They are hoping to do two shows. I think they are hoping to draw from the Tri-Cities. It is going to depend on ticket prices," McGuinn said.

Other big names have played Walla Walla in the past, including Al Stewart, the James Gang and Loretta Lynn.

But McGuinn said when the James Gang played locally, not a single original member was in the band, and Loretta Lynn and Al Stewart didn't draw the numbers that Frampton did in the peak of his popularity.

Regardless of number, the nostalgia factor is what Frampton will be able to draw on, especially with people who remember what was one of the most famous live rock albums of the 1970s: "Frampton Comes Alive," released in 1976.

"In my mind that live album blew us out of the water and him into our record collection," McGuinn said. He added that he saw the artist perform three years ago.

"He is not what I would call a has-been. He does not have to rely on his hits. He is a fantastic guitar player ... He plays the lead and still sings and does both well. I would say the only thing that has left him is what leaves most middle aged men - his hair," McGuinn said.

Frampton was almost scheduled to perform in Walla Walla this summer, but that deal never transpired, McGuinn said.

Alfred Diaz can be reached at alfreddiaz@wwub.com or 526-8325.

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