As the summer series of concerts winds down at CMAC, I can’t help but reflect on some of the most memorable performances. As live bands go, the evening with Peter Frampton and Cheap Trick was definitely high on that list.
One of the most famous live albums ever was Frampton Comes Alive, which was released in 1976, by Peter Frampton. This double album sold more than 11 million copies worldwide, and stayed at number one on the billboards for more than 10 weeks. Recorded live in San Francisco, California, Long Island, NY and SUNY Plattsburgh, in NY, its appeal seemed karmic for this [then] teenage girl to be drawn to. With his use of the Talkbox throughout the songs, this unique method together with his amazing shredding abilities and vocals, made the world stand up and take notice. Needless to say, it was one of my personal favorites of all times, and still is today. So when I heard that Peter Frampton was touring this year and would make a pit stop at CMAC, I had to be there. With Cheap Trick opening for him, what wasn’t to love?
Cheap Trick is another one of those iconic bands from the 1970’s and ’80s that resonate rock and roll, guitar solos, and amazing fun lyrics. It was their live album as well, Cheap Trick at Budokan, that made caught my attention. Needless to say, I was in for a treat as both groups are “live” bands. You know, the ones that sound great on vinyl, but sound even better live.
As Cheap Trick took the stage, the first thing I noticed was Rick Nielsen’s mic stand and it’s adornment of pics from top to bottom on both sides. Either he was all thumbs, or he liked to share. Soon to find out, he was a kind sharing individual, who as he played threw the pics into the crowd for souvenirs. That is the kind of artists that really capture my attention, the ones that do it all for their audiences, and it was crystal clear that was the case here. I also would be remiss if I didn’t mention his amazing collection of guitars. They were as fun and amazing to me as this entire set of music. Playing all of my favorites and a few surprises, Cheap Trick had that audience at hello and had them out of their seats and dancing in the isles in no time flat.
Cheap Trick Set List: Hello There; Come On, Come On; Big Eyes; Lookout; Downed; Anytime; On Top of the World; Voices; Magical Mystery Tour (The Beatles cover); The Ballad of T.V. Violence (I’m Not The Only Boy); Baby Loves to Rock; I’m Waiting for the Man (The Velvet Underground cover); The Flame; I Want You to Want Me; Dream Police; Ain’t That a Shame (Fats Domino cover); Surrender; Goodnight
As Peter took the stage the anticipation of whether he would live up to my memories of him actually had me nervous. It’s difficult living up to a mental image someone has created, and when they don’t live up to that expectation, they end up falling down off of the pedestal they once ruled. I’m happy to report that not only did he live up to the hype, I had to raise that pedestal up for him to jump up even higher. Playing all of my favorite tunes, and performing some of the most spectacular guitar solos and duels, Frampton and his band left me memorized. Peter Frampton is clearly one of the most talented iconic rock and rollers and I was super impressed with his professionalism and the relationship he developed immediately with the audience. If I had to pick a highlight of this performance, it would definitely be the guitar duel between Peter and lead guitarist Adam Lester.
One of my favorite things about this particular show was the fact that Frampton insisted on a strict “no cell phone” rule. Like the professional photographers, audience members were allowed to shoot photos and videos for only the first three songs. After that time, all cell phones had to be put away or else they would be confiscated. Frampton’s explanation was stellar. He explained to the audience that he was very excited to play for them, was so happy they paid to come and see him, and he wanted to not only give them the best Peter Frampton experience that he could, but also for them to enjoy it in the moment and not through a digital screen. He wanted them present in the moment. What a wonderful concept, and that the audience did just that, thanks to Peter Frampton’s rule. Personally think more artists should enforce this rule. I believe people would relish these moments even more.
Peter Frampton Set List: Something’s Happening; Doobie Wah; Show Me the Way; Lines on My Face; Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours (Stevie Wonder cover); (I’ll Give You) Money; Baby I Love Your Way; Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden cover); Do You Feel Like We Do
Encore: Four Day Creep (Humble Pie song); While My Guitar Gently Weeps