He’s an icon. She’s an Icon. They’re Icons. 

It’s a phrase increasingly bandied about, especially post covid. The mere act of coming out the other side seems to have created a stream of icons, many of whom really aren’t. 

Which brings us to tonight and to Peter Frampton’s first of three UK gigs on his Farewell Tour.  I don’t know him and will almost certainly never have the privilege of meeting him but from the self-effacing interviews I’ve watched over the years I can’t think of many who would be more embarrassed by the term icon, and yet his impact upon ’76 is nigh on unimaginable to artists today when you consider the global sales Frampton Comes Alive achieved. 

To many, me included, ‘FCA’ was our introduction to him and to the best of my recollection, I had no knowledge of either The Herd or Humble Pie before FCA became the huge global phenomenon that it did.  

Before that there’s Cardinal Black.  There must be something happening in South Wales with Those Damn Crowes and Florence Black leading the way, and now with Cardinal Black close on their heels. Expanding from a three piece to a four piece and now a six piece with the addition of keyboards and a female backing singer has worked wonders with their sound.  

The stars of the show, and that’s not to belittle the contribution of Adam or the others, are the Doombar soaked vocals (with and without mic) of Tom Hollister and the quite outstanding guitar work of Chris Buck. A short five song set wins them plenty of new fans judging by the queue at the merch stand during the interval. 

Walking on to stage as a montage of photos of Peter Frampton over the ages, the band sit throughout the show as an acknowledgement of the health struggles that Frampton is currently facing. Kicking off with Baby (Somethin’s Happening) it’s clear that this is a talented band that has now played together for a number of years and are utterly in synch with each other.   

With 50 + years behind him this is a setlist littered with the Frampton Comes Alive hits like ‘Show Me The Way’ and ‘It’s a Plain Shame’ as well as a few less well known songs from his instrumental albums, backfilled with stories of re-buying his own drums and guitars after they went “missing”, all told with a big happy grin.  

Following his cover of Soundgarden’s ‘Black Hole Sun’ they launch into ‘(I’ll Give You) Money’ which features a fierce guitar interplay with Adam Lester, which is a real highlight of the set, showcasing two guitarists who are happy to play off each other. 

Finishing the main set with ‘Do You Feel Like We Do?’ where the audience get to sing along with the band, Frampton stays on for the encore which ends with ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ which he recorded with George Harrison.  

And with that it’s a standing ovation from the full house before he leaves the stage with his hand on the shoulder of Dan Wojciechowski.  Peter Frampton has given us memories to cherish tonight, but equally memories that will put us in a place back to a time that mean the world to every one of us.  

Some might call him an icon. 

And they’d be right. 

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