Peter Frampton/Cardinal Black –
Royal Albert Hall, London, Tuesday 8th November, 2022
Well what an absolute privilege it is to come to the Royal Albert Hall and witness a show here in general, let alone review and photograph it too. It's cool as it it to be in London itself – a city I have come to dearly love in the past few months. From the outside, the R.A.H. is truly a spectacular building to see and inside the architecture is as fascinating to look at, where you find yourself marvelling at all those curves and finishings.
Set List: Tell Me How It Feels/Jump In/Warm Love/I'm Ready/Tied Up In Blue.
Cardiff's Cardinal Black start off the night – a band who have been around since 2010 but their debut album 'January Came Close' has only recently been released.
Th band features Guitarist, Chris Buck and have elements of rock, pop and blues all rolled up into one. They put me in mind of artists like Michael Bolton, Boy On A Dolphin and Curtis Stigers – more of a chilled kinda vibe as opposed to scaring Grandma into having a heart attack at the slightest moment, opening with the slick 'Tell Me How It Feels' warming the people up gradually.
A clinically, note-polished perfect affair in every manner, rounded off with lead male vocals from Tom Hollister that were smooth and strong high and mid range as well as female backings from Tay Cousins topped off with musical arrangements that were well thought out with perfect solos, hooks and accents that did not go overboard and were weaved well into each song.
Their rhythm section was full and solid too with Adam Roberts manning the Drums, the deep low notes coming courtesy of Sam Williams while Gregg Hollister mans the organ.
Tom at times made me think of Joe Cocker due to his hand movements but in cap and glasses instead and on the last song that is the souled-up bluesy ballad 'Tied Up In Blue' he went accapella, showing how good his larynx could work without the need of a microphone saying, “You only get the chance to do that once”.
The man nailed it and completely impressed all in the Albert. This feat alone made people remember them. This Cat from Cardiff can sing for sure.
Set List: Baby (Something's Happening)/Lying/Lines On My Face/Show Me The Way/The Lodger/It's A Plain Shame/Georgia On My Mind (Cover: Hoagy Carmichael)/All I Wanna Be (Is By Your Side)/Breaking All The Rules/Black Hole Sun (Cover: Soundgarden)/(I'll Give You) Money/Baby, I Love Your Way/Do You Feel Like We Do.
Encore: Four Day Creep (Cover: Ida Cox)/I Don't Need No Doctor (Cover: Nickolas Ashford)/While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Cover: The Beatle's George Harrison).
As many fans out there know, this show was due to go ahead in 2020 but the 'you know what' nipped the whole world in the bud! Fast-forward to normal Rock 'n' Roll Times again and at last this memorable concert took place.
Before it began, we were greeted with a large video screen at the back of the stage with a nice big advert for the Tour, that shows a large facial photo of Peter in 70's heyday plus some fab music that got us in the mood.
The lights went down and his long-standing amazing band walked on, with one of the members helping Mr. Frampton get to his chair. He has long-term health issues (Inclusion Body Myositis – IBM for short) making it difficult for him to stay upright for long. He got a massive applause regardless as soon as he was spotted by members of the audience.
His band is made up of Adam Lester (Guitar/Vocals), Rob Arthur (Keyboards/Guitar/Vocals), Dan Wojciechowski (Drums) and Steve Mackey (Bass) who have a tight musical chemistry and sonically seem to freely improvise with and around each other like it is a stress-free, walk in the park.
The concert had an exceptional sound on both vocal and instrumental levels with every single note being crystal clear. It was a 100% perfect mix, acoustically pristine and excellently balanced which is what is what the Royal Albert Hall was built for and is famous for.
It started on a high with '(Baby) Something's Happening' and indeed it was since Peter Frampton was in the house and it was alive! I must say that this whole concert from the start came across extremely intimate.
It was almost like you were sitting in his own living room due to him telling us about about each song and how they came to be including where he was at the time and who was involved somehow in the making one way or another, making it for a much more enlightening and revealing affair as opposed a bunch of songs played one after another.
Standouts with storied introductions to songs included 'The Lodger', 'Lines On My Face' (dedicated to late band members, Keyboardist, Bob Mayo and Drummer, John Siomos) & 'Baby I Love Your Way' that was recorded at Steve Marriott's place one afternoon.
Another cool aspect of the show is that he revealed to us how he came to get the original drum kit of John's back and also the guitar used for 'Do You Feel Like We Do?' referred to as 'The Phoenix' plus equally added humour to the night by saying how unimpressed A&M Records were (who he had re-signed) first-off when he told them he wanted to release an Instrumental Album. LOL!
That album gave Peter a chance to work with Pearl Jam on the Soundgarden's 'Black Hole Sun' whose drummer was previously in the band and did not mind playing it for a second time. We were given a beautiful rendition of the song with the vocal lines on the chorus done in good ole PF Vocoder style, with the late frontman, Chris Cornell appearing on the video-screen at the end of the song which was an extremely touching moment.
Then there was the segment in the show where he swapped his guitar, laughing that he would have been playing a semitone too low so changed from his almighty Gretsch to a Gibson if I remember right. Or what about when he told us the whole band and crew were on Covid protocol, laughing that he had a cold and not Covid, while supping some cough mixture from his white cup!
Many other highlights included his beautiful instrumental interpretation of 'Georgia On My Mind' that appeared on his 'All Blues' Album and went down really well with all the fans in the hall. I was also impressed by the 'I Give You Money' montage on the screen too which featured a few thousand dollars falling.
The encore is well worth raving about too which was an incredible homage and tribute to Steve Marriott in the form of two Humble Pie classics – these being the ballsy milestone blues-rock epics 'Four Day Creep' and 'I Don't Need No Doctor'. I must say it was an emotional moment and I found myself tearing up somewhat since these two songs were my faves from that period in time. It totally blew my mind to hear that opening riff of '...Creep' pipe up. It felt like all my Birthdays and Christmas's had all come at once.
The show closed with a George Harrison gem in the form of 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps', (that appeared on Frampton's 'Now' Album in 2003 with 'The Quiet Beatle' appearing on the video screen. To me, that showed Peter's respectful, thankful and compassionate side. For those of you who did not realise, the man played on some of Mr. H's big hits like 'My Sweet Lord' (uncredited) and 'What is Life?'.
Everyone here appeared to be completely blown away by the entire spectacle and its simply impossible to put into words how exhilarating the whole experience was for both the fans and Mr. Frampton – you really had to be there in person to fully grasp the impact that the final moments had on us all.
A really long, standing ovation touched him deeply whereby he thanked us and said, “Never Say Never” on performing more shows. He did not want call it a day, saying the night had been a dream come true for him. It was a dream come true for everybody since there was so much heartfelt love in the entire Royal Albert Hall.
I have been to many concerts, but hand on heart, this one was truly special. I would dearly love to witness Peter Frampton on stage again because he still has it both vocally and as a virtuoso guitarist. Now will this be out on DVD at some point since there were video cameras capturing the entire event? Time will tell. Until then I can look back on this magnificent show of 2022 and say I was there!
By Glenn Milligan