2011 marks the 35th Anniversary of one of the most popular live albums of all time - "Frampton Comes Alive".
The 1976 double-album sent Peter Frampton’s career into the stratosphere, going on to sell more than 6 million copies in the US in its first year alone.
Peter had no idea what was coming or how big the record would become.
“We thought audiences were not getting us on record, but they were getting us live,” Frampton told Goldmine last year. “So we thought gold, 500,000. It sort of did that the first week. I felt like I was in a jet fighter with the canopy off. It was pretty intense.”
Still, Frampton knew there was some magic in the live recording that made up most of “Frampton Comes Alive!”
“I remember the [show] at [the] Winterland [Arena in San Francisco],” he says. “I’d say 75 or 80 percent comes from that one night. It was a very special evening, because it was first time I headlined in San Francisco or anywhere. Up to that point, I was opening or in the middle spot.”
Getting top billing meant Frampton and his band, which included newcomers Bob Mayo on keyboards and rhythm guitar and Stanley Sheldon on bass, would have to expand their repertoire.
“We had 15 minutes of material, so we had to stretch it up,” recalls Frampton. “We put the acoustic spot in — hadn’t done that at all. I think that was the first time we performed acoustically at all. There was so much to think about that I couldn’t think about anything. It just sort of came out, and we had fun in the end. The ovation was so amazing, and it put us so at ease. It was one of these special nights where you go, jeez, I wish we’d recorded that. Well, we did.”
More than three decades later and Frampton is bringing that live magic back in 2011 with the Frampton Comes Alive 35 tour.
“We’ll be doing the set list that we did that night at the Winterland in San Francisco, but we’re not recreating it. That was just one night,” Frampton tells the Globe & Mailthis week.
Fans shouldn’t expect the show to recreate the album note for note.
“No. If you paid me a billion dollars I wouldn’t be able to do it anyway,” laughs the guitarist. “I’m not made that way. I am of the moment, always have been. I’m much better at take one than at take two in the studio.”
“I couldn’t just do Frampton Comes Alive!,” continues Peter. “We’re doing a three-hour concert, with two acts – one act being that record. Things have come around for me, in part because of my Grammy for my ‘Fingerprints’ album in 2007. That to me was a validation, finally, as the first piece of success that I had had that meant something to me since Comes Alive!”
Could Frampton experience another massive wave of success like the mid-70s experience?
“Oh, I don’t think so,” replies Peter. “It was a moment in time when all the stars were aligned. I would never want that kind of ferocious success, though. It was a fury of good and bad. Now I’m more happy than ever to go out there as a musician, and to be appreciated, it seems, on a new high. It seems to have come full circle.”
Peter Frampton – Do You Feel Like We Do
The Midnight Special – aired December 19, 1975