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Re: xasop reviews Dutch Zappa concerts
« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2021, 12:40:46 AM »
Tuesday, 3 May, 1988
The Ahoy, Rotterdam



Band

Frank Zappa (guitar, synclavier, vocals)
Ike Willis (guitar, synth, vocals)
Mike Keneally (guitar, synth, vocals)
Robert Martin (keyboards, vocals)
Walt Fowler (trumpet, flugel horn, synth)
Bruce Fowler (trombone)
Paul Carman (alto, soprano and baritone sax)
Albert Wing (tenor sax)
Kurt McGettrick (baritone and bass sax, contrabass clarinet)
Ed Mann (percussion)
Scott Thunes (bass, Minimoog)
Chad Wackerman (drums)


Set lists

All tracks authored by Frank Zappa, except where noted.

The Black Page
I Ain't Got No Heart
The Orange County Lumber Truck Medley [most on Make A Jazz Noise Here]
Advance Romance
Find Her Finer
Big Swifty [a few seconds on Make A Jazz Noise Here]
Texas Motel Medley (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Zappa)
Peaches En Regalia

Sinister Footwear [parts on Make A Jazz Noise Here]
Packard Goose (incl. Royal March From "L'Histoire Du Soldat" (Igor Stravinsky) and Theme From The Bartok Piano Concerto #3 (Béla Bartók))
Heavy Duty Judy [short part on The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life]
Trouble Every Day (incl. Thirteen)
Penguin In Bondage
Hot Plate Heaven At The Green Hotel
Bolero (Maurice Ravel) [The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life]

Joe's Garage
Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?

Stairway To Heaven (Jimmy Page, Robert Plant) (q: Teddy Bears' Picnic (John W. Bratton, Jimmy Kennedy), Dance Of The Cuckoos (T. Marvin Hatley, Harry Steinberg))

I Am The Walrus (John Lennon, Paul McCartney)
The Illinois Enema Bandit (q: Handsome Cabin Boy (trad.))


Review

1988 was a special year, for three reasons. First, the band. This is the largest ensemble Zappa toured the world with since the Wazoo outings of 1972, complete with a horn section and synclavier. Second, the repertoire. Frank had just spent several years digging through his old archives in order to re-release his early albums on CD and compile the first couple of volumes of You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, and he has been inspired to rejuvenate his set lists as a result. Third, the improvs. The 1982 tour had superlative musicianship, and the 1984 troupe were sultans of side-splitting snorts, but this band combined technical skill and juvenile humour like none other.

"Geef mij wat vloerbedekking onder deze vette zwevende sofa" are some of the first words out of Frank's mouth, referring back to the insane 1971 show. After (highly unusually) reading out the set list for the evening, he adds "Black Napkins tomorrow night", in response to an enthused fan with a sign. Without further ado, the band launches into the new age version of The Black Page, as heard on Make A Jazz Noise Here. This song was the opener for most 1988 shows, and what a beast it was. A solid reimagining of a classic tune, and with a satisfying solo to boot.

I Ain't Got No Heart is the treat it always is, spiced up for one tour only by the horn section, which leads us into the first Orange County Lumber Truck medley since 1968. This is the performance released — almost in its entirety, with only the vocal part of Oh No edited in from London — on Make A Jazz Noise Here. If you've heard that album, you already know the majesty of this number, and if not, may you never hear "vloerbedekking" again.

Advance Romance is generously seasoned with "fish bone" as a secret word and garnished with the sort of metal-tinged blues Frank often injected into this song in the '80s. So this is where the variety we missed in 1984 went.

One vanilla Find Her Finer later and we get dumped straight into the Big Swifty theme. Most tours had at least one tune for extended improvs, but in 1988 there were several, and this is the only one we get tonight. Bruce takes first solo on trombone, followed by either Paul or Albert accompanying him on sax (I can't tell if it's an alto or a tenor). Throughout, there are regular breaks in the backing vamp for Frank to doodle around on his synclavier. Then we run through a percussion solo from Ed and a drum/electronic percussion solo from Chad. To be honest, this isn't one of the better '88 improv sessions, but when this sort of thing really took off (such as in Brighton and Munich), you got the calibre of performance heard on Make A Jazz Noise Here. This version is enjoyable, but nothing special.

Always a treat, the Texas Motel Medley is Zappa's reworking of three Beatles songs — Norwegian Wood, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, and Strawberry Fields Forever — with lyrics concerning Jimmy Swaggart's involvement with a prostitute, which took place during the first weeks of the 1988 tour, gifting it this medley, among other variations on songs. Tonight, our Texas motel hooker says — in place of "how 'bout some head?", itself a replacement for "it's time for bed" — "how 'bout vloerbedekking?".

Peaches En Regalia is the perfect cherry on top for the first set, before Frank tells people to go out and buy more beer during the half-hour intermission. When he returns, he reads out the set list for tomorrow's show. "Oh yeah, we'll squeeze that in, don't worry" (to the fan who had raised their sign requesting Black Napkins again).

And then it's time for Sinister Footwear. I always preferred the '82 version of this — it really suffers without Steve Vai's guitar, in my view — but these '88 performances with horn solos aren't half bad. Oh yeah, and this version is partly on Make A Jazz Noise Here, though I'm not sure exactly which part.

The segue from Sinister Footwear into Packard Goose is gorgeous, as is this year's arrangement of the latter. Frank has replaced the guitar solo in the middle with arrangements (by Scott Thunes) of Stravinsky and Bartók compositions, and the result is monocle-popping.

Heavy Duty Judy is always good to hear, and tonight's guitar solo is better than usual for this tune, which is saying something — though it can't hold a candle to the definitive Shut Up 'n' Play Yer Guitar release, of course. A short snippet of the head here is released on the (otherwise from Würzburg) version on The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life.

The Trouble In Bondage At The Green Hotel sequence has been inherited from 1984, but with some changes for the better. First and most notably, the Trouble Every Day guitar solo vamp has been completely excised, and replaced with the Thirteen vamp (as heard on Stage, vol. 6). This beautiful vamp in a bizarre time signature produced some of Frank's best solos in this song since 1974, and tonight's is no exception.

Secondly, we get some of the variation that was lacking from the 1984 performances in these solos, which makes them overall more pleasant to listen to in succession. Finally, the Hot Plate Heaven solo vamp has also been replaced, with the blank canvas-style vamp that can be heard on Broadway The Hard Way. Sometimes it works better than others, and tonight's is a solidly average performance.

Bolero is a sweet way to round out the second set, and is the performance released on The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life. If you haven't heard it, just imagine the Bolero you know and love destroyed by Zappa's trademark graffiti. Simply divine.

The first encore is Joe's Pee, which is a treat to hear for two reasons. First, the 1988 arrangement of Joe's Garage is mercifully not reggae, unlike the 1988 version, sounding much more like the version we had in 1980. Second, the ending (from "turn that down!" onwards) has been reattached, with a rare live appearance of The Central Scrutinizer. The segue into Why Does It Hurt When I Pee? comes later than in earlier live renditions, making this a more complete and more enjoyable rendition than any other tour's. Tonight, Joe appropriately has "coffeeshop gon-o-khackus".

Frank introduces the second encore as "some comedy material", before the band launches into Stairway To Heaven. This is, a few moderately comical interjections aside, a relatively straight version, comparable to the Best Band release. It is nevertheless a nice source of contrast and stands well on its own as an encore here.

The third and final encore is the marvelous I Am The Walrus pairing with The Illinois Enema Bandit. Walrus was usually done straight in '88, although there seem to be some visual antics not captured on this tape, as Ike is laughing too hard to sing at times. Bandit brings us the final and most kickass guitar solo of the evening and some more "fish bone" secret wordage, which is apparently about Bobby choking on a bone in some fish he was eating on a flight. A fitting end to a kickass concert.

This is a very good show. It doesn't feature so many of the laughs that were frequent in other shows in May 1988 (though there are a few), but it makes up for that with a killer set list, excellent musicianship, and better-than-average guitar playing from Frank for '88. It's hard to pick, but this might even be the best show of the thread so far. But hang tight, there's another tomorrow night. See you soon!
« Last Edit: November 20, 2021, 11:08:37 PM by xasop »
when you try to mock anyone while also running the flat earth society. Lol

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Re: xasop reviews Dutch Zappa concerts
« Reply #21 on: November 21, 2021, 02:11:20 AM »
Wednesday, 4 May, 1988
The Ahoy, Rotterdam
Geef mij wat vloerbedekking! Vloerbedekking!



Band

Frank Zappa (guitar, synclavier, vocals)
Ike Willis (guitar, synth, vocals)
Mike Keneally (guitar, synth, vocals)
Robert Martin (keyboards, vocals)
Walt Fowler (trumpet, flugel horn, synth)
Bruce Fowler (trombone)
Paul Carman (alto, soprano and baritone sax)
Albert Wing (tenor sax)
Kurt McGettrick (baritone and bass sax, contrabass clarinet)
Ed Mann (percussion)
Scott Thunes (bass, Minimoog)
Chad Wackerman (drums)


Set lists

All tracks authored by Frank Zappa, except where noted.

Stinkfoot [ending on Make A Jazz Noise Here]
Dickie's Such An Asshole (q: Midnight Sun (Lionel Hampton, Sonny Burke, Johnny Mercer), The Battle Hymn Of The Republic (William Steffe, Julia Ward Howe), Billy The Mountain)
When The Lie's So Big (q: Dickie's Such An Asshole, Bolero (Maurice Ravel), The Battle Hymn Of The Republic (William Steffe, Julia Ward Howe), Happy Days Are Here Again (Milton Ager, Jack Yellen))
Planet Of The Baritone Women (q: Teddy Bears' Picnic (John W. Bratton, Jimmy Kennedy), Dance Of The Cuckoos (T. Marvin Hatley, Harry Steinberg))
Any Kind Of Pain
Jesus Thinks You're A Jerk†
Mr Green Genes
Florentine Pogen (q: Louie Louie (Richard Berry))
Andy
Inca Roads (q: Approximate, Stayin' Alive (Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb))

Eat That Question
Black Napkins
Sharleena
Dupree's Paradise
Marqueson's Chicken
City Of Tiny Lights
Pound For A Brown
The Torture Never Stops Medley*

Keep It Greasey
Cruising For Burgers (q: Handsome Cabin Boy (trad.)) [parts on Make A Jazz Noise Here]

Sofa (q: Billy The Mountain)
Crew Slut


† Jesus Thinks You're A Jerk contains quotations from
  • Light Cavalry Overture (Franz von Suppé),
  • The Battle Hymn Of The Republic (William Steffe, Julia Ward Howe),
  • The Twilight Zone: Main Title Theme (Marius Constant),
  • Entry Of The Gladiators (Julius Fučík),
  • The Old Rugged Cross (Rev. George Bennard),
  • Dixie (Daniel Decatur Emmett),
  • Louie Louie (Richard Berry), and
  • Rock Of Ages (Augustus M. Toplady, Thomas Hastings).

* The Torture Never Stops Medley consists of
  • The Torture Never Stops part 1,
  • Theme From "Bonanza" (Ray Evans, Jay Livingston),
  • Lonesome Cowboy Burt, and
  • The Torture Never Stops part 2;
and contains quotations from
  • Hall Of The Mountain King (Edvard Grieg),
  • Chattanooga Choo Choo (Harry Warren, Mack Gordon),
  • I Love Lucy (Eliot Daniel, Harold Adamson),
  • My Three Sons Theme (Frank DeVol),
  • Mission: Impossible Theme (Lalo Schifrin),
  • This Is The Theme To Garry's Show (Joey Carbone),
  • The Addams Family (Vic Mizzy),
  • Wipe Out (Bob Berryhill, Pat Connolly, Jim Fuller, Ron Wilson),
  • O Superman (Laurie Anderson), and
  • Sharkey's Day (Laurie Anderson).

Review

If yesterday's show was a Flo, this one is an Eddie, and he is not kidding. As with most pairs of shows played in the same city in 1988, these set lists are clearly crafted to entertain the same audience on both nights — there is not a single piece repeated. As with yesterday, this show contains some fine examples of what the '88 band was capable of, although most of them are in the second half of the show. Settle in and prepare yourself.

From the powerful opening chords of Stinkfoot, you can tell it's going to be a great one. "Yes, we will be playing Black Napkins, you can put the sign down now" says Frank. He proceeds to read out the set list for the evening, having "made some changes" since last night. Annoyingly, Frank's set list includes Whipping Post, which appears to either have been dropped or not made it onto this tape. A pity, as it was one of this band's strongest tunes.

Stinkfoot manages, against all odds, to be even groovier than usual, with Frank playing around with rhythms as he repeats the "python boot" line a few times. This incredible band, of course, doesn't miss a beat. For some reason, Frank decides to get quiet and contemplative with his first guitar solo tonight, which — once again beating the odds — works magnificently on this usually-a-much-harder-rocker of a vamp.

The band intros at the end of Stinkfoot are the ones we all know and love from Make A Jazz Noise Here, including the "special case" of Frank getting Ed to rehearse the lick from Dickie's Such An Asshole in response to a fan's complaint. What you don't hear on the album is that this is the beginning of tonight's secret word — "rehearsal".

The so-called "Republican medley", occupying most of the first half of the first set, consists of mostly new compositions for this tour that don't hold a candle to his older tunes, and which — for some reason — he always liked to play as a single group rather than distributing them throughout the show for contrast. Dickie's Such An Asshole — a recycled ditty about Nixon from 1973 — is actually among the better of these, and tonight we get "a rehearsal out of the evening news" and a pleasantly bluesy guitar solo. Ike pretends to fuck up his post-solo rap so he can "have one more rehearsal right now", which gets a cheer out of the crowd and a chuckle from this reviewer.

The "rehearsal" moments continue throughout tonight's Republican medley, from all three of Ike, Frank and Bobby, making it somewhat more bearable than usual. Frank even promotes tomorrow's soundcheck in Dortmund, as the audience seems to be enjoying this demented performance. On the other hand, tonight's Any Kind Of Pain guitar solo is somewhat underwhelming. I suppose you can't win 'em all.

The second half of the first set, though, is one of the best sequences of classic tunes this band had in its repertoire. The segue into Mr Green Genes is music to my ears, and I don't just mean that literally. These arrangements of these songs are well represented on The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life, although here we get a few more "rehearsal" mutations to liven things up, not that it's needed anymore. Frank's solos, as is the sad norm for this tour in these songs, are tasty but nothing spectacular, but the horn solo (from Albert, I think?) in Inca Roads raises the bar a bit. However, these songs have enough oomph to carry themselves well even without great solos. And, finally, "that's Bruce" heralds tonight's intermission.

"Okay, everybody go 'woo' one time" says Frank after coming back out on stage. The much-requested Eat That Question/Black Napkins follows this tidbit of banter, much as heard on Make A Jazz Noise Here. Both Bruce (I think — I'm terrible at identifying horns by ear) and Frank find their groove in Black Napkins, promising greater improvisation for the second set than the first.

Sharleena benefits from the extra horns in the '88 lineup brings with it, sounding dootier than ever before. Unfortunately, though, the verses are still reggae. The guitar solo is over the "Winos Do Not March" vamp from Guitar, and while I slightly prefer the '81/'82 Sharleenas, this vamp almost always elicits guitar magnificence from Frank, and tonight is no exception. I would call this the first truly great solo of the evening, building up gradually into a fury as every good Sharleena should.

Dupree's Paradise is disappointingly short for tonight, with brief but satisfying solos from Walt (I think) and one of the saxophonists (Paul?), before segueing slightly jarringly into Marqueson's Chicken. This Marqueson has also been dooted up for '88, and the old shuffle vamp has been replaced with *checks notes* oh no. No, please no. Oh God no, anything but more reggae. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO—

Mercifully, after a while the band turns the reggae back into a shuffle, and the conclusion of Frank's solo isn't too bad at that point. I'm feeling better now. Moving on, Frank hits us with a faceful of blues right off the bat on his City Of Tiny Lights solo and doesn't let up, making this great solo number 2 for tonight for my money. Oh, and did I mention Chad is fucking tight tonight? This is the kind of energy that makes the '88 band something special.

The best thing about City Of Tiny Lights, though, is that it almost always comes as a pair with Pound For A Brown. And — holy shit — I can't identify which saxophonist is making these noises, but this is by far the best horn solo of the evening. It consists of a series of alternating doots and squeaks that fly by so fast I'm concerned he might develop RSI, with some simply insane accompaniment from Chad. The second Pound solo is from Bruce, who gives us a much more subdued, but no less enjoyable effort.

The usual mid-Pound synclavier and percussion interlude runs for a bit longer than normal, and after a few minutes, dumps us right into a short but sweet drum solo from Chad, which in turn segues into a Bobby keyboard solo. I enjoy this improv session quite a lot more than last night's Big Swifty, with stellar performances from everybody involved. The whole thing rounds off, just as spectacularly as it began, with another sax solo over one of Frank's guitar loops.

The guitar looping segues somewhat awkwardly, yet strangely satisfyingly, into The Torture Never Stops. This is the monster Torture medley, as heard (from a different show) on The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life. The culmination of 13 years of continuous tweaking since this song debuted in 1975 has resulted in a nearly 20-minute song that combines the Chattanooga Choo Choo quote, Frank's Sprechgesang, and many other oddities and references, including an entire performance of Lonesome Cowboy Burt deposited in the middle. Tonight, as usual for this song when there is a secret word, we have more "rehearsal" references in the middle of the Bob Dylan parody section, leading to a Lonesome Cowboy Burt entirely about going to a rehearsal. This simply must be heard to be properly enjoyed.

After Lonesome Cowboy Burt, of course, comes the Torture Never Stops guitar solo, which is very quiet and laid-back though highly enjoyable, though it stops short of greatness. In the final verse, we get one of the better secret word mutations of the evening, in the form of "could it have been some of the catering some of them tasted?" Frank then very tastefully invents the word "creasted" as a rhyme, a satisfying conclusion to the intentional mistakes throughout this very bizarre concert.

Disappointingly, Keep It Greasey contains no secret words tonight, and is otherwise a very unremarkable song. But it does segue into Cruising For Burgers, rearing its beautiful head for the first time since 1977. Frank's guitar solo here may be the best of the evening. It's not quite as frenetic as Sharleena or as heavy as City, but it is much better constructed from start to finish than either of those. Note that although parts of this performance are on Make A Jazz Noise Here, the guitar solo is different (the solo on the album is from Lund the previous week).

Sofa is the treat it always is, and leads us into Crew Slut, which gives Frank one last opportunity for a six-string serenade before leaving Rotterdam for the last time. And while the guitar solo is pretty good, the real treat here is more outbursts of "vloerbedekking!" in between verses from Frank. Even though Whipping Post would have been a better way to say farewell, the conceptual continuity with the 1971 show makes this a nice second-best.

That's all, folks! It's been an interesting journey listening to all of these snapshots in time. The two 1988 shows are definitely the high point, as I expected, but there are a number of other gems tucked away from year to year. I might do another of these threads at some point, but for now that's a wrap, and thanks for reading. Doeg!
when you try to mock anyone while also running the flat earth society. Lol