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Пардисфла reviews Dutch Zappa concerts
« on: April 13, 2020, 12:31:51 AM »
Zappa had a number of good shows in the Netherlands over the years, culminating in the famous "rehearsal" concert in Rotterdam in 1988, in which Ed Mann rehearses the percussion lick from Dickie's Such an Asshole live on stage (as heard on Make a Jazz Noise Here). However, I have not heard most of them, so in this thread I will listen to each one throughout his career and review it here.

This will be markedly different from my previous threads reviewing individual tours, as this thread will span many different tours with many different bands across his entire career.

Unfortunately, no Dutch concerts between 1971 and 1976 have recordings available, and so—in order to avoid the omission of a seminal part of Zappa touring history—I will be substituting the shows for several tours with adjacent ones from neighbouring countries (the UK in 1972, Belgium in 1973-74). After all, Brussels is an enclave within Flanders, which everyone knows belongs rightfully to the Dutch.

See ye soon for the first show!
« Last Edit: May 16, 2020, 12:30:47 AM by Пардисфла »
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Re: Parsifal reviews Dutch Zappa concerts
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2020, 03:23:28 AM »
Saturday, 30 September, 1967
Konserthuset, Stockholm, Sverige (Sweden)



Band

Frank Zappa (guitar, vocals)
Ray Collins (vocals, tambourine)
Don Preston (keyboards)
Ian Underwood (keyboards, woodwinds)
Bunk Gardner (woodwinds)
Motorhead Sherwood (baritone sax)
Roy Estrada (bass, vocals)
Jimmy Carl Black (drums)
Billy Mundi (drums)


Set list

The entire show has been officially released as 'Tis the Season to be Jelly in the Beat the Boots series.

All tracks authored by Frank Zappa, except where noted.

You Didn't Try To Call Me
Petrushka (Igor Stravinsky)
Bristol Stomp (Kal Mann, Dave Appell)
Baby Love (Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Edward Holland, Jr.)
Big Leg Emma
No Matter What You Do (incl. Tchaikovsky's 6th Symphony)
Blue Suede Shoes (Carl Perkins)
Hound Dog (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller)
Gee (William Davis, Viola Watkins)
King Kong
It Can't Happen Here


Review

The first thing the casual reader is likely to notice about this concert is that it takes place nowhere near the Netherlands. This tape is from the exceedingly poorly documented first European tour of 1967, from which there are only three shows in circulation. This one is the best sounding of the three, and the nearest to Zappa's first Dutch appearance in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, which took place the previous week. Thus, it is the best available representative of this first transatlantic traipse.

This set list is also an excellent sample of what makes the '60s Mothers such a varied and interesting group to listen to. We start with a medley that begins with a waltz arrangement of a Freak Out! tune, before swiftly rolling through a sequence of classical, doo-wop and R&B covers into the Mothers' new "smash flop single" Big Leg Emma, as Frank puts it. Hearing Roy Estrada screech the words to Baby Love just one minute after the band segues out of an intense Stravinsky composition is simply fantastic, and a uniquely Mothers-esque experience.

The second medley consists of a song Zappa wrote for The Animals (titled "All Night Long" on their album, but "No Matter What You Do" here), including part of Tchaikovsky's 6th Symphony, followed by some more R&B and doo-wop classics. These covers are largely done straight, and make for more very enjoyable listening.

Finally, the show rounds off with a couple of Mothers classics. King Kong is the improvisational beast it always (excepting 1984...) was, presenting us with 18 minutes of continuous and varied doots from the Mothers doing what they do best. Towards the end the band goes very quiet and we get some group vocal improvisations, which segues perfectly into the final piece of the evening when Frank suddenly blurts out "it can't happen here", the title and opening line of another piece from Freak Out!. As performed here, It Can't Happen Here—with its typical weird noises and noodling about—simply feels like the natural conclusion to the King Kong improvisations.

It's a real shame there aren't more tapes of this era in circulation, but that just makes the existence of this excellent quality FM radio recording of an entire show all the more special. The next show will actually be in the Netherlands, I promise.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2020, 11:38:19 PM by Parsifal »
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Re: Parsifal reviews Dutch Zappa concerts
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2020, 11:34:06 PM »
Sunday, 20 October, 1968
Concertgebouw, Amsterdam



Band

Frank Zappa (guitar, vocals)
Don Preston (keyboards)
Ian Underwood (keyboards, woodwinds)
Bunk Gardner (woodwinds)
Motorhead Sherwood (baritone sax)
Roy Estrada (bass, vocals)
Jimmy Carl Black (drums, vocals)
Art Tripp (drums, percussion)


Set lists

Jam (q: Smoke Gets In Your Eyes)
Help I'm A Rock
Transylvania Boogie
Drum Duet
Jam
Dog Breath [Electric Aunt Jemima]

The String Quartet [first part on Electric Aunt Jemima as "A Pound For A Brown (On The Bus)"]
Gas Mask
The Orange County Lumber Truck Medley
Brown Shoes Don't Make It


Review

Well, ain't this a gem. The bulk of this recording—everything except some tuning before each set and the last 15 minutes of music—is from a stage recording made by Don Preston. As such, this is a very good (by 1968 standards) recording of Zappa's second ever appearance in Amsterdam. Rather hissy at times, but what can you do?

Unlike the Stockholm concert from last year, and being without Ray Collins to sing them through more traditional songs, the band dives straight into heavy group improv. The first 7 minutes are a straight jam (if you consider the Mothers' style of wacky improv structured enough to be called a "jam") leading into the Help, I'm A Rock/Transylvania Boogie medley, which is another 13 minutes of mostly solos that dumps us directly into a 6-minute drum duet. Naturally, this is followed by a very dooty 8-minute R&B jam, which segues directly into Dog Breath (still over the excellent beat from the jam) to close the first set.

Aside from an uncharacteristically dull guitar solo from Frank in Transylvania Boogie, this is a solid 34 minutes of brilliant musicianship. From the unbridled chaos of the opening group improv to the insane heights of the drum duet and the head-bopping beat of the closing jam, this runs us through everything the Mothers did best (at least when Ray wasn't on the stage).

After a brief intermission, the band returns to perform The String Quartet, which is an early name for the Pound For A Brown/Sleeping In A Jar medley the Mothers used to perform. Aside from being a badass piece of music in its own right, this serves as a vehicle for another half-hour of solos and jams from the entire band. This is a much more chill affair than the earlier improvisations, with the band plodding along over the same vamp (modulo a shift into a swing feel halfway through) for the entire 20 minutes of Sleeping In A Jar.

Gas Mask (sounding much like the Weasels Ripped My Flesh version, which comes from London the following week) serves as a brief and incredibly weird link into the next medley. Frank makes some jovial commentary about the gas mask ("ever since we went to Germany, it's been that way"), which gets a laugh out of the crowd. I guess you had to be there.

I'm now listening to Let's Make The Water Turn Black—the start of the Orange County Lumber Truck medley—and holy crap do I love this tune. It's not much different from the version on You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, vol. 1 (which is from a show in Connecticut a few months later, and cut into two pieces on the album for some bizarre reason), but this whole medley is one piece I could simply never tire of. After Let's Make The Water Turn Black, it consists of Harry, You're A Beast; The Orange County Lumber Truck; Oh No with solos; and a slower reprise of The Orange County Lumber Truck with more solos. As you can see, there's not much here that isn't on official albums, but Frank's exasperating tendency to slice it up and spread it across multiple different albums makes it all the sweeter to hear it in its original form. There is also an unabridged version from next week's London concert on the album Ahead Of Their Time, to be fair.

Sadly, the stage recording ends around the start of the ending solos from the medley, and so the (very enjoyable) improvisations here must be enjoyed on the (much more faint and echoey) audience tape of the evening. After a while, Frank starts talking, and on this awful quality tape I can just barely make out that he's announcing they're going to attempt to perform Brown Shoes Don't Make It—a song noted for its many, many edits between short, radically different pieces of music on the studio version.

And attempt it the band does! There are a lot of mistakes, and it's not nearly as tight as the 1979 band would get it, which is probably why Frank chose not to release any '60s live versions of this piece. Nevertheless, it's a pleasure to hear the original Mothers play this classic, and a fantastic way to round off the show.

And that solid hour and a half of mostly brilliant improv is it for the original Mothers in Amsterdam! The original Mothers toured in Europe one last time in 1969, but did not return to the Netherlands before the band broke up for good. The next show to review will be from the, uh... controversial Flo & Eddie era. Tot dan!
« Last Edit: April 14, 2020, 01:17:54 AM by Parsifal »
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Re: Parsifal reviews Dutch Zappa concerts
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2020, 11:38:02 PM »
Saturday, 25 October, 1969
Actuel Music Festival, Amougies, Belgique (Belgium)



Band

Roger Waters (bass)
David Gilmour (guitar)
Richard Wright (keyboards)
Nick Mason (drums)
Frank Zappa (guitar)


Set list (with Zappa)

Interstellar Overdrive


Review

And here's one I prepared earlier! Go read all about it in my Pink Floyd thread.

It's worth noting that Frank jammed with several other acts during this festival as well, but I wouldn't bother reviewing any of this if I hadn't already.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2020, 11:40:29 PM by Parsifal »
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Re: Parsifal reviews Dutch Zappa concerts
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2020, 03:42:49 PM »
Thursday, 18 June, 1970
VPRO TV, Uddel



Band

Frank Zappa (guitar, vocals)
Mark Volman (vocals)
Howard Kaylan (vocals)
George Duke (keyboards, trombone)
Ian Underwood (keyboards, alto sax)
Jeff Simmons (bass, vocals)
Aynsley Dunbar (drums)


Set list

All tracks authored by Frank Zappa, except where noted.

Wonderful Wino (Frank Zappa, Jeff Simmons) [At The Circus]
Concentration Moon
Mom & Dad
The Air
Dog Breath
Mother People [At The Circus]
You Didn't Try To Call Me
Agon (Igor Stravinsky)
Call Any Vegetable
King Kong (incl. Igor's Boogie)


Review

This is a Dutch television broadcast from the very first weeks of the Flo & Eddie band, and the very first high quality live recording of this band. As you might expect from such an early recording, it's sloppy in places and riddled with mistakes, but the excellent recording quality (especially for 1970) still makes it a special listen. Unfortunately, the video portion of the broadcast has been lost to time.

This tape opens with 6 minutes of the television presenter asking Frank questions (and translating the answers into Dutch), which is moderately interesting, covers some of the reasons for the original Mothers' breakup, and ends with a segue into the introduction of Frank's newest band.

The presenter comments that Frank once said he wanted to be "as big as The Turtles", and notes that two of his new band members (Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, or "Flo & Eddie" as they would soon become known) are former Turtles members. Cue the obligatory and entirely superfluous shouts of "right on!" from these overly excitable chelonians. Frank then introduces the entire band, along with which groups the various performers were with previously. Aside from Frank himself, Ian Underwood is the only survivor from the '60s Mothers.

The evening opens with "Wonderful Wino", a song that was always more badass live than the studio version that would finally appear on Zoot Allures. To me, the Flo & Eddie version of this tune is definitive, with all other vocalists paling in comparison. Not a particularly intricate composition, just a solid rocker.

"Wonderful Wino" segues awkwardly into a series of original Mothers staples from We're Only In It For The Money and Uncle Meat. As I write this, "The Air" is playing, which may be one of the most underperformed songs of Zappa's entire career. I love this delinquent doo-wop ditty, and Flo & Eddie's voices fit right in like it was written for them (which, of course, it wasn't). "Mother People" is also enjoyable for including the censored "shut your fucking mouth" verse that was cut out of the final release of Money. Otherwise, these are fairly rickety versions of these songs that the band is obviously not yet entirely comfortable with.

"Mother People" segues straight into "You Didn't Try To Call Me", and the show rounds off with a few earlier tunes from Freak Out! and Absolutely Free, with a brief Stravinsky composition thrown into the mix for good measure. "You Didn't Try To Call Me" ends with a guitar solo over Flo & Eddie singing through what sounds like a Leslie cabinet, in a sort of prototype for the reggae ending that would appear later on You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, vol. 1 and Philly '76—though mercifully, it has not yet been reggaeified here. I'm a fan.

And then, we get the Dutch première of the quintessential Flo & Eddie version of "Call Any Vegetable". This tune has been completely rearranged since the original Mothers broke up, but I need not describe it here, as it is essentially the same arrangement heard on Just Another Band From L.A., except that it does not yet contain the extended "where can I go?" antics—Frank's monologue is recited verbatim from the Absolutely Free version. Oh well, at least Flo & Eddie aren't making penis jokes yet either.

The segue into "King Kong" is my favourite of the night, with the band launching right into the main theme after Frank's "what a pumpkin" line. Of course, as soon as you hear the opening to King Kong you know the band is about to forget all about conventional song structure for the next 15 minutes and stretch their legs, and stretch they do. The first soloist is George Duke, who is already giving us premonitions of his '74 performances by playing a stellar organ solo with all kinds of electronic effects on it (I hear what sounds like a ring modulator).

Then we run through a tight rendition of Igor's Boogie, which drops us directly into a Frank guitar solo, which takes us on a journey from the eccentric to the groovy and everything in between. Finally, Ian rounds off the whole affair with some of his trademark doots, carrying Frank's momentum forward without skipping a beat. King Kong ends with a short segment of full-band improv, probably conducted by Frank.

This is a document of the Flo & Eddie band finding its footing, but the show structure and song selection still has much more in common with the original Mothers than the Flo & Eddie we know and, uh... know... from official albums. Given Flo & Eddie's vocal proficiency far exceeds that of their predecessors, this means that even with the shakiness of the performance, the songs in this show are well worth hearing. The King Kong is more reserved than we're used to, but still very well performed. Overall, a good listen with some weak spots.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2020, 04:16:56 PM by Parsifal »
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Re: Parsifal reviews Dutch Zappa concerts
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2020, 06:13:11 PM »
Sunday, 6 December 1970
Concertgebouw, Amsterdam
Early show



Band

Frank Zappa (guitar, vocals)
Mark Volman (vocals)
Howard Kaylan (vocals)
George Duke (keyboards, trombone)
Ian Underwood (keyboards, alto sax)
Jeff Simmons (bass, vocals)
Aynsley Dunbar (drums)


Set lists

All tracks authored by Frank Zappa, except where noted.

The Oak Tree (incl. White Christmas (Irving Berlin))
King Kong (incl. Igor's Boogie, q: Chunga's Revenge)
What Will This Morning Bring Me This Evening?
What Kind Of Girl?
Bwana Dik
Latex Solar Beef
Daddy, Daddy, Daddy
Do You Like My New Car?
Happy Together (Gary Bonner, Alan Gordon)
Who Are The Brain Police?

Concentration Moon
Mom & Dad


Review

Well, my luck was bound to run out eventually. After a run of very good quality tapes, this is the first where the recording quality actually makes the concert difficult to enjoy. It's technically a stereo recording, but it might as well not be, as the only thing I hear that's not perfectly centred is hissing and distortion, and the band itself sounds like it's at the opposite end of the concert hall from the taper (which it probably is). A lot of echo, muffled sounds and poorly balanced mixing plague this recording throughout, and Frank's voice is nearly inaudible. Unfortunately, Flo & Eddie's voices survived intact.

Still, it's not the worst tape I've heard, so let's try to listen past that. The show opens with a Christmas story called "The Oak Tree", "while we fix the electric organ". According to Frank, this is a popular story with Germans because of the way it ends. It's actually very hard to follow the story, partly due to the poor recording quality and partly because a lot of the jokes seem to be visual—there's a lot of laughing going on while nobody in the band is saying anything. As far as I can tell, the band is clowning around on stage and someone—I believe Jeff Simmons—is playing the part of a reindeer. From what I've heard, this was one of the main reasons why Jeff wound up leaving the band, as he didn't enjoy this kind of performance.

The first actual piece of music we get is King Kong, which is an awful lot like the version from the VPRO TV broadcast. George Duke quotes Chunga's Revenge during his solo, and after Frank and Ian take their turns we get a nice drum solo from Aynsley. (The VPRO performance contains extended drum fills in between Ian's playing, but nothing I would call a drum solo.) The tape is muffled enough, however, that it makes all these solos difficult to enjoy.

After King Kong, Frank spends a few minutes introducing the next set, which begins with "What Will This Morning Bring Me This Evening?" from 200 Motels. He gives a brief overview of the subject matter, the details of which I will spare you. The band then plays the song, which I usually find to be a dull one, but here it is a welcome respite from Frank talking about it.

Next we get the big medley that would wind up on Fillmore East—June 1971—well, almost. In this early incarnation, "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy" takes the place that "Willie The Pimp" would on the record, and hence "Latex Solar Beef" consists of just Flo & Eddie screeching the words without the Willie vamp. The rest is largely performed as on Fillmore, from the delightful slow blues of "What Kind Of Girl?" (always a treat in spite of the lyrics) to a 10-minute rendition of "Do You Like My New Car?" (no, the extra 3 minutes aren't any funnier, but we non-Americans do get an explanation of what "the bullet" is).

By the time "Happy Together" rolls around it's the most beautiful sound I've ever heard. To round things off, we get a kickass rock 'n' roll version of "Who Are The Brain Police?" (as heard on Disconnected Synapses), probably by way of apology for giving Flo & Eddie microphones. The concert then ends with a couple of We're Only In It For The Money songs, sounding much, much better rehearsed than they did on VPRO TV 6 months ago, and much more like the versions on Playground Psychotics.

The main redeeming quality of this show is that the poor quality tape is mostly recording poor quality Flo & Eddie material. The Fillmore medley sounds horribly disjointed by the fact that Latex Solar Beef does not yet have proper backing music, and this King Kong isn't remarkable by comparison with other, better recorded, performances. The last few songs redeem the concert somewhat, but it's too little too late. This is why I prefer to forget this band.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2020, 11:30:22 PM by Parsifal »
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Re: Parsifal reviews Dutch Zappa concerts
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2020, 12:46:53 AM »
Sunday, 6 December, 1970
Concertgebouw, Amsterdam
Late show



Band

Frank Zappa (guitar, vocals)
Mark Volman (vocals)
Howard Kaylan (vocals)
George Duke (keyboards, trombone)
Ian Underwood (keyboards, alto sax)
Jeff Simmons (bass, vocals)
Aynsley Dunbar (drums)


Set lists

All tracks authored by Frank Zappa, except where noted.

Paladin Routine (q: Have Gun—Will Travel (Bernard Herrmann))
Call Any Vegetable
Penis Dimension (q: Wipe Out (Bob Berryhill, Pat Connolly, Jim Fuller, Ron Wilson))
Easy Meat

Little House I Used To Live In
Mudshark (q: 409 (Brian Wilson, Gary Usher))
Holiday In Berlin
Cruising For Burgers
What Will This Morning Bring Me This Evening? (q: One (Harry Nilsson))
What Kind Of Girl?
Bwana Dik
Latex Solar Beef
Daddy, Daddy, Daddy
Do You Like My New Car?
Happy Together (Gary Bonner, Alan Gordon)
King Kong (incl. Igor's Boogie, Chunga's Revenge)

Who Are The Brain Police?


Review

This appears to have been taped by the same person as the early show, as the tape suffers from many of the same level and noise problems. To make matters worse, this show is nearly twice as long as the early show and consists of much of the same material. I have a feeling I'm going to regret this.

The show kicks off with the Paladin Routine, which is more of Flo & Eddie clowning around on stage, this time pretending to be cowboys. I won't bore you with any more detail than that.

The first actual song is an extended version of Call Any Vegetable. At its core, this is the same arrangement from the VPRO TV broadcast, but it runs for 18 minutes. There are two reasons for this. The good reason is that the solo section has been extended, and we get lengthy solos from both George and Frank over a much more relaxed vamp. The bad reason is that after the solos, we get Frank blathering on about European pornography and how important the closing words of the song are while avoiding singing them for as long as possible. The one saving grace here is that we learn that the "pig book" and "dog book" referred to in Strictly Genteel are actually European porn magazines, and Flo & Eddie chant "it's the same girl in the pig book as in the dog book" a few times, which is of course entirely necessary to get the point across.

Penis Dimension is next. If you've seen or heard 200 Motels, you know exactly how sophomoric this song is. If you've read the title, you also know exactly how sophomoric this song is. The great blessing here is that Frank has extended this song to 13 minutes for live performance, which is coincidentally how old Flo & Eddie sound while performing it.

Easy Meat is a surprisingly groovy treat to round out set 1, sounding a lot like the 1978 arrangement as heard on Saarbrucken 1978, complete with a tasty guitar solo from Frank—though obviously not yet on the same level of tastiness that we'd get in '78. It's easy to see why this is one of the few pieces from this era that survived to later tours, as despite the lyrics being about as adolescent as everything else in 200 Motels, the music kicks ass.

The next set begins the same way that Fillmore East—June 1971 would, with Little House I Used To Live In, but instead of just singing "la la la" here, Flo & Eddie make themselves sound even less sophisticated, with chants of "penis dimension" and "my penis is a monster" over the top of what was once a classic instrumental. Mudshark is mercifully brief here, dropping us into Holiday In Berlin.

I love this piece even when it's an instrumental, and it's one of the few early Flo & Eddie numbers with lyrics that don't talk about a penis in any capacity, so this one gets a thumbs up from me. This version is like the one on Freaks & Motherfu*#@%!, complete with the guitar solo section that would soon be transplanted onto Inca Roads. The guitar solo itself is nothing spectacular, but not bad. It might just be hearing it hot on the heels of an onslaught of penis jokes, but this is a highlight of the evening for me. It makes a nice pair with the following (after a segue) Cruising For Burgers, too.

Once the applause from Cruising For Burgers dies down, Frank has the courtesy to warn us that what's coming next will be familiar to anyone who was at the early show, presumably so that anyone affected can ready their earplugs. Please read yesterday's review for a full description of how mind-numbingly dull this next medley is. I can't bring myself to write it out again.

The happiest moment of my life came when Happy Together made an awkward segue into a 21-minute rendition of King Kong, which closes the main set for tonight. Aside from the occasional exclamation or squeal from Flo & Eddie for some reason, this gives us a welcome break from this band's usual antics and a return to musicianship.

George goes first, starting out on piano with no accompaniment, and going through a scat section much like The Nancy & Mary Music from Chunga's Revenge (which is a King Kong extract from earlier in this tour). Then we get another piano solo, this time over full-band accompaniment. A very agreeable performance.

After George finishes his thing, the band runs through performances of Igor's Boogie and Chunga's Revenge, which act as a bridge into Frank's very interesting and off-the-wall guitar solo. After an awkward 20 seconds or so of quiet vamping, Aynsley takes the next spot, delivering an enjoyable if subdued effort.

Then, 2 minutes before the end of King Kong, Frank decides that just the thing needed to destroy this piece too is to conduct the audience through mimicry of some of the noises Flo & Eddie have been making while the band behind them does their best to ignore it. Fortunately, this doesn't last very long before Frank ends the song and says goodnight.

The band comes back to do the groovy rearrangement of Who Are The Brain Police? as an encore. At least they left on a positive note.

This show reaches something approximating enjoyable four times: During Easy Meat, Holiday In Berlin/Cruising For Burgers, King Kong and Who Are The Brain Police?. For a 2-hour concert, that is a shocking track record, although it is an improvement over the early show. Before these reviews, I hadn't listened to any 1970 shows in years, and it is my strong hope to repeat that streak now. Good riddance.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2020, 12:56:14 AM by Parsifal »
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Re: Parsifal reviews Dutch Zappa concerts
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2020, 12:54:20 AM »
Saturday, 27 November, 1971
The Ahoy, Rotterdam
Geef mij wat vloerbedekking...



Band

Frank Zappa (guitar, vocals)
Mark Volman (vocals)
Howard Kaylan (vocals)
Don Preston (keyboards)
Ian Underwood (keyboards, alto sax)
Jim Pons (bass, vocals)
Aynsley Dunbar (drums)


Set lists

All tracks authored by Frank Zappa, except where noted.

Zanti Serenade
Call Any Vegetable
Anyway The Wind Blows
Magdalena (Howard Kaylan, Zappa)
Dog Breath
Divan (Once Upon A Time/Sofa/Stick It Out/Divan)
A Pound For A Brown (q: Grand Wazoo)
Sleeping In A Jar
Wonderful Wino (Zappa, Jeff Simmons)
Sharleena
Cruising For Burgers

Peaches En Regalia
Tears Began To Fall
Shove It Right In
Billy The Mountain

200 Motels Finale
I Want To Hold Your Hand (John Lennon, Paul McCartney)
Who Are The Brain Police?


Review

This concert couldn't be more different from last year's shows. Although the band still has Flo & Eddie on lead vocals, the combination of their role being somewhat more restrained and the new material (particularly the two rock opera-style epics, "Divan" and "Billy The Mountain") actually makes their undeniable vocal talents a blessing rather than a curse. Most of the official releases from this band come from a handful of shows, of which most were from the more embryonic US tour and one was the final show of the tour in London using borrowed equipment (after all their touring gear was burnt to a crisp by some stupid with a flare gun in Montreux). This makes tapes such as this one an especially precious resource.

The show opens, as does every European concert from this tour, with Zanti Serenade. This is essentially just Don Preston fooling around with his synth as the rest of the band slowly joins in, in an orgasmic sort of group improvisation. This version is better than the one on Playground Psychotics (from the London show) but not as long or out there as the one on Swiss Cheese/Fire! (from the Montreux show).

We then run through a couple of Mothers classics, including an absolutely kickass Call Any Vegetable guitar solo and a much-better-than-1970 closing monologue from Frank, talking about all the crap that comes floating down to Rotterdam from the rivers in France and Germany. We get a nice segue into Anyway The Wind Blows by means of a story from (I think) Howard about his visit to Amsterdam's Red Light District. The song itself is, as always, excellent, and played at a slow tempo like the one on Swiss Cheese/Fire! and not at all like the one on Freak Out!.

Next up is the Dutch première of Magdalena, sounding much like the Just Another Band From L.A. version, except that this time Howard is going to buy her windmill clocks and wooden shoes. Thankfully, the segue into Dog Breath has survived intact, as one of the better pairings from this band. Dog Breath is also played as on Just Another Band—for my money, the best version of this song that ever was—but with a couple of tasty little guitar solos that were presumably edited out of that album to fit it onto the LP.

Then the show really kicks into gear. Frank announces "the moment you've all been waiting for, the Mothers of Invention singing in Dutch for eight bars". The first part of Divan is, of course, Once Upon A Time (as heard on You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, vol. 1), but instead of the usual German lyrics, we get "geef mij wat vloerbedekking onder deze vette zwevende sofa". According to Frank, the Lord then had to speak in German for the rest of the song to fulfil his contractual obligations, telling the crowd "you can sleep through this part", to which Mark replies "we do". Thus, we are sadly deprived of a version of Divan entirely in Dutch, and the band launches into a Sofa like the one we all know and love.

If you've heard Swiss Cheese/Fire!, Divan proceeds much as on that liberated bootleg. If not, we get a brief monologue from Frank to introduce God's girlfriend and her magic pig, taking us to the original version of Stick It Out. This is nothing like the version that would wind up on Joe's Garage. For one thing, it's not disco. For another, Flo & Eddie sing it much, much better than Ike Willis ever could. This is a song that must be heard before you die. No, seriously.

The final part of Divan (released on its own as simply "Divan" on Playground Psychotics, because apparently Frank couldn't bring himself to release any of his compositions in one piece) has Flo & Eddie chanting ambiently over a quiet waltz beat while the conclusion to the story is told in a variety of very Zappaesque ways that are difficult to describe. I love this song but it's really beyond words. Just get a copy of either Swiss Cheese/Fire! or Carnegie Hall and listen for yourself.

After that mind-blowing experience, we're back in familiar territory with the Pound For A Brown theme. This heralds another fantastic guitar solo from Frank. Where are the official releases of this stuff? How did we get countless fragments of Flo & Eddie chatting about inane crap on Playground Psychotics while beautiful music like this exists? I'm just grateful a community of tapers existed and a community of enthusiasts exists to share recordings like this one, so this material is not lost forever to the ages.

The Wonderful Wino/Sharleena/Cruising For Burgers combo is another classic, showcasing just how enjoyable Flo & Eddie's improvs could be when they're not making penis jokes constantly. This grouping has been released on both Playground Psychotics and Swiss Cheese/Fire!, and there's not much to note here that isn't on those albums. But holy fucking shit can Mark and Howard sing.

After a brief intermission, the band returns to the stage and we get some nice teases from Frank on guitar and someone (I think it's Don) on synth. Then the band launches into Peaches En Regalia, to tremendous applause. This is, of course, the first part in another great medley with Tears Began To Fall and Shove It Right In, which Frank infuriatingly gave us half of on Fillmore East—June 1971 and the other half on You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, vol. 6. The full thing can, of course, be heard on Swiss Cheese/Fire!, and all of these releases are representative of what is played here, though that doesn't diminish its enjoyability. For the record, Shove It Right In is much less dull than most of the 200 Motels live material, which is probably why Frank kept it and dropped the rest.

Then Frank turns it up another notch. He starts by announcing that they're going to play a new piece for the first time anywhere in Europe (which is provably not the case, but anyway) called Billy The Mountain. By now we have several official releases of this, of course, but for the benefit of 1971 concert-goers he gives a brief summary of the story. The song itself is, as usual, adapted for the local audience, with a narcotics crackdown in various named Dutch towns "and numerous others this reporter can't even begin to pronounce", and Queen Juliana being the one seeking a criminal indictment.

Studebaker Hoch is, naturally, a Dutchman in this rendition. The whole band continues making tasteful (unlike in 1970) local (unlike in many later years) references throughout the midsection of the song, making this already a candidate for my favourite Billy The Mountain. But the best is yet to come, as the second half of this 52-minute performance is mostly taken up by the solo section that was tragically cut out of the Just Another Band release.

Don takes the first Billy solo tonight, generally putting the Playground Psychotics version to shame and setting the standard for many George Duke and Peter Wolf solos in years to come. Ian whips it out next on sax, reminding us of why Frank hired him in the first place with some of the most beautiful doots this group ever bore witness to. Even Aynsley gets a turn here, and while he doesn't have the same technical proficiency that later Zappa drummers would, he knows how to rock out and he's not afraid to show us.

Finally, the master steps up to play his guitar. Aynsley's drum solo falls back to nothingness and Frank starts throwing blues licks at us with no accompaniment at all. He eventually picks up a rhythm which both the band and the audience join in with, sounding a lot like the track "Heidelberg" from One Shot Deal. Without a doubt, this is the best guitar solo I have ever heard from Frank at such an early point in his career. And once again, how the hell is there nothing like this on the official catalogue? (Disclaimer: I have yet to hear the Carnegie Hall version, but from what I know that guitar solo is not like this one.)

Frank's solo segues seamlessly back into the Studebaker Hoch theme and the end of this incredible masterpiece, which sounds basically the same as on Just Another Band. Don't fuck with Billy, everyone. The band gets a well-deserved round of deafening applause as they leave the stage.

When Frank returns for the encore, he announces that they are going to play the finale from 200 Motels, to more applause. This version sounds exactly like the one on You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, vol. 6, except for Howard's closing monologue, in which he encourages women to follow his bus back to the hotel in Amsterdam so he can get laid.

With no announcement or warning, the band then launches straight into a deadpan rendition of the Beatles' "I Want To Hold Your Hand". Incidentally, this is also the last song this band would ever perform—in London two weeks later, a fan would get annoyed with Frank for making eyes at his girlfriend during this song, prompting him to climb on stage and push Frank into the orchestra pit. It's a little eerie to hear for that reason.

The final number for tonight is Who Are The Brain Police?, which this band has obviously become extremely comfortable with by now—it has never rocked harder, and Frank gives us one last badass solo effort on his way out. The audience claps along the whole way through, which muffles the sound of the band somewhat but adds a feeling of joviality. And honestly, after a show this good, can anyone blame them?

This 164-minute behemoth is a unique document of the Flo & Eddie band at its peak. The following week, the band's equipment would be destroyed in a fire in Montreux, and the week after that, Frank would get seriously injured by a deranged fan in London, breaking up this band for good. Flo & Eddie would never perform with Frank again. There are no more recordings available of Dutch shows from here until 1976, so the next few shows will be from other countries to fill in the gap. I don't expect them to live up to the majesty of this performance, though. Until next time, vloerbedekking!
« Last Edit: April 25, 2020, 03:03:54 PM by Parsifal »
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Re: Parsifal reviews Dutch Zappa concerts
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2020, 12:54:30 AM »
Saturday, 16 September, 1972
Oval Cricket Ground, London, United Kingdom



Band

Frank Zappa (guitar, vocals)
Tony Duran (slide guitar)
Ian Underwood (synthesizer)
Malcolm McNab (trumpet)
Sal Marquez (trumpet)
Tom Malone (tuba)
Bruce Fowler (trombone)
Glenn Ferris (trombone)
Ken Shroyer (trombone)
Jay Migliori (flute, saxophone, clarinet)
Mike Altschul (woodwinds)
Ray Reed (saxophone, clarinet)
Charles Owens (saxophone, clarinet)
Joanne McNabb (bassoon)
Earle Dumler (oboe)
Jerry Kessler (cello)
Tom Raney (percussion)
Ruth Underwood (percussion)
Dave Parlato (bass)
Jim Gordon (drums)


Set lists

Big Swifty
The Adventures Of Greggery Peccary
Think It Over
Dog Meat

Penis Dimension
Variant Processional March


Review

This show is from the brief but beautiful "Grand Wazoo" tour, and from looking at the list of band members, it should be immediately apparent what is so "grand" about it. This is, obviously, the London show of the tour, which took place the day before the concert in The Hague (of which there are no known recordings). After the loss of Flo & Eddie, Frank seems to have decided to go back on the road with instrumental music while searching for a new lead vocalist—the only "vocals" in this show are Frank's introduction before each piece.

The concert starts off with an 11-minute live soundcheck, which sounds like it would be really boring but is actually a really nice intro, as we get to hear each musician do a brief solo to make sure the audience can hear them properly. Before launching into the first piece, Frank warns the audience that woodwind instruments "in this temperature" (cold, apparently) have a tendency to drift out of tune, and that they'll check periodically if they're still in tune during the show. It's small remarks like this about the environment that remind the listener that it's a real concert—easy to forget when you're listening comfortably to a tape at home.

The band launches into a primordial but tight arrangement of Big Swifty, which is essentially just a vehicle for some dooty solos. Now, I don't know this band nearly well enough to tell you who is soloing, but one of the saxophonists takes the first spot. It's a really good solo, and quotes what sounds to me like King Kong, although it's vague enough that it might just be an incidental resemblence.

The next solo is one of the trumpetists, who gives us some more solid doots, but nothing spectacular. Then Frank steps up on guitar, and gives us what may be the most mellow and contemplative Swifty guitar solo I've ever heard. It's unmistakably Frank's playing style, yet he's much more laid back than the rock 'n' roll we're used to from him. Towards the end, he plays what sounds to me like an embryonic form of Zomby Woof—a quote, or is this a composition in progress?

Frank then introduces "something a little peculiar", and gives us a 2-minute overview of the story of Greggery Peccary we're all familiar with, essentially a condensed form of the lyrics on Studio Tan, except that the "philostopher" is named "Quentin Albert de Nameland" at this early stage. The performance itself is essentially an instrumental arrangement of the orchestral parts that would wind up on Studio Tan. It's very well executed and every bit as enjoyable, but without the rock parts and vocals it feels like the story isn't all there. Nevertheless, the "New Brown Clouds" theme is just as satisfying and intense a closer as on the album.

After a brief pause while the PA system eats it and Frank waits until it stops deafening the audience with a grating buzzing noise, he introduces the next song as "Think It Over". This is an early title for what would be released as "The Grand Wazoo". As on the album, this is a very basic melody tying together what is essentially a simple shuffle vamp used as a solo vehicle. We get some dicey sax doots, followed by some brief keys and slide guitar, before being dropped right into the strangest trombone solo you ever heard.

The first 20 seconds or so of this boner are just bending the same note up and down in weird and wonderful ways, really showing off what a trombone does best, before veering sharply into funky town as the rhythm section follows this soloist into uncharted territory. It wouldn't surprise me if this solo was Bruce's work; this alone would explain why Frank kept working with him over the next 16 years.

We get a more conventional trumpet solo next, which is pleasing but fails to stand out to this listener's ear. After a few more doots from the whole band, we finally get a Frank solo, which... fails to impress at all after the majesty of the doots that preceded it. It might just be the mix on this tape, as I can barely hear Frank's guitar at times, but it really doesn't feel like his heart is in it at all.

After Frank, we have a slide guitar solo from Tony, which is far more satisfying, driving this head-boppy shuffle vamp on to new heights. More horn solos follow, but it's very difficult to hear them by this point—I wonder if the crowd in front of the taper got up to dance, because I have no other explanation for the sudden deterioration in quality.

After another run through the head, the piece closes with a short but sweet synth solo from Ian, echoing the chaos the '60s Mothers used to present us with on a nightly basis. This 20-minute rendition is, on the whole, far more enjoyable than the version on The Grand Wazoo, and I wish there were better quality recordings available from this tour.

Frank introduces the next song as "Dog Meat", explaining that it combines "Dog Breath" with "Uncle Meat". This arrangement, with the big band of this tour, sounds a lot like the orchestral one on The Yellow Shark 20 years later. No doubt Frank was thrilled at this opportunity to add a new dimension to his early compositions. I'm going to stop writing and enjoy this now, as it is one of my all-time favourites and this version is damn fantastic.

For the encore, Frank dedicates the first piece to "the lady who runs the Albert Hall", because "this is the piece we were going to play that kept us out of the Albert Hall". Frank invites anyone who knows the words to "hum right along to yourself", and then the band launches into an instrumental arrangement of Penis Dimension. I must say, the value of this composition really shines through without the terrible lyrics. Mercifully, the section that used to be a Mark Volman monologue is now a short but sweet trombone solo from Bruce.

Penis Dimension segues, as usual for this tour, into Variant Processional March, an embryonic form of the Regyption Strut we know and love from Sleep Dirt. Here, it is played somewhat faster than on that album, but all the pieces are there and it's every bit as brilliant.

A rare example of a purely instrumental Zappa concert from the biggest band he ever toured with, this is a tape to be cherished. The quality isn't consistent throughout, but it's mostly very listenable, and the music is impeccable, with the lengthy improvisations really showing off the standards Frank had for his musicians. Definitely well worth a listen, and I'll see ye soon for 1973.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2020, 01:03:21 AM by Parsifal »
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Re: Parsifal reviews Dutch Zappa concerts
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2020, 12:32:40 AM »
Saturday, 8 September, 1973
Vorst Nationaal, Brussel, België (Belgium)



Band

Frank Zappa (guitar, vocals)
Jean-Luc Ponty (violin)
George Duke (keyboards, vocals)
Ian Underwood (alto sax)
Bruce Fowler (trombone)
Ruth Underwood (percussion)
Tom Fowler (bass)
Ralph Humphrey (drums)


Set lists

The songs announced by Frank but not on the tape are printed like this.

The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue
Kung Fu
Penguin In Bondage
Dog Meat
RDNZL

Village Of The Sun
Echidna's Arf (Of You)
Don't You Ever Wash That Thing?
Music For Broken Drum And Stella Artois
Montana
Be-Bop Tango (Of The Old Jazzmen's Church)

Brown Shoes Don't Make It
T'Mershi Duween


Review

Let me begin by saying that this show is abysmally recorded. I have to concentrate very hard to hear individual details throughout, the tape is missing probably half of the show, and it's also very distorted at times. Nevertheless, the calibre of this band's performance makes it an enjoyable listen.

The first few minutes are a soundcheck similar to the 1972 show, in which Frank introduces each member of the band and they perform a little improv. You can tell Frank is in a good mood because Ruth gets introduced as "Stella Artois", and he introduces George Duke multiple times, once for each keyboard in his arsenal.

Frank scolds the local media and insists they stop taking pictures once the band starts playing so the flashes don't distract the audience, and then announces they are going to start with song from their new album, Montana. The "new album" is, of course, Over-Nite Sensation, which was released the day before this concert. However, Frank immediately changes his mind and says they will do The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue first.

After the first 30 seconds of Eric Dolphy, the tape cuts out, skipping over several songs (including, sadly, some new ones) to take us to Frank's introduction of the next medley, the classic Village/Echidna's/Wash combo from Roxy & Elsewhere. Village Of The Sun has an extended instrumental intro that sounds very different from any other version I've heard. It is sung by George, but the tape cuts out shortly after the vocals start and we get dropped into the middle of Echidna's Arf (which Frank introduces as "Excentrifugal Forz", not to be confused with the piece that ended up on Apostrophe (') with that title).

Don't You Ever Wash That Thing is, naturally, the improvisational hotspot it always was. George Duke gets to show off his chops, which is never a bad thing, and then we get a neat little drum solo from Ralph. I have to say that I prefer the Roxy drum duet with Chester Thompson, but this ain't bad either.

Next up, Frank announces that they have a broken drum that needs fixing before the next song, which turns out to be a blessing, as the resulting "Music For Broken Drum And Stella Artois" (Frank's own title for the full-band improv that fills in this gap) turns out to be a show highlight. George starts out playing a basic repeating rhythm on his synth, and other band members slowly join in until we have a bizarre conglomeration of weird noises from various instruments that somehow works fantastically together. Eventually, this quietens down and we get the first (recorded) Frank solo of the night, a quiet but empassioned affair reminiscent of the "Little House" theme that makes me want, for the first time ever, to actually pick up a bottle of Stella Artois.

Next we have another tape cut that lands us in the middle of Montana, which is impressive, given that the recorded part of the song is already nearly 12 minutes long. It turns out that the reason for this extension is that the usual guitar solo has been replaced with an extended solo section, in which George, Tom and finally Frank each get a chance to strut their stuff, and strut they do! The grooviness of these solos is rivalled only by the distortion on the tape, which makes it difficult to enjoy at times.

Frank then says good night, but that before they go, they will play "probably the most difficult number" in their repertoire, and gives a brief introduction to the Be-Bop Tango. This is not the audience participation extravaganza we would eventually get on Roxy, but instead just a quick run-through of the Be-Bop theme. Nice to hear, anyway.

When the band returns for the encore, Frank announces that "the name of this song is Brown Shoes Don't Make It", to raucous applause. This song is an odd choice with the limited vocal talents in this group. George Duke is an accomplished vocalist, of course, but his voice doesn't really suit this song, and Frank takes most of the other parts (there seems to be a third vocalist I can't identify, too). Nonetheless, the musicianship of this group shines through on this complex number, and makes the vocal deficiencies recede into the background.

Unfortunately, the tape cuts yet again halfway through, and the final snippet we get from this evening is a minute or so of what might be the world première of T'Mershi Duween. This is the only track of the evening in which Ponty's violin makes an audible difference, but after just a minute Frank says good night once more, and the tape ends. Sad!

If you are bothered by poor quality recordings, do not listen to this show. You will only cause great pain for yourself. However, if you can deal with a shitty tape of some of the finest musicianship you'll ever hear, this is absolutely a catch. The main highlight is actually the impromptu Music For Broken Drum And Stella Artois, with Montana and Brown Shoes Don't Make It getting honourable mentions from me. The good news is that I think this is the worst quality tape of the entire thread, and I still find this one (just) listenable, so the rest should be no problem.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2020, 12:38:33 AM by Parsifal »
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Re: Parsifal reviews Dutch Zappa concerts
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2020, 04:52:24 PM »
Sunday, 29 September, 1974
Ancienne Belgique, Brussel, België (Belgium)



Band

Frank Zappa (guitar, vocals)
Napoleon Murphy Brock (tenor sax, vocals)
George Duke (keyboards, vocals)
Ruth Underwood (percussion)
Tom Fowler (bass)
Chester Thompson (drums)


Set lists

Tush Tush Tush
Stinkfoot
Inca Roads
Cosmik Debris
Approximate
Penguin In Bondage
T'Mershi Duween
Dog Meat
Building A Girl
Montana
George Duke improvisation
Florentine Pogen
Oh No (incl. Son Of Orange County)
Trouble Every Day

Pygmy Twylyte
Room Service
Tush Tush Tush


Review

Three years after the loss of Flo & Eddie, Zappa has finally found a replacement lead vocalist, and an equally iconic one for this era as Flo & Eddie were for 1971. Napoleon Murphy Brock was discovered entirely by accident in a nightclub while Frank was on vacation in Hawaii, and his addition to an already musically very strong group created what is widely considered to be Zappa's best touring band of all time. What we have here is a show from a week after the famous Helsinki concert(s), as heard in glorious clarity on You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, vol. 2 thanks to some solid recording engineering from one Jukka Teittinen. Because so much of the material here is the same as that found on the Stage release, with the remainder mostly being represented on Roxy, I will focus in this review on what makes this show different from the (very good, for once) official catalogue.

The show opens, as always for this tour, with Tush Tush Tush, which begins Frank's long tradition of greeting the audience over backing music. Aside from the entirely improvised vocal interactions between Napoleon and George, this sounds much like the version on Stage, which is to say, a nice laid back intro. Just as on the album, this leads us into Stinkfoot, where Frank's solo is a fiesty beast. Nothing out of the ordinary just yet, though.

Inca Roads is, well... Inca Roads. Gorgeous, majestic, breathtaking. This song consistently bore witness to some of Frank's best guitar work throughout his career, and tonight is no exception. For my money, this solo is even better than the Helsinki version, which Frank liked enough to release twice (on One Size Fits All and Stage). This one is far more experimental, with Frank playing around with loads of different themes. Of course, this unbelievable band follows his twists and turns flawlessly.

George's solo is another solid effort, sounding very unmistakeably George, and even outdoing Frank's effort to this listener's ears. I have yet to hear a bad solo from George in this song (or any other, for that matter). All things considered, this version of Inca Roads alone makes this tape worth a listen.

One "on Ruth" later, and Cosmik Debris rears its head. (Sadly, we do not get a RDNZL as on Stage.) This is the tour responsible for Bathtub Man on One Shot Deal, which is an excerpt from the Cosmik Debris solo section from Paris a few days ago, and should give you some idea of what you're in for in this 10-minute rendition. We segue masterfully from "look here Chester" into some of Napoleon's doots, with him starting his solo even as the preceding verse is still ending. What follows is a demonstration of why Frank was impressed enough to ask the guy to join the band—he really goes for it. It's a very different style from what Ian used to do, but still terrific.

George goes next, and this avalanche of blues couldn't contrast more stunningly with the weird noises he was making in Inca. Finally, Frank picks up the guitar and continues to show us how the blues is supposed to sound. Possibly the best Cosmik Debris I've ever heard, rounding off with "you could make your money begging in San Francisco, so don't you waste your time on Ralph". An allusion to wherever his last drummer went, perhaps?

"The name of this song is Approximate, after which Ruth will show us her tits." This is the way Frank introduces the next song tonight. From here, the song proceeds much as on Stage, with the band first playing it, then singing it, and then dancing it. Then Frank makes some more unnecessary comments about Ruth's tits, and by way of apology delivers us the full version of Approximate, complete with solos that are every bit as enjoyable as the ones on Stage.

Approximate segues into Penguin In Bondage here, which—unlike last year's rendition—has survived on this tape. The performance is essentially the same as on Roxy, complete with a nice long solo from Frank. Then we have the T'Mershi/Dog Meat/Girl medley as found on Stage, incorporating a tasty little drum solo from Chester in T'Mershi Duween. This is otherwise familiar (but excellent) material.

Sadly, unlike in Helsinki, there is no shout of "Whipping Post" to prompt Frank to transform Montana into the monster on Stage, and we get a garden variety Montana instead, excepting a change of lyrics to "pluck the floss and whip it around". It is equally sad that we don't get the extended solo section from last year, but just a Frank solo as on Over-Nite Sensation. The good news is that Frank makes up for all this by delivering the goods in his solo, just as we've come to expect for this evening.

Halfway through his solo, Frank steps up to the mic and says "forget about 4/4 for a while", and what results is some incredible rhythmic—or perhaps arhythmic—interplay between Frank and his backing band. Unfortunately, this only lasts for a minute or so until Frank says "and now 4/4 again" and the solo finishes on the merely good level of performance that is the standard for this show. Frank spices up the final verse with some more lyrical variations, including "ride like a piano player" and chanting "Idaho" over the closing "moving to Montana soon".

Next up is the same kind of improvisation from George as on Dupree's Paradise on Stage, but without actually leading into Dupree's Paradise. Frank begins directing George on a finger cymbal, and tonight he's told to "hurt Ruth for a while" after hurting himself. After the customary booger bear mumblings, we get into the meat of the performance, another splendiferous keyboard solo over the "go to the shelter" vamp from Cheepnis. As a fully improvised piece among other material that is very well represented on the official catalogue, this is a retrospective highlight for this show.

It's always difficult to understand the dialogue in these improvisations between George, Napoleon and Frank, but I can make out that Frank leads this nicely into Florentine Pogen by steering the discussion from booger bears to Chester's gorilla. Florentine Pogen, unsurprisingly by now, is much like the version on One Size Fits All, except that it includes the guitar solo section excised from that album. Tonight's solo, you will be thrilled to learn, is a good one. Beats the pants off any '88 solo in this tune, that's for sure.

Oh No is the only song in this entire show not well represented in the official catalogue, this version having waited until 2013 to see the light of day on A Token Of His Extreme. I can't imagine why, since this showcases the amazing potential of Napoleon and George as a vocal duo, and is much more relaxed than the Weasels Ripped My Flesh version.

The second half of Oh No is, of course, Son Of Orange County from Roxy, complete with guitar solo and segue into (More) Trouble Every Day. I'm running out of adjectives here, but I love this Oh No/Trouble Every Day coupling, and this version is a most excellent one, even blowing the Roxy rendition out of the water in my book. This Son Of Orange County solo must be heard to be believed, and the Trouble Every Day effort is short but a fantastic way to round off the main set.

The encore is the Pygmy Twylyte/Room Service coupling as found, once again, on Stage vol. 2. I'm not even sure if I need to tell you by this point that the guitar solo is exceptional, but there it is anyway. Room Service is the mixed bag it always is, and I can't say this one is any funnier than any other, but if you go for this kind of humour you might like it. The show ends with the lead-in to The Idiot Bastard Son, but stops short of actually going into that song, instead closing with a repeat of the Tush Tush Tush vamp. An underwhelming end to what is otherwise a spectacular concert.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but as tremendous as this show is, the excellent official releases from this tour make it not especially worthwhile to hear. The highlights are the heavily improvisational numbers—Inca Roads, Cosmik Debris, George's improv spot and Son Of Orange County, in particular—and the rest is good, but not significantly different from numerous official albums. Anyway, the day before this show, the band played at The Ahoy in Rotterdam, of which there are no tapes available, but this will be the last show in this thread that doesn't take place in the Netherlands. There is no European tour for 1975, but starting from 1976 every Dutch concert is available for listening, so I'll be back for '76 in a bit.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2020, 06:34:48 PM by Parsifal »
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Re: Parsifal reviews Dutch Zappa concerts
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2020, 04:25:42 AM »
You like Zappa, Parsifal?

Heck, my respect for you just went up a notch.

“So we all took a whole bunch of acid, so we could see where it’s at.”

“Itsoverthereitsoverthereitsoverthereitsoverthere”

“And over here also”
“This just shows that you don't even understand the basic principle of UA...A projectile that goes up and then down again to an observer on Earth is not accelerating, it is the observer on Earth who accelerates.”

- Parsifal


“I hang out with sane people.”

- totallackey

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Re: Пардисфла reviews Dutch Zappa concerts
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2020, 11:50:39 PM »
Saturday, 6 March, 1976
Jaap Edenhal, Amsterdam



Band

Frank Zappa (guitar, vocals)
André Lewis (keyboards, vocals)
Napoleon Murphy Brock (sax, vocals)
Roy Estrada (bass, vocals)
Terry Bozzio (drums, vocals)


Set lists

Naval Aviation In Art? (over PA)
Incan Intro
Stinkfoot (incl. The Poodle Lecture)
Dirty Love
Filthy Habits
How Could I Be Such A Fool?
I Ain't Got No Heart
I'm Not Satisfied
Black Napkins
Advance Romance
Honey, Don't You Want A Man Like Me?
The Illinois Enema Bandit
The Torture Never Stops
Chunga's Revenge
Zoot Allures (incl. Ship Ahoy)
Incan Outro

Camarillo Brillo
Muffin Man
Incan Outro


Review

This is an odd little band. First of all, it's very small. Second of all, the entire band has vocal parts. Third of all, this is right about the time Frank decided to rebrand himself as a solo musician and leave the "Mothers of Invention" moniker behind. As such, this band—the last to tour as the Mothers—consists of a weird mix of an original Mother (Roy), a '70s Mother (Napoleon), a new drummer best known for his later work on Zappa's solo albums (Terry) and the token never-seen-on-any-other-tour band member for the year (André). This eclectic assortment of musicians was captured on tape by one Hans Devente, a Dutch local responsible for every recording from 1976 until 1979 that I will be reviewing, and to whom we must be eternally grateful for his dedication in taping these historic concerts.

The show opens, as always for this tour, with the studio version of Naval Aviation In Art being played over the PA system. Over the end of Naval Aviation, Napoleon speaks some gibberish, which leads into a slow, one-chord rendition of the Inca Roads post-solo guitar theme. This segues into a very bare-bones (as is everything with this band) rendition of Stinkfoot, played at a faster tempo than usual, making it feel like quite a different piece from the one we know and love.

There are several things to be said about this breed of Stinkfoot. First, we get a nice squeaky sax solo from Napoleon in the "arf arf arf" section. Second, Frank's guitar solo never failed to be awesome in any Stinkfoot ever. Third, this Stinkfoot brings us the Dutch première of the Poodle Lecture, which gets a few chuckles out of the audience, as it did out of me the first time I heard it. This Poodle Lecture is made a little different by Napoleon's sax fills, but it isn't any funnier.

Dirty Love is as harmless as ever, but then we have the Dutch première of Filthy Habits, and an 11-minute version of it to boot. Napoleon's sax again manages to make this piece sound less sinister than more familiar versions, but no less powerful. The reason for the length of this version is, as usual with early versions of Zappa tunes, that we get more solos. André gives us a synth solo first, which starts out fairly bland—at first, I was convinced I wouldn't like it—but he ramps up into some lovely weird noises I can't begin to describe, which eventually leads us into Frank's solo.

Speaking of Frank's solo, the first part is a lot like the one on Sleep Dirt, albeit a bit less demonesque. This is unsurprising, as the studio recording of this piece came just a couple of months after this concert. But there's a second part that we don't get on the album—the band shifts from the well known 5/4 vamp into a completely new groove in 3/8, and Frank turns on a flanger effect and delivers a much more delicate and reflective performance. It's nice to hear, but ultimately leads nowhere, which is probably why he dropped it before too long.

Ever the master of contrast, Frank has the band segue from the dramatic ending of Filthy Habits into a medley of harmless Freak Out! ditties, renewed with the vocal talents of Napoleon. This version of How Could I Be Such A Fool? is particularly good, managing to capture the almost-sincere parody of the original perfectly while also being a solid rocker. I Ain't Got No Heart has been gifted a tasty guitar outro from Frank, which leads us into I'm Not Satisfied, itself little but a bridge into Black Napkins.

Black Napkins is one of the most requested songs at Zappa's shows—but more on that in 12 years. This is the tour from which the official release on Zoot Allures is cut (from the Osaka show during Zappa's only ever tour of Japan the previous month), but that official release does not do this monster justice. This is a 13-minute extravaganza with lengthy solos from both Napoleon and Frank. And holy shit, this is the most empassioned performance I have ever heard from Napoleon, with none of his usual weird squeaks—just several minutes of the most delicate doots of the decade. Honestly, I was not expecting something this good, and I thought I knew this band. Wow.

Frank's effort couldn't be more of a contrast. He outdoes Napoleon in perhaps the only way possible—by undercutting him in every regard and delivering a laid back, yet beautiful melody, reminiscent of Pink Napkins on Shut Up 'n' Play Yer Guitar (which is from February the following year). Slowly, very slowly, he builds up into something more like the solo we know and love from Zoot Allures. And this is why the official release does not do this piece justice—what you hear on that record is just a tiny fragment of what was really performed by this band, night after night.

Advance Romance is another 13 minutes of mostly solos. Frank leads us into the meat of this number with "look what she did to André tonight, honestly now", and what follows is either a clavinet or very distorted electric piano solo, building up into a frenzy with what sounds to me like a Moog. Whatever is producing these noises, it's a very different beast from the Bongo Fury version, with André's weird, occasionally dissonant, synths sounding almost out of place over Terry's distinctive heavy drumming style.

Naturally, Frank takes second place, once again beginning very quiet and introspective, feeling almost formulaic by this point in the show. But then, suddenly out of nowhere, he turns his overdrive up to 11 and remembers how to play the blues. What follows may be the most hard-hitting guitar solo of this entire thread so far, and certainly of this evening.

The segue into Honey, Don't You Want A Man Like Me? is really weird, with Napoleon wailing uncontrollably over the intro. The song itself also feels really skeletal, with Napoleon and Frank carrying most of the vocal duties, with support from the rest of the band (I'm pretty sure it's Roy doing the "my name is Betty" line in his inimitable falsetto). It is also played quite a bit faster than other versions, even beating the '84 band for once.

Next comes another Dutch première, the tragic true story of Michael Kenyon, with an extended 4-minute intro from Frank, explaining the story in excruciating detail, including the delightful little phrase "ram it up her poop chute and wiggle it around". There follow some on-stage theatrics that are obviously not preserved on this tape, but which get the audience very excited. Frank makes some more tasteless attempts at humour, but you really aren't missing much here.

The song itself sounds very peculiar. For one thing, Napoleon's voice does not suit this number. For another, it's still evidently very new, and the band seems a little uncomfortable with it at times. Of course, none of this matters when Frank picks up his guitar and delivers the goods as only a good Illinois Enema Bandit solo can. It's not a show highlight, but it does redeem this rickety early performance of this tune somewhat.

The rickety Enema Bandit segues seamlessly into a rickety early rendition of The Torture Never Stops. This version sounds, unsurprisingly, like a cross between the original version with Captain Beefheart (as heard on You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, vol. 4) and the later guitar monsters (as heard on Stage, vol. 1). Frank takes the lead vocal, as he would for every performance from here on out, but the feel is still a lot more like it was played with Beefheart.

The Torture guitar solo is a mixture of generic Frank guitar playing and flanger oddness. It's not bad, but with the hindsight of the monster this would become in a couple of years, it simply fails to impress. With Terry's drumming, this actually sounds more like a Punky's Whips solo than a Torture solo to my ear.

After "that's what's the deal we're dealing in", the band launches into the classic opening riff of Chunga's Revenge, but get this—it's played faster than usual. So fast, indeed, that we're already into the solos before a minute has passed, with Napoleon taking the first slot. This band somehow avoids becoming repetitive even with the small number of soloists, with Napoleon's effort here being completely different from his solo in Black Napkins. For one thing, the much faster vamp forces a different feel upon him, but he also takes it upon himself to add more of his signature squeaks and squeals. A satisfying contrast.

Solo number two is Roy doing some vocal ad libs over a basic drum beat. In other words, a somewhat more structured version of Gas Mask. The words are about Ms Pinky, which was being composed about this time, but I think I prefer Roy's improvised lyrics here to Frank's. An unexpected highlight. Towards the end, Frank begins strumming his guitar over Roy's performance, resulting in a neat live cross-fade into the next solo.

The next solo is André again, and I'm beginning to understand why Frank didn't keep him around very long. It's certainly a good solo, it just sounds an awful lot like his other solos this evening. Kind of reminds me of the famous '84 volcano solos, just the same thing night after night.

Then we get the tour de force of this band. The band quickly runs through the Chunga's riff once more, by way of a segue into Terry's solo. A drum solo appeared in this spot every night, and the version from Osaka last month is available on Stage, vol. 3 as "Hands With A Hammer". I think I prefer the Osaka effort to this one, but this ain't bad, and as always it segues into a perfect rendition of Zoot Allures.

This is the pinnacle of Zoot Allures. It's not overly produced as on the album version, and it's not overly instrumented as in the '80s. It's just Frank playing his heart out over minimal accompaniment from what may be his smallest ever touring ensemble. The feedback over these chords emanating from the guitar master's six strings of steel tells a story deeper than any orchestra ever could.

Zoot Allures rounds off with a guitar solo, and for my money, this is the highlight of the evening. Not as sinister as on Filthy Habits, not as beautiful as on Black Napkins, not as in-your-face as on Advance Romance, but none of that matters here. This is just Frank doing what he does best, with only minimal predefined structure, as the band follows his lead.

And then, the finale. The icing on the cake. I am, of course, referring to Ship Ahoy, which was played as a coda to Zoot Allures for every show of this tour. This version is short, but no less sweet than the one on Shut Up 'n' Play Yer Guitar. Simply perfection, to be appreciated as a glass of fine whisky.

The encore is short and simple, consisting of the Camarillo Brillo/Muffin Man pairing that would continue to be an item through to 1984. Roy's falsetto makes Camarillo Brillo even nicer than usual, and Frank kicks ass for one last time tonight in his disappointingly short Muffin Man solo, before the Mothers walk off stage for the last time. The next Zappa band to show up in Amsterdam would be rebranded as a Zappa solo tour.

I'll be honest with you. This show has a lot in common with FZ:OZ (recorded just two months prior), so if you aren't a fan of that album, you may want to steer clear. But in this reviewer's opinion, this tape is well worth seeking out if you want more of that kind of thing, or just more great solos, especially from Napoleon and Frank. Particular highlights are Black Napkins and the closing Chunga's Revenge/Zoot Allures medley. But other than that, it's a (relative) low point between the incredible 1974 Mothers and the much more focused tours of the next couple of years. In short: good, but there's better stuff out there.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2020, 11:26:38 PM by Пардисфла »
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Re: Пардисфла reviews Dutch Zappa concerts
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2020, 12:00:37 AM »
Saturday, 5 February, 1977
Jaap Edenhal, Amsterdam



Band

Frank Zappa (guitar, vocals)
Ray White (cowbell, guitar, vocals)
Eddie Jobson (keyboards, violin)
Patrick O'Hearn (bass, new purple boots)
Terry Bozzio (drums, vocals)


Set lists

The Purple Lagoon
Peaches En Regalia
The Torture Never Stops
Big Leg Emma
City Of Tiny Lights
Pound For A Brown
Jones Crusher
My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama
Tryin' To Grow A Chin
Broken Hearts Are For Assholes (q: Little Deuce Coupe)
Dong Work For Yuda
Manx Needs Women
Titties 'n' Beer
Black Napkins

Dinah-Moe Humm

Cruising For Burgers
Willie The Pimp


Review

This year brings another small group, with new bassist Patrick O'Hearn and new vocalist Ray White—both some of Zappa's most highly regarded musicians—being very welcome additions. Eddie Jobson has taken André's spot on keys, but also would not last for very long. This band is also noteworthy for Frank not being the only guitarist, the beginning of a gradual trend for him to stop playing rhythm guitar and instead act solely as bandleader when not soloing. This is another Hans Devente recording, and it's nice to have consistently good (if not terrific) tapes at this point.

The show opens with a lovely minute or so of quiet noises from various instruments noodling about. The first piece proper is The Purple Lagoon, but this is essentially just the band repeating the main theme as a backing for Frank to come on stage and introduce each performer. He's in a good mood tonight, introducing Patrick as being on "bass and new purple boots".

Peaches En Regalia rears its head in the Netherlands for the first time since the Flo & Eddie era, and this version is necessarily very different, being performed by such a tiny band. It's not at all bad, but this song always suited larger groups better, and Eddie doesn't seem entirely comfortable with the fast keyboard parts.

Peaches segues nicely into Torture, and this year's Torture couldn't be more markedly different from last year's. This sounds a lot more like the studio version, with the exception of a more prominent guitar solo in the middle. The solo is something in between the Zoot Allures and Stage, vol. 1 renditions—Zappa's solos always tended to be more interesting live than in the studio, but this tune has not yet reached the frenetic peaks it would in 1978.

Big Leg Emma rears its head for the first time in a decade, and is the harmless ditty it always is. I love this dumb little song. Anyway, that leads into the Dutch première of City Of Tiny Lights, sung (as it was always sung best) by the world famous Ray White. This piece is still new, and a little rough around the edges, but I dig it.

Tiny Lights does not yet have the solo vamp we know and love from Sheik Yerbouti. Instead, Ray White takes first solo—complete with his signature scat—over the same vamp as the verses. It's a really good solo, too, with Ray already showing off the chops he would put to good use in years to come. Next we have a bass solo from Patrick, and if you have heard Patrick play, this should need no description. For those of you who have not heard Patrick play, he is one of the most talented bass soloists I have ever heard. Even this, which is not one of his best efforts, is still a formidable performance.

Surprisingly, Patrick's solo leads straight back into the post-solo guitar theme, and we don't get a Frank solo in this song tonight. This feels like something is missing to me, but maybe I'm just used to this tune's later status as one of Frank's staple solo vehicles. In any case, Ray's vocal performance on the final verse more than makes up for this, and blows the Sheik Yerbouti version right out of the water (sorry, Adrian).

Tiny Lights leads, as it would continue to do until 1988, into Pound For A Brown, which, as always, is merely an excuse for more solos wrapped in a basic melody. Frank takes first slot, and unusually, he solos over the 7/8 vamp from the main theme rather than switching to 4/4. He starts out very quiet and reflective, but this solo goes on for a solid 5 minutes, and he gradually builds up into an orgasmic frenzy. Not an outstanding effort, but not a bad one either.

The second Pound solo for tonight is a drum solo, which starts out following the 7/8 vamp for a few bars, but quickly switches to... whatever it is Terry feels like doing. This is a very dramatic one, with Terry leaving lots of quiet moments in between his frenzied attacks on his drum kit. A satisfying affair that drops us into Jones Crusher.

A very, very strange version of Jones Crusher. The bridge sounds like the version on Sheik Yerbouti, but the verse and chorus are much more rudimentary, with minimal accompaniment as someone croaks an attempt at a vocal performance. I'm sorry to say that I think it's Ray, and I wish it weren't, because this is clearly a song looking for a band that can perform it adequately.

Three minutes of confusion later, Frank picks up the guitar and begins playing a neat little solo with no accompaniment. This turns out to be an improvised (and very satisfying) intro to a brand new arrangement of My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama. After two whole minutes of getting dirty from the alley with his guitar, Frank starts vamping and the band joins in with the lyrics. The vamp this tour is really funky, with lots of fun little guitar licks from Frank to add a bit of colour. I have never heard this arrangement of this song before, and it may already be my favourite. Why the hell isn't this officially released? Riddle me this, Frank.

Terry gets his Dutch lead vocal début in Tryin' To Grow A Chin, which is played as always—but slow as on Läther, not fast as on Sheik Yerbouti. Broken Hearts follows, again with a tempo to match that on Läther. Tonight's lyrical variations inform us, among other things, that the little sailor has herpes. The song ends with a refrain of "Little Poop Chute", sung to the tune of "Little Deuce Coupe", which is a highlight that sadly never made it onto any official release of this tune.

We now have a tune played faster than normal for a change—an a cappella version of Dong Work For Yuda. For a band with only three vocalists, the harmonies here are fantastic, and Terry's Bald-Headed John impression cracks me up as always. "How you like my promoter, he's very extinct."

Manx Needs Women, though brief, is the rhythm section workout it always is. It couldn't contrast better with the dumb lyrics of the several tunes that preceded it. And, continuing Frank's expert contrast and relief for this show, it segues into the opening vamp of the Dutch première of Titties 'n' Beer, an eternal classic.

The first four minutes or so of Titties 'n' Beer never changed, but then it becomes a blank page for Frank and Terry to exchange wits to their hearts' content. Tonight's version is mostly just Frank talking to himself, but it manages to be entertaining in a dumb sort of way that only Zappa could pull off.

"And the name of this song is Black Napkins", and by golly, he's right. From the very first chord, you just know this is going to be a beast, and at nearly 15 minutes long, this is the longest song of the night. Eddie takes the first solo on violin, beginning in the slow and heartfelt manner that every good Black Napkins does, and leading up into something more... transcendent. This is one of hell of a solo that I can't really describe, but believe me that it sets a new bar for what is already a fantastic concert.

Eddie's solo alone takes up 5 minutes, and then Frank starts plucking at his strings. It's the kind of subtle string-plucking that tells you right from the get-go that he's going to work up to something great, but he'll be taking his time on the way. But he doesn't even attempt to reach the same heights as Eddie, instead taking the road less travelled by, and delivering the goods on something very contemplative but nevertheless satisfying, before leading us seamlessly back into the melody.

Frank continues teasing us with bits of improv throughout the Black Napkins outro, before saying farewell and conducting to the band into a very sudden and dissonant, yet somehow still very final, conclusion to the song. The main set ends all too soon for my liking, given the incredible performance tonight.

"Well because you've been such a wonderful audience tonight, we're going to play one of the most beautiful melodies ever written." This is Frank's eccentric way of heralding the Dutch première of Dinah-Moe Humm, by far his most overplayed song, whose popularity far exceeds its comedic value. You'll excuse me if I take a moment here to contemplate why I ever decided to begin this thread.

Right, that existential crisis has passed. Sorry about that. Anyway, the second encore begins with "a song from the Uncle Meat album", Cruising For Burgers. This is the instrumental arrangement as found on Zappa In New York, complete with a fantastic solo from Frank. Tonight's solo takes a turn for the eccentric, with Frank playing on some scales that interact very strangely with this vamp. This effort gets a thumbs up from me.

Frank's guitar noodling over the ending of Cruising For Burgers turns into the Willie The Pimp vamp, and boy, what a show closer. This arrangement is a lot like the '84 one on Stage, vol. 4, with the "she's so sweet" chorus, but without the increased tempo of that later rendition. Ray's Beefheart impression in particular makes this a formidable arrangement, perhaps another new favourite of mine. Frank's last solo of the evening is also his most kickass, but far too short, heading back into a repeat of the lyrics after only about a minute. Thankfully, Ray manages to make this repetition anything but boring.

What a whopper. This incredible concert is let down only by its inclusion of Dinah-Moe Humm. I have difficulty picking out highlights because nearly every song has something unique or interesting going on, even the ones that don't quite work. The arrangements of My Guitar and Willie are unlike anything I've heard before (on the official catalogue or otherwise) and are already favourites of mine. The solos—particularly in City and Napkins—are excellent. I wasn't expecting this show to be a highlight of the thread, but I'm going to have to call this one out as a must-hear.
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Re: Пардисфла reviews Dutch Zappa concerts
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2020, 08:33:26 PM »
Monday, 13 February, 1978
The Ahoy, Rotterdam



Band

Frank Zappa (guitar, vocals)
Adrian Belew (guitar, vocals)
Tommy Mars (keyboards, vocals)
Peter Wolf (keyboards)
Ed Mann (percussion, vocals)
Patrick O'Hearn (bass, vocals)
Terry Bozzio (drums, vocals)


Set lists

Revenge Of The Knick Knack People (over PA)
The Purple Lagoon
Dancin' Fool
Peaches En Regalia
The Torture Never Stops
Tryin' To Grow A Chin
City Of Tiny Lights
Baby Snakes
Pound For A Brown
I Have Been In You
Flakes
Broken Hearts Are For Assholes
King Kong

Watermelon In Easter Hay
Wild Love
Yo' Mama
Titties 'n' Beer
The Black Page
Jones Crusher
Little House I Used To Live In (incl. The Sheik Yerbouti Tango)
Dong Work For Yuda
Bobby Brown
Envelopes
Drum solo
Disco Boy
Building A Girl

Dinah-Moe Humm
Camarillo Brillo
Muffin Man


Review

Now this is pod racing. This show is from the tour that gave us most of the material on Sheik Yerbouti, being just two nights before "Rat Tomago" and "The Sheik Yerbouti Tango" (from The Torture Never Stops and Little House I Used To Live In, respectively) were recorded in Berlin. As such, you'll excuse me if I refer you to Sheik Yerbouti where these performances don't differ from that album. The band has some new faces, of which Tommy and Ed would continue to perform with Zappa for many years to come, and Adrian and Peter aren't too shabby themselves. And, once again, we owe thanks to Hans Devente for recording this concert, although it's of somewhat lesser quality than the previous two—The Ahoy was well known for its echo (but more on that in 1982).

The show begins with excerpts from Knick Knack People, played over the PA system, followed by the same Purple Lagoon intro as last year. Frank wastes no time with the intros tonight, going through them quickly to get straight into the first new Sheik Yerbouti number of the evening, Dancin' Fool. Nothing out of the ordinary happens in this song, as usual.

Peaches is livened up by the presence of Tommy, Peter and Ed (how could it not be?), and just as last night, it leads into Torture. This is the arrangement of Torture from Stage, vol. 1 (which is from a couple of weeks later in Neunkirchen am Brand), complete with Chattanooga Choo Choo quote just before the third verse. Now, I love Chattanooga Choo Choo, and its appearance in this song would only herald ever greater things as time went on, but that's a topic for a future review.

Frank's Torture solo starts out as sinister and foreboding as always for this tour. It's more bluesy than Rat Tomago and more melodic than the one on Stage, vol. 1, but just as awe-inspiring as either, and Terry's drumming is right there under Frank the whole way. For me, no tour before or since produced such masterful Torture solos, and while this isn't the best I've heard, it's still iets waar je "u" tegen zegt, to borrow a local expression.

What follows is, unsurprisingly, the Sheik Yerbouti arrangements of Tryin' To Grow A Chin, City Of Tiny Lights and Baby Snakes. Terry's vocal variations in Chin, Frank's solo in City and SMPTE standing for "Suck My Pee-pee Towards the End" are all that distinguish this run from the album. Speaking of Frank's solo, this one is a lot better than the album version, as was sadly often the case in the days before he bought his recording truck—most guitar solos on albums were taken from performances in cities where he could rent professional recording equipment.

Pound For A Brown gives us a brief diversion from the familiar material, along with the first ever Peter Wolf solo in the Netherlands. It's impossible to describe the unique keyboard style of Peter, so I won't even try. Instead, I will say that this is every bit as awesome as the track "Pound For A Brown (Solos 1978)" on Stage, vol. 4, but completely different. Tommy Mars gives us the second solo here, just as on that album, but tonight his solo doesn't quite live up to Peter's.

"You guys speak good English or what? Not? Okay, just the song then." Most beautiful words I've ever heard. Frank spares us the "Is That Guy Kidding Or What?" monologue and dives straight into I Have Been In You, which is enough to make this my favourite show of the tour. This is, naturally, the start of another run of Sheik songs, continuing through Flakes and Broken Hearts. Personally, these are some of my favourite songs on that album, so I don't mind this bit all that much. Oh, and Flakes has a nice little keyboard solo that didn't make it onto the album. I can't tell which keyboardist it is, though.

Broken Hearts has grown its "I knew you'd be surprised" ending for this tour, which provides a segue into King Kong. It's nice to hear this song again, having last appeared in Dutch set lists in 1970. Here, it simply serves as a vehicle for a percussion solo from Ed, which is as pleasant as a percussion solo can be. The accompaniment gradually drops off and the solo abruptly ends with some vocal weirdness, before Frank announces that "there will be an intermission so that they can make you drink things". Okay then.

Post-intermission, the tape cuts in with the first notes of the very first Dutch performance of Watermelon In Easter Hay. I've never met a Watermelon I didn't like, and these early '70s Watermelons produced such gorgeous solos that I couldn't possibly begin to describe this one. The Joe's Garage version gives a good indication, but this one is just as beautiful in its own unique way.

We get another couple of Sheik songs next, but with a twist. Wild Love is cut depressingly short on the album, having typically included solos when performed live. After the drum fill that leads into Yo' Mama on the album, we get another round of the guitar riff that follows the Sinister Footwear section, followed by a new vamp with a guitar solo from Adrian (I think—it doesn't sound to me like Frank). It's a really weird solo, though, and it sounds like it's intentionally in a slightly different key from the backing vamp. In fact, these noises are so strange that I can't be certain it isn't a synth set up to sound like a guitar.

This solo leads into the opening beat to Yo' Mama as we know and love it. I love the Yo' Mama solo on Sheik Yerbouti, so believe me when I say that this one gives it a run for its money. It sounds a lot like Heidelberg from One Shot Deal, which is also a Yo' Mama extract, in the sense that Frank picks up a regular beat a couple of minutes in and the audience claps along, producing one of the bluesiest guitar workouts I've heard from this period of Frank's career. The segue back from the blues jam into the Yo' Mama theme is a little awkward, but when the band kicks back into that theme at full power, it's more majestic than words can describe.

Titties 'n' Beer is the harmless entertainer it always is, and for my money, this year's is better than last year's. And, as usual for this tour, Frank introduces his audience participation over the Titties vamp at the end. We also get a lecture about how The Ahoy is run by "a bunch of mercenary assholes", who wanted to charge Zappa $3500 if he wouldn't put an intermission in for the audience to buy beer. "As bad as New York", according to Frank.

We don't get a dance contest in The Black Page, unlike in some shows, but he encourages the audience to clap along, and the piece itself is as enjoyable as ever. This is the "Black Page #2" variant with a disco beat. And, of course, we get the classic segue into Jones Crusher, and this is the full-blown Jones Crusher as on Sheik Yerbouti, not the mess from last year.

Frank's guitar outro from Jones Crusher segues masterfully, of course, into the Little House theme. This brings more solos, starting with the customary piano solo with scat from Tommy. If you've heard one of these '78 Little Houses, you have an idea of what this sounds like, and if you haven't, I could not describe it to you. Tommy quickly moves on from the piano to his signature polytonic synths, giving us what sounds like a full brass section from one man's finger.

Tommy rounds off his solo with some fooling around on the organ based around the main Little House theme, which serves as little more than a segue into the "Sheik Yerbouti Tango" section. Now, this is not the Sheik Yerbouti Tango from the album, but it is the same vamp, with many of the same ideas in the solo, and every bit as delicious. Finally, we have another round of organ/synth madness leading back into the main piano theme, which segues into...

Dong Work For Yuda. This tune has grown some instrumentation since last year's a cappella rendition, but it's not the same instrumentation as we know from Joe's Garage, instead sounding like a blend of '50s R&B and '40s big band. Unfortunately, Frank takes over the Bald-Headed John impersonation from Terry, and doesn't do as good a job of it. Oh well.

Bobby Brown brings the usual moment of disappointment, as it fails to be any different from any other version. But we do get an early version of Envelopes, with lyrics sung by Tommy, unsurprisingly about sex. The real treat here is that Envelopes, rather than ending as it usually does, blends straight into a Terry drum solo. He's lost all restraint since last year, assaulting that drum kit like it's threatening his life. There's also some weird synth noise over Terry's drumming, and I'm not sure if Terry is playing a synth himself or not, but it adds an extra dimension to the whole thing. This is one incredible solo, possibly my favourite Terry solo I've heard yet.

Terry's solo leads into the imbecilic beat of Disco Boy, which sounds no different than ever. This serves as a coda to the main set, with Frank doing the band outros over the Disco Boy vamp, before conducting the band through a performance of Building A Girl to finish. I can think of better closers, but I'm willing to forgive Frank this indiscretion for the rest of this near-flawless concert.

"Alright, let's rock. The name of this song is Dinah-Moe Humm." Oh, no. Not this. Please, anything but this. Aaaaaarghhhhhhhhhhh.

"Oh never mind, we'll do another song, the name of this song is Camarillo Brillo." Thank you, Frank. This is the Baby Snakes arrangement of this song, played faster than usual, except for the final reprise of the second verse, played at half speed. I cannot get enough of this song, and the segue into Muffin Man is the icing on the cake. Tonight's Muffin Man solo is a decent effort, but fails to really go anywhere, leaving the listener yearning for the incredible Yo' Mama an hour earlier. Oh well, encores are supposed to be crowd-pleasers, I suppose.

This is, without a doubt, Zappa's best concert since the "vloerbedekking" show of 1971—and I'm still undecided as to whether this bests even that beast. I'd say this is slightly less worth hearing than last year's show, but only because so much of the material here is much like that on Sheik Yerbouti. The unique highlights, particularly Yo' Mama, Little House and Terry's drum solo, make it very much worthwhile in its own right. And let's face it, this is the Bozzio era at its peak. Next year will be a whole new rhythm section with a whole new set list. See you then, FES.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2020, 08:42:16 PM by Пардисфла »
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Re: Пардисфла reviews Dutch Zappa concerts
« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2020, 11:53:07 PM »
Tuesday, 27 February, 1979
The Ahoy, Rotterdam



Band

Frank Zappa (guitar, vocals)
Ike Willis (guitar, vocals)
Denny Walley (guitar, vocals)
Warren Cuccurullo (guitar)
Tommy Mars (keyboards)
Peter Wolf (keyboards)
Ed Mann (percussion)
Arthur Barrow (bass)
Vinnie Colaiuta (drums)


Set lists

All tracks authored by Frank Zappa, except where noted.

Treacherous Cretins
Dead Girls Of London (Zappa, L. Shankar)
I Ain't Got No Heart
Brown Shoes Don't Make It
Cosmik Debris
Tryin' To Grow A Chin
City Of Tiny Lights
Dancin' Fool
Easy Meat
Jumbo Go Away
Andy
Inca Roads
Florentine Pogen
Honey, Don't You Want A Man Like Me?
Keep It Greasey
The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing
For The Young Sophisticate
Wet T-Shirt Nite
Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?
Peaches En Regalia
Don't Eat The Yellow Snow
Nanook Rubs It
St Alfonzo's Pancake Breakfast
Father O'Blivion
Rollo

Montana
Watermelon In Easter Hay


Review

What a tour this was. Featuring a brand new rhythm section with Vinnie and Arthur, packing the punch of last year's keyboardists and percussionist, and introducing Ike and Denny on vocals, this is one hell of a band. Denny performed with Zappa previously in 1975, and he's back with his signature slide guitar solos and even inspiration for a new song (Jumbo Go Away). Furthermore, the set list is a great mix of oldies we haven't seen in a while (Easy Meat, Yellow Snow), new songs (Dead Girls, Meek) and the staples left over from the other '70s tours. This is the last of the Hans Devente tapes, and also the best sounding one, save for some level fluctuations. Thank you once more, Hans.

The show opens with the band noodling about over excerpts from Läther played over the PA system, which builds the appropriate tension to be resolved by the opening notes of Treacherous Cretins—performed in 11/4 here, unlike the 4/4 version on Shut Up 'n' Play Yer Guitar. As usual for this tour, and for the rest of Zappa's career, the opening number is an instrumental guitar solo vehicle preceding any spoken or sung words. Tonight's Cretins solo carries the majesty expected of a late '70s Zappa solo, being on par with the Shut Up version (from London a week prior).

The band intros are done, as always for this tour, over the "Diseases Of The Band" vamp from Stage, vol. 1. Frank welcomes everyone to "our little Dutch festival", but otherwise the intros are routine, and as usual, introduces "Warren Cuccurullo on guitar" as a way of prompting Warren to pick up the intro to Dead Girls Of London. This version of Dead Girls is played much slower than the one on Stage, vol. 5, and Denny's slide guitar gives it a much bluesier feel than Steve Vai's performance on the aforementioned album release. I like this one a lot.

Next we get a string of oldies, which shows off this band's penchant for doing justice to the classics. No Heart is much tighter than we've heard it in a very long time, but that's just a taste of things to come. This is the band that gave us the Tinsel Town Rebellion version of Brown Shoes Don't Make It, and the incredibly tight segues between the various weird themes in this piece were a nightly occurrence.

The local mutations are always welcome variety, and are moderately entertaining for tonight. After "TV tonight", Frank comments "that's right, watch the VPRO", referring to a public broadcaster in the Netherlands. We also learn that Frank's daughter gets smothered in chocolate syrup "in the great Dutch tradition". This performance is flawless as always, and this piece alone justifies this band's existence.

Brown Shoes segues into Cosmik Debris, which is this year's first disappointment. For one thing, the solo section that was a blank page for the band to sculpt on in 1974 has turned into a Warren Cuccurullo solo, and I'm sorry to say it, but he simply isn't a very good soloist. For another, the "I wrapped a newspaper 'round my head" part has been transformed into hard rock, which always irritated me about later versions of this song. You can't win 'em all, I suppose.

The band then turns to some Sheik Yerbouti songs. Denny has taken over vocal duties on Tryin' To Grow A Chin, but remembers the lyrics tonight, thus depriving us of the Wooly Bully mutations that are the only thing that made this tour's Chins worthwhile (cf. Stage, vol. 1). Tiny Lights has both vocals and a slide guitar solo from Denny, which helps to make this terribly monotonous vamp less dull. Finally, we get to sleep through a bog-standard rendition of Dancin' Fool, bolstered only by Vinnie's incredibly precise drumming through the fast bits.

And then it's Easy Meat time. That's right, you heard right, this song that hasn't shown its face since 1970 is back! It hasn't changed much, except that the guitar solo is much better this time around. This is the tour that gave us Ask Dr Stupid on Trance-Fusion, which is from Eppelheim the following month, and while this solo isn't as good as that one, it does come with all the usual perks of a '79 Zappa solo.

Jumbo Go Away is the second (or third, depending on whether you count Cretins) new song for the evening. This is a song about Denny being chased after by a fat groupie in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and it's played much slower on this tour than the version that wound up on You Are What You Is. This song is actually quite mind-numbing to listen to at this tempo and without the overdubs on the album, so the main highlights are the fast instrumental section in the middle, and the segue into Andy.

This heralds the beginning of three-part medley of One Size Fits All classics. As soon as the main riff from Andy kicks in, you know you're in for a good time. Ike does a remarkably good job of the lead vocal in this number, hinting at great things in years to come. Vinnie, of course, holds the complexity of this piece together as the glue of this band. Unfortunately, Frank neglects to solo, instead having Warren just perform the solo from the album, an oversight that would be more than compensated for in 1988.

The rickety segue into Inca Roads and Ike struggling with the vocal melody are more than overshadowed by the guitar extravaganza to come. This tour produced some of the best Inca solos of all time, of which eight have been officially released on six different albums. Tonight's solo is one of the greats, of the same calibre as the four Inca solos to be found on Shut Up 'n' Play Yer Guitar, and best of all it isn't officially released, meaning this tape is the only way to hear it. Frank plays with so many different ideas, and the band follows him through so many different grooves, that I can't really summarise what this 7-minute solo is like. You'll just have to listen and find out.

As always for this tour, the keyboard solo has been excised from Inca, instead segueing into Florentine Pogen where the solo should be. The second half of Pogen on Stage, vol. 4 is from this tour, and it never really deviated much from that performance, but is still a treat to hear, and this band more than does this classic justice.

The segue into Honey, Don't You Want A Man Like Me? is very smooth, and brings us crashing back down to 1979. What follows is a set of new songs, mostly to be released on Joe's Garage. There are relatively few surprises from these tunes. The Meek is played much slower (of course) and with more slide guitar from Denny (of course). Sophisticate is much more enjoyable here than on Tinsel Town Rebellion, mostly because Warren's guitar is much less prominent in the mix. Wet T-Shirt Nite is always a treat to hear live, this tour being the only time it ever saw the light of day.

Peaches is the "Peaches III" arrangement from Tinsel Town Rebellion, and every bit as delightful as on that album. And then, out of the chaos that ends Peaches, we have the Yellow Snow vamp. This tour is responsible for the Yellow Snow performance on Stage, vol. 1, and that is representative of this version, except that this one lacks the poetry recital.

We do get the usual audience participation, but when Frank tells the audience to stand up, the sound on the tape suddenly becomes very muffled for a while. Frank compliments someone in the audience on her tits, before explaining how to help injure the fur trapper. Thankfully, everyone sits down before too long and I can hear the conclusion of the main set properly.

The encore opens with a flawless rendition of Montana, except that Frank has taken the drastic step of cutting the guitar solo right out, in a set list with precious few solos as it is. Frank then introduces Watermelon In Easter Hay, saying "people aren't usually supposed to play new songs for encores, but what the hey, you can take it". For this I am eternally grateful, as Watermelon was never bad, and tonight's solo is as gorgeous as ever. Most beautiful closer of the thread yet.

This tape is worth getting for the outstanding Inca Roads guitar solo alone. Other than that brief moment of joyous insanity and the beautiful Watermelon closer, this is a fairly routine concert, let down by the '79 tour's rigid set lists with few opportunities for improvisation. Also, this would be Vinnie Colaiuta's only ever performance with Zappa in the Netherlands, for what that's worth. Frank spent the second half of 1979 building his home recording studio, and it would be near the middle of 1980 before he got back on the road. See you soon for the first of the '80s shows.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2020, 12:12:12 AM by Пардисфла »
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Re: Пардисфла reviews Dutch Zappa concerts
« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2020, 10:43:59 PM »
Saturday, 24 May, 1980
The Ahoy, Rotterdam



Band

Frank Zappa (guitar, vocals)
Ike Willis (guitar, vocals)
Ray White (guitar, vocals)
Tommy Mars (keyboards)
Arthur Barrow (bass)
David Logeman (drums)


Set lists

Chunga's Revenge
Keep It Greasey
Outside Now
City Of Tiny Lights
Teenage Wind
Bamboozled By Love
Pick Me I'm Clean
Society Pages
I'm A Beautiful Guy
Beauty Knows No Pain
Charlie's Enormous Mouth
Cosmik Debris
You Didn't Try To Call Me
I Ain't Got No Heart
Love Of My Life
You Are What You Is
Easy Meat
Joe's Garage
Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?

Dancin' Fool
Bobby Brown
Ms Pinky (q: I Love Lucy)

I Don't Wanna Get Drafted
The Illinois Enema Bandit


Review

There are two things noteworthy about this band. First, it is the first time Ike Willis and Ray White performed together with Frank, bringing with them the best vocal harmonies since the Napoleon/Duke era. Second, David Logeman is here as a last minute replacement drummer after Frank fired Vinnie just weeks before the start of the tour. He does a pretty good job given the circumstances, but there is a certain degree of technical proficiency missing that we've come to expect from a Zappa band. This recording in particular is a direct-to-digital capture of a radio broadcast of the show, and as such, it is by far the best-sounding tape of this entire thread. Will the performance live up to the fidelity with which it was recorded? Let us see.

The show opens with a pretty good Chunga's Revenge, and this solo resembles the one released on Shut Up 'n' Play Yer Guitar as "Pinocchio's Furniture", although it isn't quite as good. Following are some Joe's Garage tracks, with Keep It Greasey already showcasing the Ike/Ray interplay we'd come to enjoy lots more of in the '80s. Here is where you can really start to hear that Arthur's bass is very clear and prominent in this mix. In fact, I'm just realising that until now I had never properly listened to the bass part in Greasey.

Every live version ever of Outside Now blows the studio version right out of the water, and tonight is no exception. Joe's, I mean Ike's, vocals make me feel that he's really in the role, with Ray's harmony line feeling like the icing on the cake until Frank starts playing his guitar. And what a solo we have here, easily beating the version on Joe's Garage and perhaps even besting what was until now my favourite on Broadway The Hard Way. Something about this vamp never failed to drive Frank to some of his highest highs in any concert.

We get to appreciate Ray's presence once more as he shows us how City Of Tiny Lights was meant to be sung. Unfortunately, we're a couple of weeks early for the première of the "Carlos Santana secret chord progression" vamp, so instead we have the boring old guitar solo section from Sheik Yerbouti. That doesn't stop Frank from kicking some butt in his guitar solo, but this tired old vamp simply fails to produce anything remarkable.

Next we get a run of new songs, which are a welcome change after the repetitive sets of the '70s. Teenage Wind is played slower here than usual, so it's a little dull, but things soon ramp up with Bamboozled By Love (the original and the best). Frank ruined this tune in later years with all manner of rushed arrangements and (of course) reggae, but here it still sounds like it should sound, like on Tinsel Town Rebellion, only with an even better solo from Frank.

Pick Me I'm Clean is the (far too rare outside of the 1980 tours) treat it always was, complete with what may be the best solo of the show. Unfortunately, this is also where you start to hear the limitations of David's drumming. As solid as he is on the written parts, he simply could not follow Frank's improvisation the same way Vinnie could, and you can hear Frank testing his limits and backing off throughout this solo. The clarity of Arthur's bass also shines through here, making this solo even sound like a duet.

Next is the Society Pages medley, and I don't know if it's just the mix with Arthur way up front, but Society Pages sounds completely different on this tape (for the better). The remainder of the medley proceeds largely as on You Are What You Is, which is to say, splendidly. At one point during I'm A Beautiful Guy, Ike either forgets the words or they aren't written yet, so we get an instrumental rendition of "they're drinking lighter..." instead.

Ever one for variety, Frank throws a few classics our way next. For this tour, Ike plays the solo in Cosmik Debris, resulting in the best arrangement of this piece in 6 years. You Didn't Try To Call Me sounds exactly like the version on You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, vol. 1, which is sourced from this band's US tour. No Heart goes as it always does, and then we get a nice surprise—the first time, somehow, that Love Of My Life has appeared in this thread. This lovely little liedje never fails to be a highlight of any set list it turns up in. I love this one. Just saying.

The Dutch première of You Are What You Is has not yet grown Ray's vocal monologue over the otherwise mind-numbingly dull backing lyrics, making its inclusion entirely superfluous, but it does segue into Easy Meat, which has grown the faux-classical synth overture and accompanying guitar solo vamp found on Tinsel Town Rebellion. Tonight's solo is very introspective and calm, not at all like anything we have on the official releases, but it works really well. At one point, it sounds like Frank might be quoting something, but if so, I can't identify it. My only complaint here is that the segue back into the synth part is very jarring, given how relaxed Frank's playing is.

And making up for that awkward segue, the segue from Easy Meat into Joe's Garage is excellent. Like, smoking a cigar and sipping Scotch with a monocle on levels of excellent. This Joe's Garage has not yet been reggaeified, and it has not yet been ludicrously sped up, so it sounds a lot more like the version we know and love from the album of the same name. Why didn't we get this on Stage instead of the godawful 1984 rendition, Frank?

Joe's Garage segues, as usual, into Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?, which serves to close the main set, but sadly has not yet grown the extended "huuuuuuuuurt... wheeeeeeeeen..." ending, and so we just get Frank saying good night. Oh, and Frank mentions Ray White five times during the band outros, for some reason.

The first encore consists of a few of Frank's more popular hits. This version of Dancin' Fool is livened up by Frank repeatedly introducing Ray White (and, a couple of times, Ike Willis) during the "beat goes on but I'm so wrong" section, along with some more nonsense over the "ki-ni-shinai" bit, making it actually worth hearing for once. Arthur switches to his Minimoog for the bass line in Ms Pinky, which is still quite upfront in the mix. Best of all, Ms Pinky ends with the band playing through the I Love Lucy theme song, for some reason.

"We have a new single that is coming out this week" is how Frank introduces the second encore. I'm glad that Frank has preserved the "I know you're in there" opener for live performance, here recited by either Tommy or Arthur (I can't tell which). Anyway, this song rocks and was one of Frank's most underplayed live, so it's a treat to hear.

Speakng of rocking, I Don't Wanna Get Drafted segues seamlessly into the tragic true story of Michael Kenyon, sung as it was always sung best by Ray, with some terrific supporting harmony from Ike. The solo isn't one of Frank's best, but it's still pretty good as a generic rocker. Naturally, Frank presents us with some more "Ray White" outbursts during the final verse.

This excellent recording feels like something of a waste. Yes it's a good show, yes the band is tight, yes the solos are good, but it all stops at being merely good. It would have been nice to have had this kind of fidelity for 1977 or 1978, or even 1968 or 1971. However, as I've said, it isn't a bad concert, and Frank's solos—particularly in Outside Now, Pick Me I'm Clean and Easy Meat—make this well worth getting for more than simply the songs that were played. And you'll be hard pressed to find a recording of a Zappa show that sounds better—this is on par with the famous Ritz concert from 1981, and better than the loudness war of Buffalo. A keeper for sure, and I'll see you in 1982.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2020, 11:17:12 PM by Пардисфла »
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Re: Пардисфла reviews Dutch Zappa concerts
« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2020, 11:11:55 PM »
Saturday, 15 May, 1982
The Ahoy, Rotterdam



Band

Frank Zappa (guitar, vocals)
Ray White (guitar, vocals)
Steve Vai (guitar)
Tommy Mars (keyboards, vocals)
Bobby Martin (keyboards, sax, vocals)
Ed Mann (percussion)
Scott Thunes (bass)
Chad Wackerman (drums)


Set lists

All tracks authored by Frank Zappa, except where noted.

Zoot Allures
Sofa
RDNZL
Advance Romance
We're Turning Again
Alien Orifice
Harder Than Your Husband
Bamboozled By Love
Young And Monde
Tinsel Town Rebellion (q: Space Oddity (David Bowie))
Approximate (q: Stayin' Alive (Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb))
Cosmik Debris
Sinister Footwear
Stevie's Spanking
Cocaine Decisions (q: Happy Birthday To You (go fuck yourselves))
Nig Biz
Disco Boy
Teenage Wind
Truck Driver Divorce
Broken Hearts Are For Assholes

No No Cherry (L. Caesar, J. Gray)
Strictly Genteel

Drowning Witch
Envelopes

Zomby Woof


Review

This is my favourite Zappa band of all time, and while this show comes quite early in the tour, it is nevertheless highly enjoyable. This concert features the only Dutch appearance of Steve Vai on guitar, as well as the début of Bobby Martin on vocals and the Thunes/Wackerman rhythm section, who would all continue touring with Zappa through the rest of the '80s. This tape is, sadly, not up to the same standard as the last couple of shows, but it's not bad either.

The tape cuts in just in the right place for the opening notes of Zoot Allures. Tonight's Zoot solo is, as it always was for this tour, fantastic. A lot of similarity to When No One Was No One on Guitar, but without the loops found on that track. It does feature a lot of the same playing around with low notes and a slide, which is (to Dutch audiences) new for a Zappa solo. Great solo number one for tonight.

"Welcome to The Ahoy, which is, perhaps, the dumbest name that I've ever heard for a concrete building. The name of the building may be dumb, but the acoustics are worse." That explains the sound on some of these tapes. Frank is in a good mood tonight, introducing the drummer as "the two-headed Chad Wackerman".

The first song following the band intros is Sofa, for the first time since it appeared as part of Divan back in the Flo & Eddie days. For my money, this is the best version of Sofa there ever was, performed as the closing track on You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, vol. 1 (which is from Pistoia and Rome a couple of months later). After Sofa, we get our long-overdue RDNZL, ever since the anonymous taper back in 1973 failed to capture it.

This is the RDNZL arrangement from Stage, vol. 5, but of course, the solos from Frank and Tommy varied from night to night. Frank's solo here is great solo number two for the evening, being not yet as aggressive as the one from Palermo on Stage, but every bit as amazing. Tommy's solo, while usually not very noteworthy on this tour, manages to impress tonight as well, including some quotes from the RDNZL theme on his synth.

After 20 minutes, the first non-instrumental number of the night is Advance Romance, with Ray White showing us, as he usually does, how a song is meant to be sung. This is, once again, the arrangement from Stage, vol. 5. It may not surprise you to learn that this solo is great solo number three for tonight, with Frank showing us some blues that is simply out of this world.

We're Turning Again sounds the way it always does, which is to say, mostly as a link into the far more interesting Alien Orifice. Frank's solo here is good, of course, but I'd stop short of calling it a great solo. It's far too short and leads nowhere.

Next is the impeccable Husband/Bamboozled/Monde/Tinsel/Approximate/Debris '82 medley, containing three guitar solos, two from Frank and one from Steve. You'll excuse me if I elide over how awesome all these segues are for now and focus on the specifics of this show. Bamboozled By Love represents Bobby Martin's first ever lead vocal in the Netherlands, and boy does he kick ass. Frank's solo is, unfortunately, over a reggae vamp that completely ruins the flow of the song, and it's not a very interesting solo either.

Fortunately, Frank makes up for that with an incredible Young And Monde solo, bringing the total great solos for tonight up to four. This solo meanders between sorrowful melodies, unapologetic blues and random weirdness as though they were one and the same, and may be the best solo of the evening yet. During Tinsel Town Rebellion, Frank has to give the audience the obligatory '82 warning not to throw things on the stage. To make up for this, we get a nice "ground control to Grandma Tom" in the middle of the song.

As usual for 1982, Tinsel Town Rebellion doesn't actually finish, instead becoming Approximate after "substance is a bore", which then proceeds as on Stage, vol. 4. This leads into Cosmik Debris, complete with Steve Vai's first ever guitar solo in Rotterdam. This solo is played in typical Steve style, which gets old after a while, but as a first one this ain't bad.

Sinister Footwear follows, as perhaps Frank's best new composition of the '80s, and bringing us great solo number five for the evening. As usual for this tour, it is paired with Stevie's Spanking, which includes solos from Steve and Frank, culminating in some guitar duelling between the two. Steve's solo is better than expected, Frank's is on par (which is to say, fucking amazing), and the finale duel is otherworldly.

Of course, Stevie's Spanking segues into Cocaine Decisions, which is a great opportunity for a quick snooze before Nig Biz. Aside from the usual vocal wonders Ray works in Nig Biz, we have some solid blues solos from Ray, Tommy, Bobby and Frank. These solos aren't quite up to the same standard as on Stage, vol. 3—which is impressive, given that the band was choking on tear gas for the latter—but they're pretty good in their own right, especially Frank's effort, which is the best blues solo we've heard since 1974.

The segue into Disco Boy is a little odd, which is more than made up for by Scott yelling out "you call that music?" during the first few bars. The remainder of the song, and the Teenage Wind rendition that follows, are as uneventful as ever, but their redeeming value is that they lead into Truck Driver Divorce, which Frank transforms into the sixth great solo for tonight, and dare I say, the greatest yet. This is a solo that transcends description, merging so many different styles together at once that I'm not even going to attempt one. Listen to this solo.

The '82 arrangement of Broken Hearts For Assholes that closes the main set is something to behold. The chorus is done in a glorious swing style that sets this version apart from all others. We also get a "work the wall with grandma" mutation, which is a reference to the previous day's antics in Brussels. Sadly, it fails to distinguish itself enough from earlier versions, and the absence of Terry and Patrick really hurts this track, so it's a nice closer, but nothing more. And then, instead of "I knew you'd be surprised", Frank names each band member and ends the main set.

Frank counts in the first encore with no introduction whatsoever, and now we're into the '50s numbers that would so spice up most '80s encores. Tonight we only get No No Cherry, played at the usual '82 tempo, which is slower than on Stage, vol. 4 but every bit as delicious. This segues into Strictly Genteel, performed for the first time ever in the Netherlands, which is perhaps Zappa's most beautiful composition of all time. If you know this song, you know how glorious it sounds, and if you haven't, no description of mine could do it justice.

"We're gonna play a couple of songs from our new album", says Frank at the start of encore number two. These are Drowning Witch and Envelopes, eventually released on Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch. Aside from the usual awesomeness in these tunes, Frank delivers not one, but two more terrific solos in Drowning Witch. I'm running out of descriptive power for these solos, but believe me that these are most excellent indeed. Like, holy shit, dude.

The third and final encore consists solely of Zomby Woof, which gives Bobby one last opportunity to sing his throat out and Frank one last opportunity to solo his fingers off. They both take it, although Frank's solo is not quite as terrific as the rest of tonight's solos. It's still enough to put any previous tour to shame, though. The last notes of Zomby signal the end of the concert, with no farewell from Frank. The perfect ending.

I had recalled this show as a low point of the 1982 tour. Be that as it may, this is a high point of the thread, which just goes to illustrate how incredible this tour is. Nearly every guitar solo in this concert is better than the best guitar solo in most others in this thread. That said, being as there are way better 1982 shows, you're probably better off seeking out one of those, unless you specifically want to hear a fantastic Dutch performance. Since I've reviewed this show before as part of my 1982 tour extravaganza, I'll post my previous review below for comparison. See you soon for the controversial 1984 tour.


Previous review (written 15 May, 2013)

Maybe I'm biased after last night's exceptional performance, but it just doesn't feel like Frank or the band is giving it their all tonight. We start off with a pretty good Zoot Allures before veering sharply off course into a series of mediocre performances.

Sofa feels out of place this early in the set, the segue into RDNZL is jarring, the solos in RDNZL and Advance Romance are passable at best, and We're Turning Again/Alien Orifice sounds dull tonight. Things seem to liven up a bit when we get into Harder Than Your Husband -- not often performed in '82, and all the more appreciated for that, and the band manages to keep things interesting through Bamboozled By Love and into Young and Monde.

Young and Monde's guitar solo is again passable, but nothing special. This takes us to Tinsel Town Rebellion, and this is the night that changes the song for the rest of the tour. After mutilating a quote from Bowie's "Space Oddity" ("ground control to grandma Tom"), Frank suddenly instructs the band to play Approximate all the way through, instead of simply as backing music for his monologue as previously. Tinsel Town Rebellion is left incomplete, but instead we're treated to an excellent Approximate (complete with "Stayin' Alive" quote), and a somewhat uneasy segue into Cosmik Debris as the band figures out if that's what Frank meant for them to play next.

Sinister Footwear II is never dull, but tonight's guitar solo is, as well as the solos in Stevie's Spanking. It sounds like Frank is idly fidgeting with his guitar strings while his attention is on something outside the window, and Steve Vai's energy just isn't enough to carry the tune by himself. Cocaine Biz is similarly sub-par, but once again, Truck Driver Divorce redeems the evening and the show with another incredible solo from Frank. It seems that with this vamp, he simply can do no wrong, no matter how the rest of the show is going.

To round things off, we get the first Broken Hearts Are For Assholes of '82. For this tour, the chorus has been re-arranged into a cheesy big band show tune sort of deal, and we feel as if we've been thrust headlong into a horrible 1930s musical. Other than that, it's mostly the same as on Sheik Yerbouti, though of course with some rearranged vocals, and of course tonight you're working the wall with grandma instead of Michael.

Frank has decided to experiment with encore set lists tonight, and while the flow doesn't really work, the performances aren't bad. No No Cherry is starting to sound more soulful, Strictly Genteel is as it always is, and we have the first really good Drowning Witch of the tour, though it was a terrible choice to perform it as an encore -- it fits much better around the middle of the set list.

Zomby Woof is a fairly average performance tonight, but is always a nice way to round off a concert.

This show isn't a bad listen, but there are more boring bits than your average '82 concert. Don't get this unless you already have a number of '82 tapes and are on the lookout for more.
when you try to mock anyone while also running the flat earth society. Lol