Frank Zappa Edinburgh Playhouse 14th February 1977

Frank Zappa Edinburgh Playhouse 14th February 1977
zappa77tix“Welcome to our first Edinburgh concert !” Frank Zappa coming on stage in Edinburgh to a massive roar from the Scottish crowd.
This was Zappa’s first visit to Scotland. He played Glasgow Apollo one night, and Edinburgh Playhouse the next. I attended the Edinburgh concert; I had actually bought a ticket for his concert at Hammersmith, but then when he added the Edinburgh date, I decided it would be easier to make the trip north of the border, rather than go to London. In those days there was a late night train from Edinburgh to Newcastle (it doesn’t run now), which meant you could go to a gig at the Playhouse, run round to Waverley station (you had to be quick to catch the train) and be back home in the early hours of the morning. I’d been a big fan of Zappa and the Mothers since I first heard “We’re Only in it for the Money” and “Lumpy Gravy” in the late ’60s. Now those were the coolest of cool lps to carry to school under your arm; I remember having to order my copies of “Lumpy Gravy” and “Uncle Meat” from a local record shop (Bergs) and waiting ages for them to arrive. I was also a big fan of the “Hot Rats” album (another iconic sleeve). I’d been wanting to see Frank Zappa live for ages, and was so excited that I was finally getting the chance to do so. The set was a mix of material from throughout Zappa’s career including the magnificent “Peaches en Regalia” which is my favourite track on “Hot Rats”, back to the start with the Mothers cooky “Big Leg Emma”, full on Wah Wah on “My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama” and an amazing solo on “Black Napkins”. That night I realised that there was much more to Zappa than nutty songs, political statements, doowop, and childish toilet humour; that Frank Zappa was actually an excellent guitarist. Ran into my friend John who was studying in Edinburgh at the time. Had to run to catch the train home, totally knocked out that I had actually seen a genius and one of my all time heroes live in concert.
Setlist: The Purple Lagoon (intro.); Peaches en Regalia; The Torture Never Stops; Big Leg Emma; City of Tiny Lites; Pound for a Brown; Jones Crusher; My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama; Tryin’ to Grow a Chin; Broken Hearts Are for Assholes(with “Little Deuce Coupe” ); Dong Work for Yuda; Manx Needs Women; Titties ‘n Beer; Black Napkins; Dinah-Moe Humm; Camarillo Brillo / Muffin Man
The Zappa Band: Frank Zappa — guitar, vocals; Ray White – guitar, vocals; Eddie Jobson – keyboards, violin; Patrick O’Hearn – bass & Terry Bozzio – drums, vocals. It was great to see local hero Eddie Jobson playing violin with Zappa, it was only a few years earlier we were all dancing to him playing “Hava Nagila” with the excellent Fat Grapple in Sunderland Locarno.
A strange thing. My ticket shows that I had a seat in the front row of the stalls. Now in my memory I can picture myself sitting upstairs in the circle. I’m sure I would have remembered if I was in the front row. All I can think is that my seat was right at the side of the stage and a poor view and that I wandered upstairs and found an empty seat. But hey who knows.

John’s memory: “I can remember going to the show and had a ticket fairly near the front.I did not know much of his material except for the vintage Hot Rats which had been a popular “cool” album in the early 70’s.I went mainly based on his reputation and the fact that he did not play very often. I remember really enjoying the gig and thinking he was an exceptional player , despite not being familiar with a lot of the material. I think Eddie Jobson was in his band at the time. The set included Peaches en Regalia and the highlight of for me was City of Tiny Lites.”

17 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Hockey on March 21, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    another great review Peter. My pals and I went to the Stafford Bingley Hall gig a couple of days earlier (which was not that well attended), mainly out of curiosity. I didn’t know any of his songs at the time but I distinctly remember him playing Dinah-Moe Humm and Titties n Beer as they were cleverly funny of course. I also remember the PA system was bright pink which was the first impression in the cavernous Bingley Hall, and I think Eddie Jobson had a perspex violin which lit up from inside? Aside from the satire and toilet humous I was gobsmacked by Frank’s mastery of the guitar which made a lasting impression. I’d love to have seen him again but it was not to be. We have seen Dweezil’s tribute gig a good few times recently in Manchester, and met him once for signings and handshakes, he was really nice and friendly and impressed that we’d seen his dad all those years ago, but there was no-one quite like Frank. happy days indeed. regards, Michael.


    • Posted by vintagerock on March 21, 2015 at 5:33 pm

      Thanks Michael. I only went to Stafford Bingley Hall twice; once for the Who and again to see Abba. It wasn’t a good venue, and I can imagine Zappa wouldn’t have filled it. Now that you mention yes I do remember Eddie Jobson’s perpex violin.
      I was lucky enough to see Frank Zappa twice more; once at Knebworth in 1978 and at Newcastle City Hall in 1979. I’ll write about those concerts over the next couple of days. Best wishes Peter


      • Posted by Nils Edstrom on March 3, 2021 at 12:23 pm

        I went to the Stafford show… New Bingley Hall on the Stafford County Showground which was a large cowshed basically. Zappa hadn’t sold out (I think the capacity was 7500) and the entire back half of the hall was barriered off and filled with giant farm machinery from a previous show. It was extremely cold queuing to get in and not much warmer inside. Zappa introduced his show with the line “I hope none of you ever have to come to this God forsaken place ever again” The show was an absolute blinder with a very small (for zappa) band.

      • Posted by vintagerock on March 3, 2021 at 1:10 pm

        Hi Nils Stafford Bingley Hall was a strange venue for sure. I went on 2 occasions; once to see The Who and on another occasion to see ABBA, which was all seated. I can remember the smell of hay and cattle to this day. Happy days Peter

  2. Posted by murdo macinnes on May 12, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    ended up here via the usual half pissed fri night youtube journey – anyway i was at the gig and am i right in thinking that before the curtain went up they played ‘tubular bells’ i.e. warm up – and when i say curtain it was the fire curtain i.e. a solid affair which rose as Zappa played behind it – Im sure that happened but my memory is kinda compromised by combustibles !


  3. Posted by murdo macinnes on May 12, 2017 at 10:06 pm

    ps – the edinburgh gig in case of any confusion !


  4. Posted by John on May 11, 2021 at 3:13 pm

    Bit late to the party here! Watching a Zappa Classic Album thing on Sky Arts which prompted me to go looking for info on the Stafford gig which I went to. I wasn’t a big fan and went out of interest and I think I’d read some good reviews. Shit venue but I remember being mightily impressed particularly by Eddie Jobson’s contribution – always partial to a bit of ‘rock’ violin back in the day! Oh, yeah, Frank was awesome too.


    • Posted by vintagerock on May 11, 2021 at 5:51 pm

      Thanks John yes Eddie Jobson is a great violinist and he is also from the North-East and the great band Fat Grapple. Happy days Peter


  5. Just bought Zappa ’88:The Last US show….Fantastic double CD really excellent. I too was at Bingley Hall. To hear Black Napkins was my high spot but of course there was plenty more! Recommend highly the new 88 recording. Don’t miss out


  6. Posted by Ewan Millar on December 6, 2021 at 2:45 pm

    I was at this gig with my girl friend now wife. Came down from Aberdeen university for it. Massive Zappa fan then and still am. Listening to the Edinburgh concert just now. Still sounds great especially the almost 20 minute Black Napkins which I remember vividly. This was just a over month since the legendary New York shows and this set list is similar as is the band (minus the SNL horn section)


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