Archive for the ‘Frank Zappa’ Category

Frank Zappa Newcastle City Hall 13th February 1979

Frank Zappa Newcastle City Hall 13th February 1979
zappatix79After many years of not visiting the UK, Frank Zappa made up for it by coming every year during the period 1977 to 1979. In 1979 I saw his concert at Newcastle City Hall. I went with a group of mates and we had seats quite close to the stage, and a great view of Frank and the band. This was an excellent performance, easily on par with the concert I had seen in Edinburgh a couple of years earlier. Zappa’s guitar playing was simply outstanding and I was delighted that they played the old Mothers’ favourite “Brown Shoes Don’t Make It” and “Peaches en Regalia” from “Hot Rats”.
I found this great discussion about the tour and the setlist: “The setlist for this tour was rather odd – you’d expect an artist who’d released 4 albums (including Sheik Yerbouti, which would come out in the middle of this tour) to be playing the songs from those albums. Frank, however, had been playing some of those songs since 1975-1976, and was ready to ditch them and work on the songs he’d introduced in the previous Fall 1978 tour. zappaprogHe also was doing more and more interviews and business stuff, and so Arthur Barrow, the bass player, was left in charge of most of the rehearsals. This meant that much of the setlist had a tendency to be Arthur’s favorites, as they’re the ones he wanted to spend time on. Hence the appearance of a lot of the One Size Fits All album. The band was the same as Fall 1978s, mostly.” (from Sean Gaffney’s Suitable Case for Treatment blog).
Setlist: Treacherous Cretins; Dead Girls of London; Ain’t Got No Heart; Brown Shoes Don’t Make It; Cosmik Debris; Tryin’ to Grow a Chin; City of Tiny Lites; 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; Yellow Snow Suite (Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow / Nanook Rubs It / St. Alfonzo’s Pancake Breakfast / Father O’Blivion / Rollo); Dinah-Moe Humm; Camarillo Brillo / Muffin Manzappamitch
Thanks to Mitch for the photo which he took at this concert.
Frank Zappa left us far too soon on December 4th 1993, and the music world would never be quite the same. Son Dweezil does an excellent job of playing his dad’s music to a whole new generation of fans.

I’m going to jump out of sequence again for the next week or so. I have a few events to cover that I promised myself I would write about before I completed my project. They are mostly rock related, but one or two aren’t quite. There are about 10 of them, and then I’ll return to Z with Z Z Top to finally close this daily project. Not far to go now.

Frank Zappa & the Tubes Knebworth 9th September 1978

image“Oh God, Not Another Boring Old Knebworth” said the posters. Line-up: The Tubes, Frank Zappa, Peter Gabriel, Boomtown Rats, Rockpile, Wilko Johnson’s Solid Senders.
This was the second Knebworth festival to take place in 1978, following the Genesis / Jefferson Starship / Tom Petty gig earlier in the summer. I remember thinking it was a bit late in the year for an open air gig and feared the worst from the weather, but actually it was ok on the day; quite fine. I drove down with a group of mates. We argued all the way down about who was the “best” act of the day. Such things seemed to matter a lot in those days. In the car we had a big Zappa fan (me, and I was sure that Zappa was the biggest and best act and should be headlining), a newly converted Tubes fanatic, and a couple of Peter Gabriel / Genesis fans. Zappa and the Tubes were billed as joint headliners, however on the day the Tubes closed the show, which annoyed me a little. We camped and pitched our tents near a big generator (big mistake) which for some reason we didn’t really notice when we set up. However it was humming loudly all night and powering a massive floodlight which shone on our tents, so we didn’t get much sleep.
The show was opened by the Boomtown Rats, Wilko Johnson who had recently left Dr Feelgood and was fronting his new band Solid Senders, and Rockpile featuring Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe. All class acts and a great start to the day. I’ve already written about Peter Gabriel and the Tubes in earlier posts. Both were great; the Tubes closed the festival with a massive crazy show. They were joined by Todd Rundgren for encores of Baba O’Reilly and
The Kids are alright, played in honour of Keith Moon who had died just two days before this concert.
Zappa was great, although I didn’t enjoy his performance as much as the concert I saw in Edinburgh the year before. His band had changed and they played very few songs that I knew. Still, it was a good day with a varied, and very strong line-up, although the lack of a major league headliner resulted in a far from capacity crowd.
We spent the night with a big light shining on us, a loud humming noise from the generator, and a few “Wally” shouts (although they were starting to fade away by this point in the ’70s). Very little sleep and a long drive home in the morning.
Zappa setlist: Rubber Slices (The Deathless Horsie); Introduction and Soundcheck; Dancin’ Fool; Easy Meat; Honey, Don’t You Want a Man Like Me?; Keep it Greasey; Village of the Sun; Poor Suckers (The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing); City of Tiny Lites; A Pound for a Brown on the Bus; Bobby Brown; Conehead; Flakes (part 1); Flakes (part 2); Magic Fingers; Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow; Nanook Rubs It; Saint Alfonzo’s Pancake Breakfast; Father O’Blivion / Rollo; Bamboozled by Love
Zappa band: Frank Zappa (guitar, vocals); Vinnie Colaiuta (drums); Arthur Barrow (bass); Ed Mann (percussion); Tommy Mars (keyboards); Denny Walley (guitar, vocals); Peter Wolf (keyboards); and Ike Willis (guitar, vocals).

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.”

Zappa plays Zappa Sage Gateshead 18 November 2011

Zappa plays Zappa Sage Gateshead 18 November 2011
Went to see Dweezil play his dad’s work Apostrophe on Friday at the Sage with my mate Norman. The musicianship was as it always is; faultless. Dweezil is a credit to his old man, and his guitar playing just gets better and better. This time we had the added bonus of Frank himself on video on a couple of tracks. This was very well done, with Dweezil playing alongside his dad. This time we got the Apostrophe album in it’s entirity. I’m not that familiar with that particular album, but do know a few of the tracks. The only request I would have would be for Dweezil and co to play a few more older tracks from the Mothers and Hot Rats days. Last night we got Gumbo Vatiatiosn which was good and Ugliest part of the body. A couple more from We’re only in it for the money, Uncle Meat or Freak Out would be great. Also the set is quite a long one, and for me an interval would be welcome.
Setlist: Gumbo Variations; Yellow Snow; Nanook Rubs It; St Alfonzo’s Pancake Breakfast; Father ‘Oblivion; Cosmik Debris; Exentrifugal Forz; Apostrophe; Uncle Remus; Stinkfoot; What’s The Ugliest Part Of Your Body?; Chungas revenge; City Of Tiny Lites; Inca Roads; People; Fifty Fifty; Cheepnis; Honey Don’t You Want A Man Like Me; Rollo
Encore: Dancin’ Fool; Baby Snakes; Muffin Man


Zappa plays Zappa Sage Gateshead July 27 2010

Zappa plays Zappa Sage Gateshead July 27 2010
It doesn’t seem a year since I saw Dweezil and the band in Edinburgh, but a year it is and here there are back in the UK. And this time they are playing a lot closer to home at the Sage. Laura has heard a lot about Frank Zappa from her Shift-Static band mates so she agreed to accompany me to this latest feast of Frank’s music. In fact Laura tells me that she has listened to 60 (!) of his albums, which is quite frightening, and makes me realise how little of Zappa’s back catalogue I really know.
We arrive at the Sage around 7.15 and the band take the stage at just after the published time of 7.30. Dweezil’s eight piece band seems to be the same as last year; he tells us that it is the last night of the European tour and that they are planning to have fun tonight. The hall is pretty full downstairs with next level also almost full.
The set is a complete mix of Frank Zappa’s music taken from throughout his career. This means that there only a few that I recognise, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying the sheer excellence of the musicianship; these guys must really rehearse to be as tight as this and to recreate the original versions so authentically. Dweezil explains to us that he put the band together to give us all the opportunity to experience the variety and diversity of his dad’s music. He tells us that in the USA Frank Zappa is often seen as a novelty act as the public in general have only got to hear the more cookie songs (Yellow Snow, Titties and Beer etc) and he sort of wanted to put that right. Well he is certainly succeeding in doing so. The band gets a great reception; everyone present clearly loves Zappa music (and they all know more of the songs than Laura and I!). Peaches on Regalia is note perfect and brings back memories, as does Little House I Used to Live in, which is used as a vehicle for improvisation for each band member. Five girls are brought on stage to dance to Keep it Greasy and clearly have a great time. For the last encore we are given the choice of three songs and the biggest roar is for Muffin Man, which sends us all happy. The band close at 10pm clocking at 2.5 hours which is a pretty long set by any standards. It seems to be the norm for Dweezil to hang around on the stage after the end of the show signing autographs for those at the front so we make our way down and I manage to get a flyer signed and a plectrum from Dweezil for Laura.


Setlist (something like):
Purple Lagoon ; Stinkfoot; Bamboozled By Love ; Daddy Daddy Daddy; What Kind Of Girl Do You Think We Are?; T’Mershi Duween; Inca Roads; Blessed Relief; Advance Romance ; The Blue Light; Pick Me I’m Clean; The Little House I Used To Live In; Latex Solar Beef; Apostrophe; City Of Tiny Lites; Peaches En Regalia; Echidna’s Arf; Wild Love; Keep it Greasy; Yo Mama
Encore: Muffin Man



Zappa plays Zappa Edinburgh June 18th 2009

Zappa plays Zappa Edinburgh Picturehouse June 18th 2009

Went to see (Dweezil) Zappa plays Zappa on Thursday night in Edinburgh. I figured it would be interesting to see how Dweezil lives up to his dad’s legend; all reports suggest that he does so very well and that the show is great. I knew it would bring back some memories; the first time I saw Frank Zappa live was at Edinburgh Playhouse in the mid-70s. We’re  only in it for the Money was played a lot in our house in the late 60s; it was one of my favourites albums at the time.

Drove up to Edinburgh at around 4 o’clock. The journey took longer than usual because of traffic; I got into the city at around 7pm. I’d planned to drive through Princess Street, but found it closed due to road works so took a diversion up the Royal Mile, round by the castle, and after a few twists and turns I found myself in Lothian Road and opposite the venue. The Picturehouse is a lovely old cinema which has been recently converted into a rock venue. When I got in all the seats upstairs have been taken (to my dismay, I really do need to sit down these days) so I find a spot close to the front of the stage downstairs. I buy a Suzie Creamcheese t shirt for Laura (have to explain who Suzie is) and make my way back to the front of the stage and wait for the band to come on. 

Dweezil and the band take the stage to a great reaction. “We finally made it to Scotland” he says to a great roar. A lot of people have waited a long time for this. Straight into Black Napkins; great guitar; Dweezil’s playing could well be his dad.  The band is great, great singer, and Sheila on sax, flute and keyboards is a star. The band is tight and plays the Zappa music exactly as meant.

Some of the set list was quite unfamiliar to me. I was hoping for more 60s Mothers material which is the stuff that I know well. But the 2.5 hours went over quickly; the music was great even though I was hearing some of the songs for the first time. To me it was worth going to see them play Peaches en Regalia and Willie the Pimp from Hot Rats alone.
 The place was packed with hard core Zappa fans (both old and young) and they gave Dweezil and the band a great reception.

At the end Dweezil and the band stayed at the front of the stage to shake hands and sign things. It was a bit of a crush, but I managed to get his autograph and a plectrum. The guy next to me was shouting (in a strong Scottish acent) “Dweezil, I’ve got your dad’s autograph and I need yours”. He turned to a young lad by us and said “I’m 56 you know and I saw his dad a few times”. There were several people telling him that his dad would be proud of him. Quite emotional to see really.

Drove back and got home around 1.30am. Very stiff the next morning and have to drag myself out of bed for work  (mental note; always get a seat if I can).

Setlist : Black Napkins-Magic Fingers-Wind up working in a Gas Station-Montana -Pygmy Twilite-Village of theSun-Echindas Arf-Outside Now-Bamboozled by Love-Inca Roads-King Kong (solos incl Careless Whisper on sax!) – Zombie woof -Encores Peaches En Regalia – Bobby Brown  (with music from the band and vocals by the crowd!) – Willy the Pimp


my ticket signed by Dweezil

my ticket signed by Dweezil

plectrum given to me by Dweezil

plectrum given to me by Dweezil