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(Pic is actually from Bath Music Festival later that summer)

1970/03/07 Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA  71.44   AUD, B+/A-

Set List:
01 Intro ~ Tune Up [4.45]  02 Sharleena [9.21]   03 Preamble To Twinkle Tits [1.28]
04 Twinkle Tits [7.17]  05 Interlude [2.28]  06 Preamble To Directly From My Heart To You [1.36]
07 Directly From My Heart To You [5.34]  08 Preamble To Chunga’s Revenge [1.22]
09 Chunga’s Revenge [23.22] 10 Preamble To Willie The Pimp [2.33] 11 Willie The Pimp [11.59]

This time, it’s the spring 1970 Hot Rats band, consisting of FZ(guitar), Max Bennett(bass), Aynsley Dunbar(drums), Sugarcane Harris(electric violin), Ian Underwood(keyboards, alto saxophone) tearing the roof down with material from Hot Rats and (the at the time, still unreleased) Chunga’s Revenge. This band was given a distinct identity and feel among Zappa geeks by the addition of Sugarcane’s electric violin. He is showcased on this night with a great setlist, perfect for his improv style. This night is also preserved with a great(especially for it’s time) recording that has been lovingly restored by the folks at What a night this must’ve been.

After the tune up, the band launches into an early, psychadelic-bluesy(compared to it’s later reggae incarnation) version of Sharleena. The first Frank solo is great, but then Sugarcane ratchets it up a notch on his solo, hosing the crowd with a rainbow assault of slithering notes that wash over the crowd, leaving them in a daze. This daze doesn’t have time to last, as Frank steps it up again on his second solo and destroys the room…he can do this at will. Finally, as if sensing the crowd needs to be rescued, Sugarcane comes back and simply plays beautiful variations on the Sharleena theme and puts out the fires before wrapping the song up and giving the crowd a breather. That’s how Frank opens a show!

Next up is Twinkle Tits, which is an amazing journey that fuses jazz and baroque together into a hyper ballet of notes, tones and time signatures that all battle for balance. At times it feels like it might all fall apart but that’s the thing about Franks bands…they held it together. I don’t know how, but they did. Around the 5:40 mark the band drops out, leaving just drums and bass to hold the groove for a few seconds(the musical equivalent of taking a deep breath before jumping off a cliff into unknown waters). Then Franks comes in and takes the song into a war zone for about a minute and a half, until the recording is unfortunately cut and comes back into the “interlude”, which is in itself, amazing…I just can’t help but wonder what the hell must have happened on that stage during the minutes the tape was cut. Maybe it got so crazy the tape recorder couldn’t handle it and just shut itself off? Ha, maybe not, but it’s just a thought.

Following the madness of the opening numbers, Frank gives the crowd a chance to recover with a fairly straightforward blues, Directly From My Heart To You. There is a great Sugarcane solo here, but this serves mainly as a rest for the beast that was to be unleashed next…

Chunga’s Revenge would prove in years to be a staple in Frank’s repertoire, opening many shows and serving as a band intro vehicle, but on this night it was something much, much more. First, the song had yet to be released on an album yet, so the crowd was probably hearing it for the first time on that night. Second, it was played with such ferocity that even the band must’ve been a little scared. Finally, it was a juggernaut, lasting over 20 minutes, going in a hundred different directions. Sometimes the band would lock in on a groove and ride it together for a bit and then someone would jump out of the gate and try and pull it in a different direction. It was true collaboration and improvisation, only touching down here and there to return to the safety of it’s great bass line theme… and then, Boom! the band is off again, shredding the building to pieces. There are too many amazing moments to mention(FZ taking delicate control around the 10:07 mark only to abuse his Gibson shortly after is one), so included below are two youtube clips containing the entire trip. Enjoy.

The whole thing winds down with Willie The Pimp…well it doesn’t wind down as much as it comes to an end…there is no letting up here, more like closure. It, like the rest of this amazing performance, is not to be missed.

Frank and the boys were on fucking fire this night. I am so glad to have finally heard this incendiary performance captured in such fine quality. Thanks again to If you haven’t heard this show yet, download it and prepare to have your mind blown. If you HAVE heard this recording before…well, listen again and PREPARE TO HAVE YOUR MIND BLOWN…AGAIN.


Chunga’s Revenge (pt. 1)

Chunga’s Revenge (pt. 2)


FZ 13-ii-79.

“We Are Bringing The Finest In American Stupidity To You Tonight” – FZ

1979/03/31 (Late Show) @ Rudi-Sedlmayer Sporthalle, München, Germany

Flac files of the show (and many other FZ shows) courtesy of, the best online community out there!

FZ, Ike Willis, Denny Walley, Warren Cucurullo, Arthur Barrow, Vinnie Colaiuta, Ed Mann, Tommy Mars, Peter Wolf.

The Deathless Horsie(Band Intros) > Dead Girls Of London > I Ain’t Got No Heart > Brown Shoes Don’t Make It, Cosmik Debris, Tryin’ To Grow A Chin, City Of Tiny Lights->Outside Now ->City Of Tiny Lights > A Pound For A Brown, Bamboozled By Love, Andy, Inca Roads (q: Thirteen), Titties ‘n Beer, The Black Page, Yellow Snow Suite, Bobby Brown, Conehead, Building A Girl

Now that the show/recording info is out of the way, on with the review…Frank was in the middle of an amazing period of creativity and production(even by FZ standards); the year leading up to the tour produced what was meant to be the epic 8 sided Läther album(Warner refused to put out such a beast and Frank was forced to break it up into 3 separate studio albums-Studio Tan, Sleep Dirt & Orchestral Favorites– and a double live lp Zappa in New York) while 1979 would produce the classic double lp Sheik Yerbouti and epic triple lp concept album, Joe’s garage Acts I, II & III. That’s 20 sides of incredible music in about 20 months…and that’s while touring. Find me another artist that can do that and I’ll…well, it doesn’t matter…there is no other artist that can do that.

I will also say that I love this tour’s line-up(they are all great, though) and the songs that made up this tour’s skeleton that serves as each nights springboard to amazing virtuosity. It is a great mix of song-y songs to start things off and then some bigger, more elaborate pieces the band can flex their muscle on. The show opens up with one of the usual opening songs, The Deathless Horsie, a 10 minute instrumental exercise that lets Frank wake the crowd up with his incredibly composed and constructed solo improvs. I know composed imporv seems like an oxy-moron, but that is just how fast Franks mind works. He operated on a different level, hearing things that others couldn’t. This tune also serves as band intros, which can sometimes be quite funny to Frank fans who know the band. It’s where the title of this review comes from as well as the drummer ball-bust: “Vinnie Colaiuta on Doing-pretty-good-considering-he’s-not-feeling-to-well-tonight-even-though-he-got-his-endorsement”. Hilarious! Later the band fires back. I will get to that in a bit.

After the intros comes the standard for this tour- Dead Girls Of London > I Ain’t Got No Heart > Brown Shoes Don’t Make It, Cosmik Debris, Tryin’ To Grow A Chin, City Of Tiny Lights. All are well executed and played with great verve and energy. Brown Shoes in particular has a swagger on top of the usual musical and lyrical craziness that makes it particular fun tonight. Then the show switches gears during City of Tiny Lights because at this late stage in the tour the band has been sandwiching Outside Now(off the yet to be released, Joe’s Garage) in the middle of the song. They had just started sandwiching Catholic Girls(also on Joe’s Garage) in the middle of Easy Meat, so we can see the band chomping at the bit to get the new material out there.

fz79aThe City>Outside Now>of Tiny Lights sandwich was just an appetizer for what comes out of it…the war horse, A Pound For Brown: 20 mins of incredible musical gymnastics that has been blowing Zappa fan’s minds since an early incarnation appeared way back on the Uncle Meat album. Great vibraphone work on this one and the usual shape-shifting time signature wars lead to an (as usual)amazing and beautifully melodic guitar solo. The 35 mins or so that make up this sequence is absolute musical Valhalla.

Andy is it’s usual fun and complex self. Here even the vocals are dancing around in unconventional, percussive time signatures. Up next is Inca Roads, another favorite of mine. Tonight the interplay between the percussion and vibraphones with the guitars throughout the whole song is exquisite. Clearly the band is on tonight, the benefits of being in the hardest rehearsed band on the planet, at the end of a tour. They are also having fun in a non musical way, messing with Frank during the next track, the always popular…Titties & Beer. During the breakdown where Frank tries to make a deal with the Devil for his soul, the devil starts to deviate from the script and asks Frank “where’d you get those bruises on your left arm?”…then Franks is caught off guard and the Devil goes back to the script to let Frank off the hook “sooo…you say you like Titties and Beer, Huh?” Frank hops on board…”Hey, I can’t help it if somebody goes out of fucking control in the middle of the night…you stick a nice girl in some stupid hotel room in some place in Germany, next thing you know part of your body’s is mutilated, ya know?” It goes on a bit more, I will leave it for you to hear.

This slams into The Black Page(so named because after frank composed the piece to sheet music, there were so many notes on the page, well, it was black…get it?) which is always a treat, especially late in a gig. This is no exception. Then, as if the night wasn’t already amazing enough, the band drops the Yellow Snow Suite on our heads! This is another prime example of what makes Frank’s compositions so amazing: everything but the kitchen sink. There are so many things happening here all at once. There is the hilarious story/lyrics sung in a sometimes blues/ sometimes doo wop/ sometimes country/ sometimes polka / sometimes swing style. Then there’s the music…tonight the Vinnie plays the first part of Don’t eat the Yellow Snow(until the Strictly Commercial part) drum part in an almost punk style. Then shifting back into the usual style, which is all over the place, leading to Nanook Rubs It. But first…”Enforced Audience Participation…Bavarian Style…Stand Up…Now We’re ALL gonna do something really stupid together, bearing in mind that Stupidity is the only true international language…We Are Bringing The Finest In American Stupidity To You Tonight” Anyway, into Nanook Rubs It’ eventually leading into St. Alphonzo’s Pancake Breakfast’s incredible Percussion/Vibraphone/Guitar high-wire act. This band will not let up.

The show finishes up in typical fine form with the always fun Bobby Brown/Conehead combo winding up with Building A Girl. This show is an incredible treat for me to hear finally. I have a lot of shows from this tour, including the early show from this night, but this one has everything that makes a Frank show so amazing, and it has it in spades. The recording is a very good quality audience capture(especially for it’s time) and although there are many good (and some better auds/sbds) recordings from thins tour with similar-ish setlists like the incredible February Manchester Apollo show, this one is essential listening. Thanks to the great people at Zappateers, who make it possible to hear all of these amazing Frank shows for FREE. Check them out. zappateers1The best resource to find everything on Frank and his amazing bands.

Here is a sample of some live Frank from this tour(not this show, I couldn’t find a youtube clip from this show, but this performance of Inca Roads is similar…