Frank Zappa – The Pier, NYC – August 26th, 1984

It always strikes me as unusual when Frank Zappa actually states that a concert is going to be a very long one – like the The Palladium show on October 31st, 1978:

“Stop! Stop! Stop! Silence! Listen! Here. An important announcement…
For those of you who have been here before
 we are going to play a whole
…We’re gonna play a whole collection of stuff that we don’t normally do…But before we do that
…We’re going to play our normal show
…For those of you who haven’t seen any of the other shows.
..So.  If you already know the songs to the normal show, sing along.
 And if you don’t…Hope you enjoy it.”

And then the actual release, in that case, the posthumously released ‘Halloween‘ DVD-A, comes no where close to what’s promised (a very very long show). The very same can be said about ‘Does Humor Belong in Music?‘. After Zappa and his Rockin’ Teenage Combo finish performing “Zoot Allures”, Zappa asks:

“Now do me a favor and sit down, okay. Tonight we’re gonna do a very long show…I don’t want your legs to get tired, so move back and sit down and be comfortable…Do it! Do it!”

The following tracklist is what appears on the release of ‘Does Humor Belong in Music?‘ DVD:

Zoot Allures
Tinsel Town Rebellion
Trouble Every Day
Hot Plate Heaven at the Green Hotel
The Dangerous Kitchen
He’s So Gay
Bobby Brown
Keep it Greasy
Honey, Don’t You Want a Man Like Me?
Dinah-Moe Humm
Cosmik Debris
Be in My Video
Dancin’ Fool
Whippin’ Post

The following is the actual setlist for the August 26th, 1984 show at The Pier in New York City:

Zoot Allures (above)
Tinsel Town Rebellion (above)
Trouble Every Day (above)
Penguin In Bondage
Hot Plate Heaven at the Green Hotel
Goblin Girl
The Black Page
Be In My Video
The Deathless Horsie
The Dangerous Kitchen
He’s So Gay
Bobby Brown
Keep It Greasey
Honey Don’t You Want A Man Like Me?
Carol You Fool
Chana In De Bushwop
Let’s Move To Cleveland
Crew Slut
Dinah-Moe Humm
Cosmik Debris
Camarillo Brillo
Muffin Man
Ride My Face To Chicago
Dancin’ Fool
Whipping Post

As is the case with both of these shows, and subsequent releases, one cannot help but ask, where’s the rest? Personally, I think it would be a real treat if both these shows were to be released as complete shows (both were obviously recorded). Or is it a pattern of the ZFT to make a liar out of Frank? Hmmmmm.

Note: ‘Does Humor Belong In Music?’ was an approved FZ release.

20 Responses to “Frank Zappa – The Pier, NYC – August 26th, 1984”

  1. Ralf Neumann says:

    Of course it would be fantastic to see the rest of this long concert. Anyhow, i think the reason for releasing only 14 tracks is the medium it was intended to be released in those days and on where it had to fit on: a VHS video cassette.
    Later the masters were simply transfered to DVD and thats it.

    Just my 2 cents…

  2. Paul Sempschi says:

    Well, EMI did the DVD transfer job, the ZFT had scant involvement with THAT project. Which would explain the lack of Roxy trailer as a bonus feature.

  3. Another Barry says:

    Speaking of actual releases, I was checking Amazon.com today for some Zappa releases I don’t yet own, only to find a little line below most of them saying: “This item has been discontinued by the manufacturer.”

    Anyone know what’s up with that?

  4. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Another Barry:

    Speaking of actual releases, I was checking Amazon.com today for some Zappa releases I don’t yet own, only to find a little line below most of them saying: “This item has been discontinued by the manufacturer.”

    Anyone know what’s up with that?

    It’s the ultimate revenge of Warner Brothers. They purchase RYKO who bought FZ’s official catalogue and the next thing anybody knows, it’s not worth their while to manufacture Zappa’s catalogue any longer. You might have also noticed, Another Barry, that the Vaulternative (or ZFT) titles were still available. It’s pretty clear to me that they are the only source of Zappa at the moment (hint, hint, nudge, nudge).

  5. Paul Sempschi says:

    A quote from Another Barry:

    This item has been discontinued by the manufacturer.

    WOAH

    So that explains why I couldnt find the Frank Zappa section in hmv. As in not the usual empty Frank Zappa section, but no Frank Zappa section at all. Scary stuff.

    Luckily, while you wait for someone, anyone, to rerelease these albums, you can still get the whole catalogue via torrent.

  6. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Paul Sempschi:

    A quote from Another Barry:

    This item has been discontinued by the manufacturer.

    WOAH

    So that explains why I couldnt find the Frank Zappa section in hmv. As in not the usual empty Frank Zappa section, but no Frank Zappa section at all. Scary stuff.

    Luckily, while you wait for someone, anyone, to rerelease these albums, you can still get the whole catalogue via torrent.

    Very curious development. One hand of the recording industry is suing people for sharing music, while the other leaves people no other avenue than to download the music illegally. Just the other day I received an email from Promising Music – the German label that has been re-releasing MPS titles from the early to mid 70s such as George Duke – informing me that their sole distributor just went out of business (their sole means of income), and are presently looking for investors for the release of future MPS titles.

    Since when has the manufacture of 70s music become too risky a business proposition, particularly the music of Frank Zappa, who always had (and has) a steady fan following?

    Fucking outrageous, I say.

  7. John Carter of Mars says:

    Yeah there is a distinct lack of FZ at our locally owned record shop, and they usually had a big ole pile of em.

    One thing I’d like to get is Buffalo but it seems it is only available through the zft for too much money and pricey shipping. I think that release would sell if they’d only make it available again, but what do I know, I’m only a lifelong fan who lives in a progressive sort of city that is nearly devoid of zappa product.

  8. peter says:

    Yea, the discontinued status is a mystery. Could be a number of things, one of which is Gail cut a deal to provide bonus cuts or something. Or perhaps it is a case of revenge. Gail has sued Ryko for all sorts of things, disputing digital download rights, etc and so perhaps they are playing hardball or simply fed up. The fact that the ZFT has released nearly identical versions of 2 albums certainly could not have helped matters.

  9. Thinman says:

    I’m afraid there is no market for Zappa product these days. The younger generation simply doesn’t give a shit about stuff like that.

    Th.

  10. Bob says:

    Shelley is getting angry!

  11. Paul Sempschi says:

    The ZFT probably negotiated for sole custody of the catalogue and they’ll probably begin “PHAZE 3” of the series: a tedious and needlessly overdrawn affair where the releases get reremastered (the pattern will be 1 per year followed by 2 years off so ZPZ can go on tour) and will be made available through the time honored and trusted Barkfo Swill and her mailing standards and practices.

  12. Alex says:

    Bob, you’re an asshole.

  13. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Paul Sempschi:

    The ZFT probably negotiated for sole custody of the catalogue and they’ll probably begin “PHAZE 3” of the series: a tedious and needlessly overdrawn affair where the releases get reremastered (the pattern will be 1 per year followed by 2 years off so ZPZ can go on tour) and will be made available through the time honored and trusted Barkfo Swill and her mailing standards and practices.

    You know, Paul, most of us Zappa freaks aren’t getting any younger. If what you surmise is true, it’s going to be a very, very long time before my stereo engages with some new Zappa (or at very least a complete Palladium, or Pier show).

  14. Paul Sempschi says:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    You know, Paul, most of us Zappa freaks aren’t getting any younger. If what you surmise is true, it’s going to be a very, very long time before my stereo engages with some new Zappa (or at very least a complete Palladium, or Pier show).

    I’m a little fuzzy on this aspect of copyright law, but thinking about it today, about how one of the reasons why Mickey Mouse’s likeness is constantly updated is so that they can recopyright his likeness and get a few more decades out of sole custody of the franchise. Does anyone know if this would also apply to the constant remastering/remixing of music (Zappa to a lesser extent, while Pink Floyd would be the prime example)?

    Though I often wonder if the real push for the rererelease of the catalogue is part of a long term multigenerational marketing strategy. That, and it could be a stalling tactic, there has been a few recent remarks about how very few complete shows survive… and there has also been talk about how tapes recorded in the 70’s are either unplayable or in terrible shape.

    Assuming those tapes are ruined (only the dubs, build reels, etc. surviving), you can see how that could bring down the number of potential releases.

  15. Grimpoteuthis says:

    In regards to the Mickey Mouse comment. Disney, after every copyright expiration reapplies to the government under the basis of historical importance. Yes, Mickey, is a by definition a national treasure and misuse of his image means a poor reflection of America. This is true. It is also rare so it is very unlikely that Zappa or for that matter, British rock group, Pink Floyd, will ever be considered that way. Their works will one day enter the public domain, and the ZFT will have to find loopholes to ensure the estate owns the recordings of the works, and performance right as ravel’s estate has. the more you know.

  16. Matt says:

    If anyone is having a hard time finding certain FZ Ryko titles, let me know. A few local stores here in Cleveland OH are still pretty well-stocked.

  17. Robert says:

    A quote from Matt:

    If anyone is having a hard time finding certain FZ Ryko titles, let me know. A few local stores here in Cleveland OH are still pretty well-stocked.

    Or, you go to Corsini Dischi in Siena, Tuscany, Italy. They stock almost the entire backcatalog.

  18. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Paul Sempschi:

    Though I often wonder if the real push for the rererelease of the catalogue is part of a long term multigenerational marketing strategy. That, and it could be a stalling tactic, there has been a few recent remarks about how very few complete shows survive… and there has also been talk about how tapes recorded in the 70’s are either unplayable or in terrible shape.

    Assuming those tapes are ruined (only the dubs, build reels, etc. surviving), you can see how that could bring down the number of potential releases.

    I have often thought about the state of the original tapes that FZ had recorded throughout his touring career, Paul. It seems somewhat shortsighted of FZ to use the original tapes without first copying then, yes? I mean, he had the technology to do so at his own fingertips? With all of FZ’s intelligence and genius, I really can’t buy him doing something so utterly stupid, can you?

    That’s why I still hold out hope for the release of the Palladium and Pier shows (among others, like Buffalo).

    As for the Zappa catalogue availability, lately the only place I’ve seen any Zappa has been in used record and CD stores.

  19. Hugh says:

    Holy Swiss Cheese, Barryman! Why did I not attend the Pier Shows!? How could I have missed this rare high-energy performance? Fuck!
    Thanks for the video post, urbang. I was so impressed, I ordered a copy from Amazon (just 10 bucks). I did catch the ’84 Halloween (early) Show at the Felt Forum. It was a short set and not very memorable. 🙁

    A quote from Paul Sempschi:

    . . . Mickey Mouse’s likeness is constantly updated . . .

    Paul, it’s funny you mention this. Did you notice the Mickey decal on Scott’s bass?

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    That’s why I still hold out HOPE for the release of the Palladium and Pier shows

    You HOPE, I PRAY!

  20. Hugh says:

    A quote from Hugh:

    I was so impressed, I ordered a copy

    Yes, I know it’s tacky to quote yourself . . . so sue me!
    I recieved my DVD of this concert, and for 10 bucks it’s a steal. Ray White’s vocals on Keep it Greasey are worth much more than 10 measly dollars! And you can feel Frank’s joy during Whippin’ Post. But (oh-oh, here it comes), you’re right UrbanG, how can FZ announce to the live audience that they’re in for a long show and then proceed to give the home viewers a short hour of music!? Frank really fails in the video section of his work. If only Zappa befriended and trusted someone like Martin Scorsese or Jonathan Demme to direct one his films. Can you imagine it!?
    Does humour belong in music? Of course it does! But when I buy a FRANK ZAPPA DVD I shouldn’t get The Scott Thunes Comedy Hour instead.:(

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