Since everyone is on vacation, and anyway, the forum seems to be a bit sleepy, and no one likes to write too much, now I will… Sorry, in advance. :-)
1975 09-18, UCLA Royce Hall (the show for Orchestral Favorites and Studio Tan)
1977 10-31, Palladium, whole show (parts in Baby Snakes movie)
1978 09-21, Poughkeepsie
I'm not a big fan of the '78 autumn band, I always tend to think of the Saarbrücken show which I don't like too much - well, that's how it is. BUT a few months ago my friend vrnzr asked me whether I have the whole
from september 1978. Yes, I answered, and was not polite enough not to mention my dislike. But time went by, and a said: why not give it a chance, it can be interesting to listed to that, at least once.
Man, it was good!
I always thought that this band doesn't have too much life in it, sometimes I don't like V. Colaiuta's playing (admitting that his best moments are the Best In The World), I can't stand Denny Walley's voice, and the sound of it is not really close to me (the band's). I REALLY liked the previous lineup with Bozzio, O'Hearn and Belew.
So: here they sound good! It's a lively band, with fun, joy - and music! Great! They start with the Deathless Horsie, goes fine, like it here better than on Halloween, then the "normal program" starts: Dancing Fool, Easy Meat, etc. - its fine - there's life in it, sounds good.
Unfortunately the first part of Pound for a Brown is missing - but we have a nice solo from Ed Mann.
But the real excitement starts after the casual program, with some heavy stuff: this is the only place I heard Mo's Vacation on stage. Played by Ed Mann, Colaiuta and Arthur Barrow - I didn't understand clearly, but maybe FZ got some stick also and played the drums? Not sure.
So: it's not a teenage-version, but might not be the best version, I think. The percussion brings the lead-tune, sometimes in unisono with the bass or the drums - sometimes this, sometimes that. Must have been a lot of work, but maybe should have been rehearsed for more. They're not together totally (O.K.: its Zappa's world, so we can compare tho The Black Page and so…), and the piece itself doesnt have (in my opinion) real "hot points", some leading motifs - or I just couldn't notice. So it's a really hard work - but there might be better versions, maybe.
Anyway, it's interesting to compare it with the version from the LSO album. There the main tune is by David Ocker, clarinet. Interesting journey. (By the way: I found that pieces on the LSO are somehow also "homogenous", without real "hot points" (god, that language barriers!…) - if you compare them the colorfulness of the '81 band, with their Envelopes, the fun and acrobatic musicality of RDNZL, Echidna's Arf from '74…)
But back to '78: yes, after mentioned, we get the Black Page. Goes well - I never heard it with Colaiuta/Barrow. Nice tune, with lots of colours, after the exhausted parts we get some real silent, intimate seconds - and the tune goes on. By the way: it sounds good: soundboard recording.
After I Have Been in You and the stupid rap about english pop-stars we get Flakes - sounds good! There are some 3 guitars in the first riff (if I'm right, hehe…) It rocks! Good! And the "Im a moron" part is real funky.
Magic Fingers and Don't Eat The Yellow Snow goes well also, finishing it - and the show itself - with Rollo.
But don't leave the theater yet! There's more to come!
FZ says to the audience that he wont play encores, but a totally new show! Great!
They start with Little House I Used To Live In in 10 minutes, then Tell Me You Love Me which rocks, and we get our favorite one: Yo Mama! For the next 10 minutes we feel fine, FZ introduces the band, says goodbye - but noooooo! It's not over! We get some more delicatessen: Black Napkins!…
So, sorry to say, but it seems to be a gooood one! :-) Thanks to vrnzr, I burned it on 2 CD's and listen to it a lot.
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While looking at my mp3-collection, I realised that I've never heard the
1975 september UCLA show,
where they played the basic parts of the Orchestral Favorites album. Nowadays I tend to like that one, I started to notice the really fine instrumentation, the colorfulness of it, the rich textures, and the intimacy of some moments. BUT my favorite is Studio Tan: the same orchestra plays Revised Music, which is fantastic, I prefer it with earphones, and Greggary Peccary, which (hidden behind the stupid story) :-) has real great music on it!
So, this is That show. he sound quality is not really good, but can be a real fun as a documentary.
The interesting moments are the unreleased ones: FZ speaks to the audience between the tunes, they laugh a lot, and there are some unreleased tracks also. There is Rollo, which is a Saint Alphonso type thing, heard on YCDTOSA vol 1. with words, from '79. Big solo here.
Then we also get Black Napkins! With ochestra! Well, not the best performance (they start it twice, hehe), but a great experience to realize that these 2 chords under FZ's solo is really nice, comfortable to listen to. There is SOMETHING in it. The orchestra cannot react as lively as a small band, they just change the chords, but its fine. FZ plays the solo. (Andre Lewis plays keyboard, he said this to be his favorite tune)
Sink Trap? I dont remember. Might be some orchestral stupidity, I'm not sure. Have to listen again.
Anyway, it was a REAL INTERESTING expedition Zappa made, better I think he had later: LSO was hard to work with, their CD is not as colorful as this recording, and Ensemble Modern could only be REAL good when FZ was there (as I see it). Here FZ could show how he could use the orchestra as an instrument, how he could make some really nice tunes and some real loud and funny parts and some real intimate, soulful moment - (almost) at the same time! (At least: with the same band or orchestra).
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I dont really listen to Baby Snakes CD ( I only have a copy), I dont really like the order of the tunes, it's too short… I always dreamd of making one CD from Baby Snakes and Donna You Wanna, wich is a bootleg ang from the two some 70 minutes of fine music could have been assembled.
But: I found the whole
77 Halloween show!
"Unfortunately" its almost 3 hours long… :-)
It was a surprise to me, that its almost a "normal" show - after seeing the movie Baby Snakes I expected more stupidity. But no: they play lots of music, the program they played that days: Peaches, Torture, Tryin' To Grow A Chin, Tiny Lights, Bobby Brown… In Pound For A Brown - wich goes for 23 minutes(!) we get some solos (everybody makes one or two) and here is the Roy Estrada crazyness from the movie. And then: Conehead. But its NOT that one. Its just a solo, and under it the band plays a totally different wamp that we might know from later. Hm, interesting to know.
They also play Envelopes, that's the earliest version I know.
And: here's Wild Love. Strarts immediately with the words. The earliest version I know.
It lasts for - yes!: - 30 minutes. Wow. I can't say I listened carefully to every second of it, but there are tons of solos there, and the one FZ is playing is the one to be appearing on Trance Fusion sometimes (What's it's title?…Yes: Bowling on Charen)
The movie shows mostly the 2nd part of the show - Titties, Black Page, Jones Crushier, Dinah-Moe, Muffin, San Berdino…
In the movie I really liked Black Napkins - listening it again here it might not be the best. I might be wrong. Or might have been my favorite the Muffin Man?… - who knows?
Anyway, at least it can be worth listenning to. Anyone?
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Since there was some place on the CD, I put Hot Rats - the vinyl version on it - with an unreleased track from that time? Bognor Regis.
Unfortunately the songs are from 2 different sources, so the quality of some of them is not really good...