20 thoughts on “Washington ’88”

  1. Wow! Voodoo butter underpants and Republicans from outer-space and Sinister Footwear! FZ’s Best Band was really cookin’ this night! Thanks again and again, Gilles!

  2. Jason Gossard about this show:
    “This is your typical ’88 show. Some good song selections, some good (but not truly great) FZ guitar solos, and some good performances from the band; in essence, a good show. But as with most of the tour (especially the U.S. portion), this show never manages to transcend being merely “good,” leaving the listener with that “what was that?” look on his face. Instead, the show simply impresses the listener, but in the way that all Zappa shows usually (and easily) impress.”
    Read the whole review here.

  3. Sometime I tend to think that the only thing FZ himself was NOT very good is assembling his materials. Now seeing / hearing all the bootlegs, finding non-released materials here and there, listening to whole shows one might find his/herself thinking that he could have made much better albums than he really did. This show as a whole is much more fun (to me) than Make a Jazz Noise – though I like that one too, but there i always a bit of complaining in me about it’s sound, about the setlist, about missing songs. And the same with some other albums: he could have made a much bettel album in ’76 than Zoot Allures, or in ’75 a better album than Bongo Fury!…
    Or am I wrong? A few day ago I was wondering about the release of whole shows (sometime in the future [or in my dreams, heheh)). How would those change the value of the official albums as we know it?

  4. I agree that Zappa could have released better albums, especially from 1973 and from 1975-78, and that whole live shows are usually the best way to listen to a band, but I’m surprised that you don’t like the sound of the ’88 band live albums. To me they sound perfect – but not too perfect the way YAWYI and Joe’s Garage and some others sound. The brass section and bass are well recorded and go together great, and I like Zappa’a more trebly tone during guitar solos on those albums. As a person who used to record bands, and who continues to think entirely too much about sound and how other people perceive it, I’m interested in understanding what people don’t like about the sound of The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life and MAJNH. Broadway the Hard Way is a little weak because of the material, and the songs are so tightly arranged that it sounds too polished, but the other live albums from this tour have enough improv to make up for the lack of “dirt” in the overall sound.

    “A few day ago I was wondering about the release of whole shows (sometime in the future [or in my dreams, heheh)). How would those change the value of the official albums as we know it? ” — a good comparison is with “Dick’s Picks” from the Grateful Dead. They sound fantastic and the jams make their studio albums obsolete(especially “Wake of the Flood” and “Terrapin”, great albums – everything on them ssounds better live). The main problem with whole shows is repeated material. For some reason I can listen to countless different version of the Dead doing “Me and My Uncle”, but Zappa shows are full of songs most people will want to skip through. The big problem with Zappa’s released music is that he cuts other peoples solos out and edits his own, and he didn’t release long jams. A few complete shows from ’73, and 75-78 would be great.
    King Crimson’s more recent live albums give a completely different impression of the band. The band’s performances on the live album “Epitaph” are so different from the album versions, especially the saxaphone playing. “Ladies of the Road” is very different from studio albums by the same lineup, and is infinitely better than the live “Earthbound” in both sound quality and material and performances, and the second disc is a GREAT idea – it is a version of “21st Century Schizoid Man” called “11 Schizoid Men” that takes up the whole disc. In between a normal begining and end are included the improvs from 11 different performances of the song. There are many Zappa songs that could benefit from the same treatment, like official “Variation Variations”. Imagine a release that sandwiches all existing ’75 “Any Downers” solos into one song, and rounds that out with a few “Apostrophes”?

  5. Quod Erat Demonstrandum. What needed to be proved.

    Dr. S. is Barry’s Better Half.

    So, B., don’t loose “it”.

    ” Mijn beter ik en ik
    streden erop of eronder.
    Mijn beter ik verloor
    Nu zit ik zonder”

  6. Don’t forget the crap he had to deal with Warners Bros, not being able to released albums he wanted from 76 (?) – 78.

    I’m not gonna complain about his album choices though, look at how many the man released!!

    That ‘Night of the Iron Sausage’ album though would have been great in ’76, with Filthy Habits and The Ocean Is.. added to some of the final Zoot Allures tracks :)

    I guess also he didn’t want to overwhelm the market with double albums?

  7. Hi,

    somehow this tour dropped to the bottom area of my list of favourite tours. In my opinion it is a tour of missed chances. Sounds more like a high class Zappa cover band with Frank Zappa in the role of Frank Zappa and a bunch of top-musos doing what they are paid for.


  8. Who are these people? Do they have nothing better to do than complain about what albums Zappa released and when? Do I really care Balint et al? I believe I have answered my own question. A big dish of voodoo butter for everyone! Phew!

  9. Yea, everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but I like this tour just fine.
    The ’84 band (IMO) left a lot to be desired when they did “covers” of
    Frank’s music. The sound was FULL of keyboard marimbas and trite fills all over the place….etc, whatever. But that band did a mutherfucker version of The Evil Prince with one of my fave FZ guitar solos.

    The ’88 band’s covers at least had horns and percussion, and while they may have been a little overdone sometimes (IMO), I think the arrangements brought out the melodies and harmonies that illustrate, in part, the greatness of Frank Zappa.

    Plus a mutherfucker version of Let’s Move To Cleveland.

  10. I liked the 88 tour just fine. I found them to be tight and eclectic. I think the complaint of being “over rehearsed” falls quite near to the complaints of the synclavier albums lacking a “human element”. Personally I enjoyed the tight feel of the band and how he would sample and allude to other songs at random will at the drop of a hat: AATFANRAA (or something like that).
    If I had to make a complaint, it would be the guitar sound, I preferred the distorted sound he did on the early to mid 70’s shows, but then again, the airy guitar with this band is complimentary to the wind sections and the digital drum/synthesizer work.

  11. IMO every incarnation of the Mothers had its own special charm, that’s why I tend to avoid picking and choosing one band over another. Sure, Alan Zavod is no Tommy Mars, but then Don Preston is no Alan Zavod, either. They all have their own individual talents which is no doubt why Zappa hired them all in the first place. And BTW, isn’t KUR the place to celebrate Zappa’s music in all of it’s massive glory and greatness — instead of knit-picking? Hmmmm?

  12. Anyone know whose playing the keyboard solo at 6:53 in “Stolen Moments”?

    The porn war jam is my first time hearing Keneally solo in Zappa’s band. Hotcha!

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