Rotterdam ’84

Now why, I hear you ask, is that Magic Fingers deigning to give us a show from the ’84 tour this week? Particularly as this tour happens to reside somewhere near the bottom of his list of favourite tours. That’s not entirely accurate. This tour resides firmly at the bottom; indeed, many of the shows from this tour have their own special “Aw, spare me, please” category (which is, I expect, a cue for a “is a bad FZ show still better than most other stuff you are ever likely to hear?” discussion).

But not, it has to be said, this one.

Why? Well, although not exactly a standard ’84 setlist, I would hardly call it inspirational either, and there is certainly very little inspiration from Frank and the boys during the first half of the set. But be patient, boys and girls. Struggle through the first half until those little furry blue creatures from your youth (well, some of your youths, I’m sure) decide to take over, and your wait will have been worthwhile.

And if you don’t find yourself laughing your cotton socks off through the second half, then Barry and I, nice chaps that we are, will give you your money back, no questions asked…

13 thoughts on “Rotterdam ’84”

  1. Hey, Mr Magic, I’ve alwalys liked your offers – and your fine comments, from the faraway land called “Eng”! Thenk thenk thenk!!

  2. I don’t think the 84 tour was all that bad myself.
    Very synthetic sounds sometimes, but hey it was the 80z!

    Any band is gonna be looked down on if they had just lost Steve Vai & Tommy Mars.

  3. i’ve said it before, and i’ll say it again: yamaha dx7s + synthetic toms = devil in the details. unless, of course, we are talking about janet jackson’s live band for the ‘control’ tour or some shit.

    zappa’s music is so specific in terms of timbre and dynamics, and early digital just wasn’t up to the job. there’s a reason why chad was back on acoustic drums and ed mann was brought back into the fold for the ’88 band.

    but i appreciate any and all offerings. loved that chicago ’80 show – thanks for keeping it around an extra week!

  4. you make some good points there mcnastie, but i thought chad’s drum solo on this week’s cleveland sounds great, and it would be even better hearing it live.

    i never got the chance to see any zappa live being too young, but i’m sure this band sounded a lot better being there to witness it.

    zavod’s synth sound is very cheesy though, hehe.

  5. little inspiration from Frank during the first half? sounds fine to me, check out the first few seconds of the More Trouble solo, to pick one example ….. wowzer.

  6. IMHumbleO

    This is not my favorite Zappa band. My least favorite, overall, is the original Mothers. (I am referring ONLY to live performances that I have heard.)

    BUT, this band had it’s moments, as did the first Mothers.
    That Evil Prince from the 84 band is SUBLIME.

  7. After listening to this Friday’s boot courtesy of Magic Fingers, I’m starting to understand why so many dislike the 1984 tour. Unlike the 27 Feb 79 Ahoy show (with Tommy Mars, Ed Mann & Vinnie Colaiuta) and the 24 May 80 Ahoy show (with Mars & David Logeman), I found myself cringing each time I heard Alan Zavod playing (I mean, he really must’ve been having an off night this night — I’ve heard other 84 shows which never gave me this kind of visceral reaction).

    As a complete aside, though, I find it odd that one has to go to Zappa bootlegs to hear Tommy Mars in all his glory (i.e. Pound For A Brown, Little House I Used To Live In) but hardly at all in the official releases. Strange thing, that.

  8. What kind of Zappa freak does not like the original Mothers? Or any incarnation of the Mothers for that matter? Strange, strange.

  9. Hey Scott – it’s always comforting to hear someone else publicly voice doubts about the original Mothers. A lot of the original attraction to Zappa, for me, was drum/bass pairings like Bozzio/O’Hearn, Colaiuta/Barrow, and Thunes/Wackerman + Zappa guitar. After listening to that, I could not understand the appeal of the Mothers.
    The fantastic Mothers “Uncle Meat Variations” Beatclub 1968 clip I saw on Youtube induced a conversion experience – I didn’t just “understand”, I KNEW! I was going to include the link here, but I checked it out and “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Studio Hamburg Distribution & Marketing GmbH”

    If you’re going to exercise your copyright, then publish the material!
    Kriege Bondola!!!

  10. Birdman! — the audio track from the Youtube clip you speak of is available at Zappateers (I know, some folks find downloading torrents too slow) as “The Beat Club, Bremen, West Germany, 6 Oct 1968”. Setlist is as follows: Improvisations, King Kong, Pound For A Brown, Sleeping In A Jar, Uncle Meat Variations, Lohengrin, Let’s Make The Water Turn Black, Octandre.

  11. ” Mothers played Octandre”. Octandre is a Varèse composition.
    – it was performed for the first time exactly 30 years before I was born ( on my birthday).
    – it has no rythm, well: no beat


    Best performances of this piece: P. Boulez, Ensemble Modern. It has also been performed by Asko and by Schönberg Ensemble.

    Available ( cheap ) at Naxos label:,+Octandre,+etc+%2F+Lyndon-Gee,+Castets,+et+al.htm

    And now for FZ fans: FZs quotations of Octandre ( from 1967 to 1982):

  12. Some Zappa fanatics may want to beat me on the head with some heavy Les Paul, but I do like the 84′ band better than the 88′ band, at least the 84′ line up had Ray White!!!

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