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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 9:09 pm 
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I went to the library and searched their archives for FZ articles, clippings, etc., especially from his concerts here over the years. And BINGO, I found a TON of stuff. I don't have a scanner, so I can't contribute much to unica's thread but I plan to add to this thread in the near future, where I'll be typing the reviews out...

Here's the first:

Children, this is Alice Cooper's daddy

By Nick Collier

(Sunday, Oct 2, 1975)

You could call him Alice Cooper's daddy. His musical visions have at times seemed so crazed that one is convinced his realities are far removed from those of the remaining world. He is like some weird wizard living in the woods who walks across the to answer his door with querulous complaints about the disturbance.

"Hello, I'm Frank Zappa. Go Away." If you have never had the pleasure of seeing or hearing Zappa and his Mothers Of Invention, the hug trailer rigs parked behind the University of BC War Memorial Gym on Wednesday night might have divulged something of their meter. Emblazoned on the side of each, "ICA - Intercontinental Absurdities." To power the content of these two vehicles required the augmentation of the gym's circuits with a portable generator.

Yet this gang of Mothers utilizing the contents is numerically smaller than before. Terry Bozzio is on drums, Napoleon Murphy Brock handles sax and a large part of vocal leads. Roy Estrada, an original Mother who left to form Little Feat and play with Zappa's long-time buddy Captain Beefheart before returning to the fold, is bass man, Andre Lewis is on keyboards.

This leaves us with Frank. After a keyboard-dominated, sax-filled intro, he wanders unannounced on to the stage. He pulls his hair up into a loose bun, which, in tandem with that prominent nose, makes him look like a turkey (a wizard turkey, please note.) Luckily, he is thin enough to miss Thanksgiving this year.

The guitar around his neck goes to work and two hours of mania served to 4,500 people begins. How would you like to sink your teeth into Swallow My Pride, The Illinois Enema Bandit, Carolina Hard-Core Ecstasy, Lonely Little Girl or Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance?.

If you feel scandalized, there is always Commercy Doowee, an instrumental written for the Mother's impending visit to Yugoslavia, a first for an American band. It is a considerable credit that he has long been considered a major influence for European bands.

Commercy is commenced with intensive picking, which Zappa slowly begins to work up into a jazzy blues exploration. As his notes become more elongated, they are swept up by the sax, moving in to make the close.

Other numbers also have long instrumentals, saved for the most part from monotony by continually changing leads. Zappa overindulges at times and the bass becomes plodding as it works behind him.

Brock's vocals are strong dipping in and out of bass, running at unintelligible speed or indulging in zany, ah, harmony with Zappa and Estrada.

It is at this point that we shield the children's eyes. There is an impromptu striptease that reveals stars-and-stripes underwear. This can only lead to greater depths. A large rag-doll appears and is suitably, symbolically degraded in sadomasochistic simulation as it becomes a surrogate partner for Brock and Zappa.

Next on the agenda is a Sly Stone/James Brown parody that is transformed into an improvised portrait of the degenerate rock-star. Brock struts the stage wearing huge plastic sunglasses (the kind we put on Aunt Wilhelmina when she fell asleep at the New Year's party). He produces a large hypodermic and proceeds to jab it into everyone. Including the doll.

As each member wavers under the influence of the imaginary injection, he is issued a pair of sunglasses. The music shows the effect, slowing to a ponderous rumble, as the vocals stumble into a stupored gargling.

Thus enlightened, we wind our way home down the boulevard. Yes, Frank really did discover deal Alice.

THE WIZARDLY ZAPPA...no Thanksgiving bird, he
-----------------

I wish I could post the pic they include of FZ falling on the stage floor backwards with his feet up in the air, while playing his guitar and wearing the "Aunt Wilhelmina" sunglasses. But like I said, I have no scanner.

_________________
:53 - :57...

"...I'm absolutely a Libertarian on MANY issues..." ~ Frank Zappa, Rochester, NY, March 11, 1988


Last edited by Disco Boy on Sun Nov 18, 2007 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 7:50 am 
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Interesting, looking forward to more.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 11:50 am 
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yeah, nice work squire! 8)

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2007 2:24 pm 
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Retreads of '60s ideas don't have that old Zappa zap

by Tom Harrison
Vancouver Province
(March 27, 1980)

I've got to make this quick because a party beckons, but I was at the Coliseum last night with 10,000 people who saw your show and I've got to say that you and your "rocking teenage combo for 1980" were pretty hot.

You attract a curious cross section of people, you know that? Hippie types and academic types who talk of the brilliance of Frank Zappa (you, Frank) as if it were the old days and maybe now they just want to see if a few flashes remain. Wispy-whiskered boys who know all the dirty bits in Catholic Girls and who've brought their skinny girlfriends along in the hopes that they'll get the message. Rock and rollers and a few jazz buffs too.

You really gave them a show, but did you notice that of the 17 brand new songs you laid on them that your fixation with oral sex dominated about a third of them, that you tackled the hypocrisy and greed of organized religion again and that 14 years after Freak Out you have a song about being drafted? Talk about the all too weird, wired, cyclical nature of the cosmos!

Or maybe it's that for all your ability to use a glib phrase with the go-for-the-throat deadliness of a stiletto, those blades just don't hold their edge the way they used to and your technique is becoming tired and predictable.

Now the music is another matter. For 90 minutes you and your musicians didn't break once and you swung with dazzling precision from the intricacy of Jumbo Go Away to TV talk show fluff, to fusion-rock with a heavy blues base to warped country (Harder Than Your Husband) and much, much more.

Flawless musicianship, great sound, and, yes, intermittent brilliance amid mostly accessible muscular rock. One question though, are your arms as long as they seem from where I sat, or is the rest of you really that short?

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:53 - :57...

"...I'm absolutely a Libertarian on MANY issues..." ~ Frank Zappa, Rochester, NY, March 11, 1988


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 8:50 pm 
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Rock's ringmaster of the bizarre again insults his way to success

by Vaughn Palmer
Sun Music Critic

(March 27, 1980)

Rock journalism, according to Frank Zappa, is people who can't write, interviewing people who can't talk for people who can't read. That's typical of the maestro's style - slanging everyone equally.

Wednesday night at the Pacific Coliseum, he even laid himself low, as he debuted 17 new songs with the acknowledgment that "this is something no smart band would do."

True enough. Since summer 1977 Zappa has released seven albums, three of them double discs. Any "smart" - read "market wise" - musician would have flogged the heck out of the most recent, three-disc Joe’s Garage series.

Zappa barely acknowledged the latest product, instead opting for the newest outings from his incredibly prolific hand. And get away with it.

Supposedly Zappa managed this the way he’s always gotten away with everything: his disarming sense of humor, a mix of infantile yucks and unveiled contempt for a fury creature that walks the earth.

I’ve had Zappa fanatics patiently explain to me that this universal misanthropy is how come Zappa is not really sexist nor racist, never mind obvious offenses like his songs Jewish Princess, Catholic Girls and Titties & Beer.

Well, I remain unconvinced about Zappa’s lyrical tendencies, but last night myself and 8,000 flaming Zappa-philes witnessed the real reason why he gets away with it. Mind the manners of a male slut lurks in of the most dedicated professionals, and accomplished rock musicians.

The quality of the music Zappa delivered last night was brilliant, both for its creative jazz-blues construction and for the tightness of performance. And, as the coup de grace, the sound production was among the most clear ever heard in the Coliseum.

One sees why the Europeans, who are tolerant of the rude lyrics, are so impressed by Zappa and have made him one of the top concert draws on “the continent”.

Or for that matter why he drew 8,000 people to the Coliseum, though he hadn’t been to this city in five years. And why the crowd howled to the rafters, despite a relatively sedate pace and the host’s nonchalant stage presence.

Wednesday’s concert was the more remarkable because it was only the second of a 68-date tour and featured a band that began rehearsing only three weeks ago.

Zappa is a demanding taskmaster. His latest band – Ray White and Ike Willis on guitars, Tommy Mars and keyboards, Arthur Barrow on bass and a brand new drummer – was put through the paces like trained seals. But it is equally obvious why aspiring musicians join such a fine finishing school.

As for Mr. Zappa himself, what can one say? He is incorrigible.

One the one hand there is his impeccable electric guitar leads, and his sophisticated mix of high quality jazz, blues and rock figures. On the other, he mixes that with utter musical trash, in the same way that he pollutes his intelligent man’s rock with the kind of things that intelligent men talk about only on a night out with the boys.

Due for his 40th birthday this December, he has been rock’s ringmaster of the bizarre since founding the Mothers in the mid-‘60s. He has released almost 30 albums and manager Bennett Glotzer says he has another three “in the can”.

He has been though three of his own record labels and several of someone else’s. The North American deal to distribute his Zappa label is “up in the air” says Glotzer though a new single, I Don’t Wanna Be Drafted, is just released.

Glotzer cites, “musical differences”, which presumably has to do with Zappa’s policy of throwing every song he writes at the market wall and seeing if anything sticks. Odd thing is the tactic works: he remains a consistent seller of records, if not a spectacular one.

His uncompromising style has made him one of the most admired and respected musicians in rock history, and also one of the most litigated against and reviled.

Despite his assessment of rock journalism, he spent two hours after Wednesday’s show explaining his music to any writer or broadcaster who was interested. He had spent two hours prior to the performance in a sound check, painstakingly preparing for the two-hour show.

Stacked against that conscientiousness is a Zappa song, Bobby Brown, one of Wednesday’s encores, which was appalling in its portrayal of women, homosexuals and humanity in general.

At this stage in his inexhaustible career there can be no other excuses for such a paradoxical figure, except to say that he is Frank Zappa, the one and only. Thank goodness.

_________________
:53 - :57...

"...I'm absolutely a Libertarian on MANY issues..." ~ Frank Zappa, Rochester, NY, March 11, 1988


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2007 7:05 am 
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Tom Harrison wrote:
but I was at the Coliseum last night with 10,000 people


Vaughn Palmer wrote:

myself and 8,000 flaming Zappa-philes


Well that's what I like to see.
People with their facts right. :roll:

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2007 5:22 pm 
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BillyDaMt wrote:
Tom Harrison wrote:
but I was at the Coliseum last night with 10,000 people


Vaughn Palmer wrote:

myself and 8,000 flaming Zappa-philes


Well that's what I like to see.
People with their facts right. :roll:


No kidding, eh? :wink: I believe Palmer's figure is the more precise one.

If you peruse the rest of the articles, there's a few other errors too...

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:53 - :57...

"...I'm absolutely a Libertarian on MANY issues..." ~ Frank Zappa, Rochester, NY, March 11, 1988


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2007 1:31 pm 
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Zappa: From da da to ka ka

Vancouver Province, Oct. 4, 1981

By Tom Harrison


Frank Zappa gave a 105 minute concert at the Saturday night. If you arrived at the Coliseum right after eight p.m., chances are you missed close to 30 of them.

It was your $12 ticket, of course, and you opted to arrive late, assuming that most of your fellow 7,000 Frankophones would get there early.

They all made the same assumption, however; consequently there was a terrific stall at the turnstiles.

All of you who were stuck in the line-ups booed as you heard Zappa start in at 8:20. You were subjected to a tougher frisk than usual and you were mad as hell when you finally got in. You might want some answers.

Well. There was a rumor of a death threat to Uncle Frank, which actually happened but earlier in the tour and in the US.

Although one harried security guard stated that this was the reason for the more thorough than usual frisk, another claimed it was Zappa’s demand that no cameras or recording equipment be allowed in the arena.

Then there was a third more plausible explanation that because of a concurrent horse show, football game and staff shortage (caused by PNE ushers refusing to work rock shows), there were too few people to man all the turnstiles.

So, you finally got in and what did you get?

Uncle Frank in his black lounge pyjamas conducting a six-piece band which performed music that was leagues above the average rock concert in terms of musicianship, composition, conception and execution: all these things that earned Frank his genius tag so many years ago.

You also got a bit of a con.

The conductor’s baton was a nice touch emphasizing the orchestral nature of the music, most of which was derived from Zappa’s last three self-indulgent LPs, but that was all it was for.

His guitar solos were wonderful and effortless, but also gratuitous. The instrumental passages, particularly the convoluted waltz from 200 Motels, often were beautiful, even when Zappa went on to fragment them with musical asides.

Yet Zappa’s latter day social studies amount to puerile humor unworthy even of Cheech and Chong and underline his decline from satirist to parodist to self-parodist.

From da da to ka ka: the cheap shots and giggles reveal a certain disdain, as if Zappa believes that the muck he is rubbing people’s noses in somehow never touches him.

You, who went through a 30 minute line-up to see him, should be so lucky.

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:53 - :57...

"...I'm absolutely a Libertarian on MANY issues..." ~ Frank Zappa, Rochester, NY, March 11, 1988


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 2:29 pm 
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I see I haven't updated this thread for awhile...so here's another one for ya:


Zapped by Zappa

Sunday, Oct. 5, 1981

By Neal Hall

There was no warm-up band at the Coliseum Saturday night. Just pure, unadulterated, freaky Frank Zappa. And while past Vancouver performances have been more outrageous visually, his music is still as powerful as ever.

His set began with Montana (“going to Montana soon…”) and ended two hours later (almost to the second) with a world premiere of a song titled There’s a Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch - a frenzied Stravinsky-like instrumental, with Zappa shifting duties between conductor’s baton and jazz-rock guitar.

Though Zappa’s 250 pound personal bouncer kept nodding off (a feat in itself considering his head was resting against a 10-foot high speaker), the concert bowl of about 7,000 fans were held spellbound.

Zappa played non-stop, with one song running into the next, pausing for only a milli-second here or there to shift time signatures, keep his chain of Winstons alight and take a pull from his bottle of cranberry apple juice.

Dressed in a black judo-style jump suit and red running shoes with silver trim (his entire seven piece band wore them), Zappa now 40 and balding slightly, proved he is still one of the most innovative rock musicians around.

What Zappa does is create an aural montage, with his highly disciplined music providing the canvass for the subtle shadings of his satirical lyrics. Of course, much of the credit goes to his all-new backup band: Bob Martin (keyboards/sax), Tommy Mars (keyboards), Steve Vai (lead guitar), Chad Wackerman (drums), Scott Nector Thunes (bass), Ed Mann (xylophone/percussion) & Ray White (guitarist).

Like his 1967 album, We’re Only In It For The Money which was a parody of The Beatles Sergeant Pepper and the values of Modern America, his new material was basically a satirical update.

One tune lambasted the pressures of the American Way (“teen-age suicide, the Sport of Chumps”) and the ’60s hippie movement, which made snide references to Flower Power and such rock idols as Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin - snide both lyrically and musically (the band broke into a few bars of each one’s style). Another number assaulted Suburban America. (“I’m just a moron / And this is my wife / She’s icing a cake / With her favorite knife”).

Zappa became recognized for his brilliantly brutal lyrics in the 70s. But his greatest achievement has been his music: he’s a genius at combining pop, classical, jazz and rock into rhythmically bizarre concoctions of style. Often a song shifts from the super-charged emotionalism of a Stravinsky classical score, to hard-rock to Howlin’ Wolf style blues, then to a jazz style resembling Chick Corea’s group, Return To Forever.

Though it was nothing new for seasonal Zappa fans, for the mainly teenage audience, it was most likely their first dose of Zappa, and probably the closest they’ll ever come to jazz.

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:53 - :57...

"...I'm absolutely a Libertarian on MANY issues..." ~ Frank Zappa, Rochester, NY, March 11, 1988


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 3:55 pm 
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Disco Boy wrote:
a world premiere of a song titled There’s a Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch - a frenzied Stravinsky-like instrumental, with Zappa shifting duties between conductor’s baton and jazz-rock guitar.


Interesting to read this.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 8:44 pm 
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Zappa loses his zip

By Tom Harrison
Music Critic
(Dec. 19, 1984)

Almost 15 years ago, the good Captain Beefheart wrote a song that aptly describes the situation Frank Zappa has reached today.

To paraphrase the unprintable, Old Frank At Play.

Zappa’s first of two concerts at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre last night gave a rapt audience impeccable sound, impeccable musicianship and great singing by Ray White and Ike Willis.

The set list jumped from Zappa standards (Hot Rats, My Guitar Wants To Kill You Mama) to later period cheap thrills (Joe’s Garage, Cocaine Decisions) to the even cheaper In France from the new album, Them Or Us.

In the course of 90 minutes the seven-piece band effortlessly traversed gospel, do-wop, rhythm and blues, jazz-fusion, funk, hard rock, blues, show tunes, sometimes incorporating, several of these elements in the space of a few bars.

Such is the band’s versatility, such is the enormous repertoire at Zappa’s disposal.

Such is the tremendous command of technique applied to ponderings of so little consequence.

Face it, Frank Zappa’s 20 years as a master of compositions now amounts to the most artful of trivial pursuits.

You can watch the band clowning around on stage and be impressed or listen to its virtuosity and be awed. But it would be hard to deny that Zappa has “pooched” himself into the litter-box of no return.

He’s out there somewhere, smirking as he collects panties and personalized license places from fans who equate the seven deadly sins with the seven words you can’t say on television and identify in him someone who is intimate with all 14 of them.

It’s an unusual relationship where he gets to play the dirty dog and they get to be appreciated recipients of the doggy dirt.

What used to pass for hip cynicism now reveals itself as emotional bankruptcy.

When Zappa’s best shot on a new album is as easy a target as video, it makes sense that he was at his best last night when the band returned to the sincere gushiness of The Closer You Are or when Old Frank shut up and played guitar.

_________________
:53 - :57...

"...I'm absolutely a Libertarian on MANY issues..." ~ Frank Zappa, Rochester, NY, March 11, 1988


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 8:46 pm 
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Zappa In Fine Form

By Neal Hall
(Dec. 19, 1984)

You can always count of Frank Zappa for two things: his personal appearance never changes (yes, he still wears his hair tied back, exposing his prominent nose, droopy moustache and teensy under-the-lip goatee) and he invariably delivers impeccable musicianship.

Tuesday night at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre was no exception.

Frank was in fine form. At least he was for the second show, which I attended and, according to the hard-core Zappa fan sitting next to me who attended both shows, it was apparently the better performance.

Backed by a six-piece band, Zappa, who turns 44 in two days, still startles the ear with his innovative, bizarre concoctions of pop, jazz, blues, heavy metal and classical music.

Old Frank was at his best when he got down to playing straight guitar licks. He was at his worst, however, when he got in a blues-jazz groove and stayed too long, falling into a droning monotony that negates his talent.

The sound system was also less than perfect, muffling the bite of his satirical lyrics. And if you can’t hear the lyrics, there’s more than half of Zappa’s uniqueness wiped out.

It’s especially confusing when Zappa plays almost non-stop, shifting between songs without hardly missing a beat.

Last time Zappa played Vancouver, at the Coliseum, where he attracted about 7,000 fans, he parodied suck rock idols as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison. This time he drew about 5,000 to two shows, and he stuck it to Michael Jackson, Boy George and Devo.

He also used a variety of props during his performance: a Raggedy Ann doll with black panties, which he took and slung one leg over each shoulder and the assorted underwear fans kept throwing on stage.

Unlike past years, where Zappa has almost exclusively new material, Tuesday he provided a balance between old and new.

He did a range of such past favorites as You Are What You Is, Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow, and Dynamo Hump, which he saved for the second encore. He ended his two-hour set with a song off his new album, Them Or Us - it was the old Allman Brothers Band tune, Whipping Post, which was served up straight, a gutsy blues rendition with fine vocals and a mean twin-guitar attack.

The song only seemed to underscore one of Zappa major faults: he’s sometimes so busy concentrating on the esoteric intensity of the moment that he leaves his fans behind in the electronic slush.

_________________
:53 - :57...

"...I'm absolutely a Libertarian on MANY issues..." ~ Frank Zappa, Rochester, NY, March 11, 1988


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