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 Post subject: 09 July 2009: Detroit, MI
PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:19 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2006 7:29 am
Posts: 594
Did you attend the ZPZ show at the Motor City Casino in Detroit?

Dweezil and the band love reading your reviews.

Please do not post in this thread if you did not attend the show.

Mikey
Zappa.com Webmeister


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 Post subject: Re: 09 July 2009: Detroit, MI
PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 1:38 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:31 am
Posts: 3
Location: Lynchburg, VA
The music was great but something was off; some vital rapport was lacking between DZ and the audience. I dunno; maybe it's just Detroit.

I can't express what I mean without giving examples; first, I'd rather start with the good stuff. Suffice it to say right now, I feel pretty ambivalent about having traveled from Virginia to see this show (especially since I decided to get here a day early, in turn missing Sonic Youth play in my hometown of Richmond--found out too late about that one).

The band was tight. There were many extended solos by everyone and it was obvious that DZ was pleased with the individual (and collective) results (I was pleased and I think the rest of the crowd was too). Also, DZ redefined audience participation by getting two kids from the audience into the act: Michael on keyboard and Ben on bass guitar--the oldest in the pair is maybe 15 years of age--that had never been done before in any ZPZ show. (The boys did some improve jazzy material and the bit went over well.) At the end of the show, Dweezil was as indulgent as ever, generously signing stuff for the fans that congregated around the stage (many other band members were also quite magnanimous in this respect).

I don't know what to make of these contraindications to what was otherwise imparted by DZ. But, after the show I read the latest ZPZ blog entry from 7-8-09 and it seems like Dweezil is really just anxious to get back home. Plus, you check the band's play dates and you see how many consecutive shows they've done; that and all the traveling must be a real bitch. And don't forget that this concert was in Detroit... in a casino. There were lots of Zappa fans in attendance but there were also disinterested gamblers. Winos don't march.

This was my 4th show and the 2nd in which no one in the audience danced. I had an excellent seat "in the mix" on the first level, near dead-center, just a few rows back from the stage. ...And there was never that culminating moment when everyone stood up and started to really groove. (I had the same disappointment from the NY show on Halloween, but I wasn't "in the mix" then and those who were eventually achieved their own organic terpsichorean ejectamenta.) That makes a difference in my own enjoyment.

That kind of thing must make a difference for DZ too. He made various mention of his observations on audience behavior. In noting crossed arms, he singled-out Michael and Ben and got 'em up on stage. DZ is obviously really committed to advancing the ranks of FZ music admirers (especially among the young). He took it as a good sign when he saw that many in the crowd didn't recognize Inca Roads. Hmm.

Therein lies part of the problem as I see it. There's a dichotomy between the die-hards and the newbies. The product is likewise presented in this split fashion. Reactions are mixed. The energy is diluted. In that circumstance, motivation is key. When Dweezil first got on stage I thought how tired he looked. Understandable. But why all the consecutive shows and odd venues? I don't want the ZPZ folks winding up frustrated or burnt-out. It's not healthy for them and it's not so fun for the audience, even when the technical aspects of the performance are top notch.

I guess it begs the question as to what is appropriate for an audience to expect if musical perfection isn't good enough. I want an enthusiastic show; I want interaction. I don't mean that the band should pander to the crowd as if everyone in it were a personal friend; I mean that the experience should surpass that of listening to a technically flawless CD.

In turn, one must wonder what is appropriate for performers to expect from an audience. I'd have to guess that appreciation and respect are at the top of the list--maybe a certain open-mindedness as well.

At the Detroit concert, I didn't see any overt disrespect. Somebody kept yelling "Frank is here" and "your dad is watching you" which reminded me of a Foo Fighters concert I went to several years ago: some guy in about the third row kept holding up a poster of Kurt Cobain (in what, silent "protest"?). True WTF moments. There was apathy. Or was it hushed awe? Some people had the nerve to go to the bathroom or buy something to drink. These latter events seemed to rub DZ the wrong way.

After giving the audience a choice of hearing More Trouble Everyday or I'm the Slime, the band proceeded to play More Trouble and promised to play I'm the Slime later. To my knowledge, it didn't happen. DZ said the band was going to take a short break and return. What he really meant was that the band had finished its set and they were all going to go off stage for a moment in preparation for an encore. Very poor communication there. I (and about a fifth of the audience) had the distinct impression that an intermission of sorts was taking place. We all got up to do our thing (I went to pee) but the band came back literally about 60 seconds after they left. I wondered what the hell was going on. Dweezil apparently thought people were in a hurry to leave. From the bathroom, I hear DZ say something to the effect of "we said it would be a short break" and I thought I heard a few words in this vein used to justify ignoring I'm the Slime. Since I was indisposed for part of the inauspicious encore, I can't say for sure if the band followed through or not, but I had the distinct impression that they reneged.

Lame.

I'm used to encores happening as follows: The band finishes a song and abruptly says "Thank you! Goodnight!" then they walk off stage as though they were heading into their tour bus--all without having given any warning or prior indication that the show was pausing or ending... They just end it. After a few minutes of audience chanting and squirming, the band comes back on stage and plays an encore. Until the ZPZ concert in Detroit, I'd never seen /the end of a show/ presented as a brief break before coming back to play more music. I'm used to those pronouncements being called intermissions. It was extremely confusing and disappointing. There was never a proper send up for the band since no one knew the show was over. There was no exquisite anticipation. By the time anyone realized an encore was going on it simultaneously dawned on people that this was it. It didn't feel right, quite unfortunate. Muffin Man would have made it all better, but nope.

Notwithstanding the bad vibes, there was some wonderful stuff that I'd be remiss for not mentioning:

This was my first time hearing Ben Thomas sing. He impressed me--with his voice and hilarious dance moves. The opening number of Zomby Woof was killer. It was nice to hear some unexpected phrasing in spots, mostly due to his choice of pitch. Ben brings a sentiment that might not otherwise be expected, even during portions of Bamboozled By Love. For the most part, it worked. I wouldn't recommend that he stop. There's room for improvement, but he's new and it will come with time; all he needs to do is better integrate his unique approach with the music--and that just means being more confident of its place. I could tell that Ben cared about what he was doing and I couldn't always say that about Ray White, who I felt was coasting. Ben and all the accompaniment on Outside Now really moved me (that song helped me get through college and the cinder block walls of my dorm room). I think that was the first time I heard that song live.

Also, this was the first time I heard Village of the Sun (another sentimental favorite) done live. Scheila sang lead on this one and nailed it.

Another noteworthy moment: I almost bust a gut laughing during Wind Up Workin' in a Gas Station. After "be a moron and keep your position", Joe says: "You gotta keep your position, Detroit!"

That about sums it up. I'm back in Va now.


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 Post subject: Re: 09 July 2009: Detroit, MI
PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 3:57 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 7:07 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Coldwater, Mi
This was my 8th ZPZ show and the music was as good as any. I agree with the 1st post however that something was off. I can only imagine that DZ and the band are ready to get home and re-energize after so much time on the road. I am keeping my fingers crossed that they continue these shows for a few more years as I just can't get enough!! Ben Thomas is a great addition to the 'Rocking teanage combo'. Please keep the music alive and continue the tours. Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: 09 July 2009: Detroit, MI
PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 4:46 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 20, 2006 5:50 am
Posts: 7
I have traveled to Philly, Pittsburg, every show in Ohio
Michigan and every Holloween show! Each and every time
I made it a point to let Dweezil and crew know I am
there. Not a musician nor to get up close and personal
with the band mind you. I just have a love or passion as
Lin tells me for Franks music! I always made it known
where I am from and put a word in for Detroit.

This was the LAMEST Zappa audience I have ever been a
party to! I am not sure if I am pissed or embarrased.
Something was not right - no enthusiasm - no excitement
there was no connection -like the audience gave the band
nothing to play too. I hope it was the venue as the Sound
Board is a new place in a casino. The stage is more like
a pedestal above everyone on the main floor. What ever
it was - the tension from the band twords the audience was
obvious.

Yes, Dweezil did cut the encore short. I missed San Brdino
which was on the set list. Dweezil just stopped the band
(like he must have said to himself F it) and went into Willie
the Pimp to be done with it.

I believe Dweezil will not be coming back anytime in the
near future!

In spite of this the band was tight. Sheila - as musicians go
- you have put yourself in a class by yourself. You should
be the standard. Ben Thomas can belt out the vocals and
Pete thanks for getting me a set list.

Dweezil, do not allow this one show having you leave us out
of future tour stop considerations. And again - I appreciate
what you are doing and thank you.


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 Post subject: let,s not move or play in detroit again.
PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 1:48 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 3:07 pm
Posts: 26
That,s right something was off, really off, and yes, it, was the audience here. Frank played various venues in detroit, 71, 73, 75, 78, 80, 81, 84, and 88, and I saw each of these wonderful shows. Frank did enjoy Detroit. But today is a new era, first of all Dweezil and the band were in top form, yet, you could feel that they could not wait to end this night. This is fine because these type of audiences don,t really care or enjoy franks music, and they just don,t get it and that,s just fine, just don,t play Detroit anymore, end of story, to the people of Detroit perhaps you all lost your auto jobs and shit, but don,t take it out on Dweezil and co. They wont be back anytime soon.

Music is the best, Detroit is the worst.


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 Post subject: Re: 09 July 2009: Detroit, MI
PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 4:00 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 3:37 pm
Posts: 0
Whoa, don't lump all of Detroit into one category. My group of friends and I are some of the most devoted fans of Frank Zappa and we are from Detroit. Wayne State University in Detroit (about 2 miles from the venue) has a large young following of Mr. Zappa's music. So I think the comment about the audience "not getting it" doesn't really fall right.

I would agree that the band looked tired (they have played so much later) but they still sounded amazing. Ben Thomas is a fine addition to the group and gave a nice youthful touch to the vocals. Joe had an amazing show, as usual, and the rest of the band continues to amaze me with their technical abilities.

The set list was great. Pound For A Brown was a highlight and the Village of the Sun-Echidna's Arf- Don't Wash medley was a technical master piece. Everyone has been complaining about the venue but I would completly disagree. The venue had one of the best house mixes I have ever heard at a live concert. Over the 2 hours and 45 min concert my ears were never fatigued and every instrument could be heard clearly.

Really when it comes down to it everyone who complained about the concert was from out of town. There is a definite stigma against Detroit by out-of-towners. Don't trash Detroit if you are not from here on this form. You should talk about the Band or the venue, not lumping all of Detroit together with your generalizations.

Zpz, please come back to Detroit. I enjoyed the concert and lots of others did as well. What I like about a Zappa concert is that it is not like a normal rock concert. It is more of a listening experience and that is what we got at this concert.

(also, thanks Dweezil for signing my Havin' a Bad Day vinyl!)


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 Post subject: Re: 09 July 2009: Detroit, MI
PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 8:01 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 1:20 pm
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I went to the concert to the other night and I thought it was awesome as they always are. I have not missed a single show in Michigan since they started this group. The musical ability of all the musicians is phenomenal. I thought the group played extremely well for being out on the road as long as they have been. I can only imagine how tired they all must be.

In my opinion, the venue was great. That was my first time being at the Sound Board and I think it creates a very intimate setting that a lot of other venues can not offer. Having the backdrop that they had I was hoping they would do like the first year when they said they had one more special guest and rolled down the screen and it was Frank playing Chunga's Revenge with the band. That was awesome how they did that.

I do agree that I think Dweezil made it sound as if they were taking a break and that is why people were bolting for the bathrooms but if you think about it, they had just played for over 2 hours so common sense would tell you that he was referring to an encore coming up. I was disappointed by the fact that they did not do San Berdino as the new singer Ben Thomas started to go into it when Dweezil told him to stop. That would be my only complaint is how that played out.

I hope they continue to do the tour each year and start performing more of Franks tunes. Great job with bringing the kids up on stage. Fantastic show. People need to spread the word more about this group and get more people to these shows. Just a shame that the musical ability of this band goes unnoticed by so many people. There is such a depth to their playing that other groups can't even touch. The place should have been sold out. Goes to show how media controls what people want to listen to. Dweezil hit the nail on the head when he said that their music doesn't get any radio play. Now I understand some of it can't be played but the instrumental stuff could and it would blow away 99.9% of all other groups out there from any genre. Again, being a professional musician myself, people are so clueless as to what it takes to do what they are doing. The greatness is knowing how difficult the music is and how they pull it off effortlessly...A tribute to the great musicians in the group. Come on folks, lets get off our asses and start bringing more people to these shows. The members of this band deserve it!

Also, does anyone know what happened to the other keyboard player? Are they going in a different direction with the group now or did he quit the gig?

Please keep coming to Detroit for your tour. Looking forward to the next concert.


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 Post subject: Re: 09 July 2009: Detroit, MI
PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 10:42 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 9:28 pm
Posts: 0
Location: Detroit
Well, the show was pretty darn good up until near the end. Sheila is like a female Bobby Martin; one terrific all-around performer.
This was my 7th or 8th ZPZ show and the first one in which I left pissed off. I didn't even stop and buy a t-shirt on the way out.
After the audience didn't go wild at the end of Inca Roads, Dweezil made a comment about how it's nice to see people that aren't familiar
with Frank's music. Then later at the beginning of the "encore" he seemed upset that the crowd wasn't going wild, told the singer to stop,
and finished abruptly with Willie the Pimp.
What's up with that, Dweezil? I've been to shows where your Dad quit after being hit by flying (once in Detroit) objects. But he fairly warned the
audience. But to quit when you don't have the crowd going wild? So now we can't just sit and be quiet and enjoy your playing. We have to
get all liquored up and yell throughout some of the most wonderful music ever written so that Dweezil doesn't take his ball and go home.
Grow up Dweezil and be professional. Your Dad had to write AND perform. I've even been to shows where he'd tell us to be quiet and
sit down. Now you want the opposite or you won't live up to your end of a $45.00 ticket?


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 Post subject: Re: 09 July 2009: Detroit, MI
PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2009 2:18 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 2:05 am
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I was at the Detroit show on July 9. It was my first Zappa concert of any kind. I have been a fan of Frank Zappa's music since I was a freshman in college in 1984. Aside from "Valley Girl" I think Them or Us was the first Zappa I'd heard.

So when the chance to see ZPZ presented itself, I was very excited. The venue at the Motor City Casino was very good in my opinion - although the stage was a little high off the floor for the lower level seats. The sound was flawless, and the staff were very courteous and overall I really like the venue and would see more shows there.

As for the crowd - I am just the opposite of first guy from Virginia - I don't care for a lot of audience participation or interaction with the artist. I went to see ZPZ not the people who paid to get in, although the two boys that went up on stage were fun to watch. So I really couldn't care less about how the crowd did or didn't behave. The crowd at the very least was respectful and listened. This isn't 1968 and the Mothers of Invention where it's basically a free form comedy show with great musicians.

My only complaint would be the "we're taking a short break" fiasco and the abrupt ending of "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow." If it was a joke it wasn't funny. If it was a fit of pique because the audience pissed Dweezil off, then it was unprofessional. Either way, it didn't ruin the show for me. All the players were fantastic, especially Scheila Gonzalez - I especially liked her alto sax work and the vocal in "Village of the Sun." Ben Thomas is a good addition to the band - I actually prefer him to NMB. Thanks for the show - hope to see you all again.


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