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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 5:21 am 
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I just want to preface this bland meandering post by saying, music is the greatest thing in existance. I dare ANYONE to challenge this. And Zappa made the greatest music ever heard by these ears. He died too late in the last century for me to ever hear a live show, (let alone fail an audition for his band) so this is the next best thing for me.

Lining up to get in, and one of the venue men is going up and down the line, informing everyone that Napolean wasn't let across the border,(note, edit here, upon first hearing Napolean was not at the show, it was my girlfriend who conjectured that maybe he didn't make it actoss the border, she cleared that up for me, no hummingbird employee ever implied that. the first guy just didn't specify the family issue thing.) and that we could get a refund before we entered the venue, by the time we got to the doors of the venue, signs were posted saying there was a family emergency, before handing in our tickets, we were informed once again that we could get a refund only now, not after entering, (what doofus would do such a thing! I guess the two seats beside me, the rest of the house was packed, I assumed it was a complete sellout. Surrounding me were parents with young kids LOVING the zappa. that was so fucking great to see. So the video, I must say, not the best Dupree's I've ever heard, but loved watching it nonetheless. I love that Bruce tries to blow his spit valve in the middle of his solo, and it devolves into him taking apart his instrument in amped up dismay. That was fucking hilarious. Just another of the many moments that make watching a Frank Zappa concert hilarious in every little detail. The pan down to his shoes got a big laugh. That was so fucking cool, just the timing of it and everything in relation to the music, perfect comedic placement on the cameraman's part, bravo!
So enter show, Imaginary Diseases was actually more intense than Frank's version. Wowzers. Next Dweezil informs us of Napolean's absence due to unexpected family problems, to which someone very loudly proclaimed "Ya drug problems" No response was made, I won't go on, but it does seem strange he's back the next night in Chicago, Sucks that the borders between the US and Canada are WAY more tight ass than borders in Europe, but oh well, happens all the time to people (musician's and non) sometimes people without even any criminal record are denied access forcing them to forfeit contracts time and money. I've heard many a sad story, but I digress, back to the show. Dweezil mentioned we were the first audience to be on their feet right from the start, but I thought I read someone say that about one of the european shows? can't remember which.
Stinkfoot was an amazing version, it's not my favorite song, (well the end section on ' kills me, and it always made me sad this version was never played live) but this one was ON. Joe's voice was perfect to sub for Frank's, and to do on short notice while still kicking ass on drums, fuckedyfuck! Dweezil just destroyed those miniruns in between lines.
Next comes the first hilghlight for me, King Kong. Great arrangement, (the original mothers take, specifically from Ahead of their time is my fave, but choosing the eighties reggae is my second. The audience noises was overplayed a little, but I did do the dumb thing. What I have to say now is, Dweezil's band conducting was AWESOME! the stop and start on a dime changes in tempo and feel made the whole solo section kickass! continuously entertaining, each change and listening to the soloists reaction, kudos to dweez on that. other people mentioned they thought the band conducting was stale, but this night it was fucking ripe! The first solo was the rhythm guitarist, and he TOTALLY SMOKED!!!!! Brilliant solo by the percussionist as well, a major gripe I had was that he only got that one solo the whole night!!!!! that was sad for me, but I guess you have to consider, playing in a zappa band is like soloing nonstop for a percussionist (in the classical sense of a solo of course). Aaron whipped out some wicked shit, amond which vocoder singing a song, I don't know what it's name is, or what the lyrics are but you'd all remember it something sort of like 'live life for the city" then he inserted toronto. So to backtrack a little, I was sad not to hear the early stuff with this band, as I LOVE the interpretations of these songs frank was playing in the mid 70's, especially Nappy's take on them. So to that extent I am glad they opted not to play them that night, because those renditions were born for nappy. So next we get DETYS into St. Alphonzo which was a little jarring at first, but really, Nanook was always a little boring to me in concert (Kindergartner's of London being the exception of course!) so I think it was ultimately a great choice. I think this section was my girlfriends favorite part of the night. It was fantabulous, could have done with a Rollo, but oh well. So next came Inca Roads, and once again, fate smiled upon me. Listening to the Jammy performance, I have to say Napolean is just not suited for that song, there's a reason Frank got George to sing it. That song needs a crisp, clear voice, and Sheila Fucking delievered. I was sobbing as she started singing. Now usually I can keep it together till frank hits those heaven notes, (you know the ones on Helsinki! OSFA too, but to a lesser extent due to the edits) . But it is the honest, naieve (as in just not having that information!) plea of "Did a vehicle come from somewhere out there" mixed with music that may as well be from another galaxy, that just sets me off. I can't handle that song, it is the greatest thing ever. I try not to listen to it in public! But Sheila nailed it, better than some George Duke versions. I hope they let her take over on vocals for that song for the rest of the tour. As the instrumental section kicked in, note for note perfection as far as I could tell, my girlfriend started to sob watching how the music was physically moving me, knowing what this song meant to me. As the solo section started, the whole band chilled right the fuck down, which I took to mean we were in for a long building solo, which we were. No playing a guitar solo on inca roads is a fucking bold move to make. I would never in my entire life even attempt it, but he bravely stepped into the fray, and well, didn't quite get there until just the very end with a beutiful quick flourish. Not that it was a bad solo, but given franks work in that section is my favorite thing on this planet, time and time again, nobody that I know of could even stand a chance, there's a magic in franks melodies that only he had, but I digress, the song progressed into a lengthy keys solo, where he expertly weaved themes from the song through his improv, from where I was sitting, (floor, right hand side) the keys were very muddy though, one of the only problems with sound I had with the show, but it could have just been my position. it was hard to hear what he was playing distinctly, so it's impact on me I'm sure could have been much better. other than that the sound was clear, and for these ears, the PERFECT volume. that's a tough line to tread! too loud and it's a painful experience, too quiet and you're forced to be engaged in your neighbours lame conversing. and on that note, I have to say, best crowd I've ever experienced. I wasn't annoyed in the least, they shut the fuck up during the songs, and went apeshit in between. a little tooo much clapping and cheering, making a lot of things inaudible said from stage, but overall, I didn't want to kill anyone, and at shows I almost always do! my neighbours were great family folk, watching the father daughter team in front of me continuosly stealing the binoculurs from each other was a treat! So exit the key solo, through the end of the song, on ruth, and bang, end of set one. Wow, I thought, amazing, but seemed kind of short, oh well, don't forget the exciting extended encore at the end of the show, Chunga's, Eat that Question, Zomby!!!! the show must go on!!!!!!

So from the nice man next to me with two boys, and from conversation overheard during setbreak, it appeared the audience was here largely for Bozzio, of course, every drummer I've ever known listens to zappa, how could you not! So as Bozzio hit the stage, for a second I had to rub my eyes and ask myself, "did JayP score a guest spot with ZPZ?" For his shirt was full on American sugar Bitch banner styles! I laugh, and get settled in for some hardcore Sheik yerbouti! (one of the first few Zappa cd's I bought, so as you can understand, it holds some large sentimental value, (yes, even a song like I'm so Cute!) So hearing them was excellent, but as has been stated before, this band is not so well suited for this type of backbeat heavy rock. Not up to sheik standards, but still a full on pleasure to hear. I enjoyed Terry's zappaesque alterations on the vocals, that was aprreciated by me, this man is a monster. I was hoping the whole audience would sing along with the renenena's, but it seemed I was the only person craving an infinite amount of voices singing it like on the cd. in between songs, bozzio started a speech about how cool it was to have met dweezil when he was like five, and now be touring with him! He then said that as he went to his drum workshops missing shows, every time he'd come back dweezil had kicked the shows up a few notches, to which Dweezil responded, "Now this is just turning into a sycophantic love fest" which made me laugh for some time. Something about the way dweezil said it, it was just the perfect comment. Then into tryin to grow a chin (that conversation MAY have happened after chin, but methinks before.) with a similar criticism as my previous post, just not quite the right aggressive feel that song originally had, though I have to say, that, how they say, pregnant pause before one more time for the world felt SO fucking good live, knowing the riff was coming back just jazzed me all up!
now of course, people have been pretty consistent in marking the next song as the highlight of the show, and I'm glad they are as insane as I am. When dweezil first said the word POUND I freaked out. I hope I didn't scare the families around me too much, I had forgotten this song was even in the running. The melody section was played perfectly, then came a whole other level of magic. Just to start, I'm not slighting the musician's here at all by not talking about their solos, because all apologies, but I didn't take in one note, as Terry's playing was just so fucking amazing. Continuosly changing, always engrossing, and always perfect. Must have been at least 8 to 10 minutes of pure magic. I can't say enough, or describe it so I'll stop, but no matter what anyone else played, Bozzios playing was just too powerfully facinating, (he was complimenting them too though, don't think he played over and out of what they were doing.) the only exception was the bassists solo, he got me out of my Terry trance and stuck into a totally amazing solo. So that's saying a lot! Once again the rhythm guitarist's solo kicked ass, but no percussion solo on pound was a hard pill to swallow, still, it was unbelievably amazing. All I could think was, "I feel SO bad the rest of the world didn't get to hear Terry play Pound!" despite the fact initally I was most excited to see Nappy live, (I've seen steve before, otherwise he would have been the main attraction for me) Not to mention Pound's ending just got immediately sucked up into the intro to PUNKY'S!!!! Now remember pound was only played once, (and only because Dweezil's guitar cut out) so this segue was likely not rehearsed before today, but it worked SO well. So now we get a song I NEVER thought I'd hear live, and it was wonderful. Joe's intro was perfect. It was a joy to hear him do it live. He made an altercation or two which I can't remember but they were very funny nonethless. THe first instrumental section got derailed though, (I couldn't pin point who was to blame, but mistakes were made) but everything else was played perfectly. The highlight for me was the Ain't it Romantic section, can't get enough of that melody over those chords! As JayP mentioned, I prefer the faster 77 version, but to each their own. It was still a joy to hear. NExt on the chopping block of course was the Black Page. I've never been a huge fan of it as a drum solo, doesn't quite do it for me, but once the melody kicked in, good lord!!! that was beauty. godamn beauty! I guess I'm just one of those teenagers with a hate-on for statistical density! (yeeeaaa right!) So now steve is on the floor and I'm prepared for some face melting. Peaches was of course great, during which, a pretty lady nearby walking back to her seat hear's Peaches and starts grooving her ass off in the aisle! so great to watch people dance to this, her boyfriend promptly pulled at her pant leg and got her to sit down, (stifling bastard!) They played a great version (note: unlike many, peaches is not a favorite of mine, it's wonderful no doubt, but not on my list of greatest frank pieces) the triple guitars playing frank's mini solo just blew me away, how geogeous a moment was that! I expected a peaches jam, but they played a succint version, which was fine by me either way. now we get Montana, I was expecting two montana's, which bothered my girlfriend, but was made worthwhile to me as I got to hear Vai sing it! I knew how much steve must have been enjoying singing that song, and he had a little fun with it, singing about moving to Toronto, and other alterations Frank threw in from time to time (like pondering what mental toss lycoon meant) then came a great dual (less of a duel) solo section which I thoroughly loved from both dweez and steve. now we get Sheila singing Village, and I mean, wow. Napolean was always amazing for that song, but so was sheila, maybe she was even better, but her singing made me cry again, (fuck!) it was perfect, and I pondered how it felt for dweezil to be playing a song about his father's youth. a funny strange feeling, gooseybumps and all. It was Marv Ellis. and into Echidna's, wow! Now I knew why every kept listing that as a highlight! I've always loved that song, but hearing it live just put into a whole new perspective, (in terms of how complex, AND how fucking effective it is) I was in love, near the end the knowledge that it was not going to segue into Don't You Ever Wash That Thing was painful to me, I mean those songs were born to be together, echidna craves a thorough washing afterwards, but they did repeat the last section again and ended it suitably. so I accepted though, was suprised that when the applause died down and I yelled that they needed to wash, nobody around me seemed to get it.
So now, the Dweez informs us it's getting on curfew time, and the boo was overwhelming. How could this music ever end? It was at this point It fully sunk out on what I had missed, Cheepnis for one, an alltime favorite of mine, and a staple of this show, was understandably cut sans Napolean. Hurtful but understandable. No Zomby Woof? Everyone had written that Steve's solo on this was a highlight of the show, I had been waiting ever so patiently, but this also was not to be. Eat that Question, a full on frothfest for me, I knew was unlikely to be played from past setlists, but with the news of no Napolean, I had been cheering myself all night with the knowledge (note that knowledge is neither wisdom nor truth) that ALLL the instrumentals would be played to night. Sadly not, nor the Chunga's appearance of Frank. Now this was the real bummer from me. From very early on when this concert was announced, I'd been thinking "ampex frank with improvised live backing, AWESOME! How could they NOT do it?" so when I read they started doing it with a video, well ZPZ trumped even my imagination!!!!!! So I was sure (ESPECIALLY since Napolean was absent) that Chunga's was destined for my ears, sadly, once again, nonono. instead they launched into a quick version of lumber truck (were they doing the roxy son of oh no with nappy? please respond as now I'll never know!) into Trouble. Now the original Trouble is to me, one of the greatest songs ever, (not to mention a VERY early example of rap!) the lyrics just floor me, they're as relevant now as ever. (no? just exchange black for native or muslim, whites of course play the same role as always) so the later versions of this song were always a dissapointment to me. To Frank's credit, every version would be morphed into a vehicle to make a few light comments about whatever the news story of the day was, great. but to play this song and NOT address any current issues is sad. The total lack of politics and social commentary was depressing, but I suppose I was there for the music, and on that they delivered like a motherfucker! still, I was not able to really get over my down feelings about the end of the show, (and thoughts of "they payed for more time in boston but not on their ONE canadian date?) until Terry's solo started, and of course he slayed, playing a solo with many similar riffs to the one on Baby Snakes, though I feel that this one was MUCH better, shorter, but better. during this though, knowing how close to the end the show was, I started to get bummed that we hadn't heard a Joe Travers solo yet, as he had nailed everything in the show thus far, (drumming, singing, this guy was probably as important to pulling off this tour as Dweezil) so as Terry ended and JOe's solo began, a feeling of THIS IS EXACTLY what I wanted hit, and he played a great solo, that was totally alternate to what Terry did. Bozzio's solo was more about incorporating riffs he's clearly been playing for years into an improvised frenzy, a more melodic solo (his work on his cymbals, especially how he has a splash on top of every crash was awesome) while Joe started off slow, and just whipped it into a tom trashing frenzy, with sticks breaking the laws of time and space. Me likey both equally. (the gf felt bad for joe having to follow terry, but fuck that, I'm a better drummer than her anyways!) So eventually the song ends and we are left with introductions. I knew it was eleven (fucking facsist laws!) so I knew there would be no encores, a bitter sweet end, especially since the cheers drowned out the georges Token riff which I love ever so much, (and love that they inverted Frank's tradition of those tours of using it as an intro, that is a GREAT way to pay tribut to the man!) then Dweez passed off a closing solo to Vai, which I have to iterate hear, was magnificent. absolutely georgeous and perfect. In retrospect I have to say it made up for the lack of Sofa, it was just as beutiful. MOreso knowing that Steve feels he is a hack at soloing live (this is taken from an interview with him) that he likes to practice and prepare his solos as much as he can. Which I respect, but feel bad about since I know he is a mother fucker of the highest order. So hearing him tossed a totally improvised solo was a magic moment for me, he just had to react, and boy, it was a fucking highlight of the show. so bows and curtains and a mixed feeling from me. I wanted more. so off for consolation chill down beers around the block, I interupt someone talking about seeing other tribute bands to ask how they compared. Despite the looks of "why the fuck are you interupting our very fascinating conversation" eye daggers of death I got from the others, the orator kindly informed me ZPZ was ten times better. (I asked which he'd seen and he said Project object and another he couldn't name) so we drink our warm creemore, then I drag m'lady off to grab some fastfood for later, (corporate whore, that's me!) on the way back, I lead her a block off our path, to see if the band has come out to the busses yet, and luckily enough for me...as I was on a mission. I got the chance to ask the vaultmeister if Frank ever recorded the rest of Hunchentoot. I know a wall of flames is likely to befall me at this moment, but I feel it is THE great lost Zappa masterpiece, and I want to hear all the songs SOOOOO badly. (let alone see the full thing mounted, I mean I realize in reality if Frank wasn't able to get the funding, it'll never happen, but a cd of all the songs would be better than anything else on this equivalent earth that I could wish for) He didn't seem too sure about it, but tried to console me that most of it had already been released. Essentially it made me realize I will never get to hear those lost songs, which makes me sad as hell, if anyone knows of ANY of them existing, PLEASE let me know, (and thank god for Joe's Domage, not only is it a fantastic fucking opportunity to attend a Zappa rehearsal, I mean what could be more exciting than that!!!! but we get the Think it Over with lyrics.)
Soonly, Steve Vai came out and started signing autographs, as much of a god he is to me, without a cd of mine to hand him, all I had to say was, as he answered questions to the orderly people who'd been waiting in line backstage for an hour, was to tell him he was in one of Frank's greatest groups, and that the Token solo was amazing. so next we head back to the hotel room, Chrissy falls asleep to me babbling excitedly about the night, and in a desperate attempt to fall asleep I drink a bottle of wine and composing a fancy little riff commemrating the excitement of it all, destined to take a place in the ongoing epic composition, "Sucks I Never Got the Chance to Fail an Audition for Frank"
thank you for putting this show on all!!!!!!!!!! motherfuckin!


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 Post subject: Pound for a Brown
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 3:16 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 12:52 am
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Location: Ontario, Canada
hey mikey it looked like there was a lot of video being taken on the stage ... is there video of P4AB it was quite amazing and I'm sure the video is ... also like what you 've done with the home page ............. but P4AB would be kewl .... pleeeze

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 4:45 am 
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Wow, so many sentences I wanted to begin with/I want to say: "To start off..." Im really at a loss where to begin...

Wow! I have studied this tour extensively, yet the show still exceeded all of my expectations. I have read every review, (at the time) had listened to 5 complete shows (by the time of this writing, on the 19th, I have 9, including the Toronto show, Im listening to it as I write this), downloaded every video clip I had found, and read every article and interview related to this tour yet I was still astounded. A lot of my friends said I was nuts/that I was ruining it for myself listening to all the shows ahead of time. I disagreed, stated that I will know and realize every little nuance that was different/unique to the performance. That said, upon arrival we were informed at the door by a H.C. staff that Napoleon Murphy Brock would not be there (and that we could choose not to attend and get a refund - yeah right!) Now I knew that we were in for a unique performance. I expected nothing less anyways, but now it was apparent before I walked in! I purchased 2 t-shirts and a crappy little pamphlet/program designed by Diva and headed in to find that my 3rd row seats were actually 2nd row as only the center section had a 1st row (bonus!). The announcement was a family emergency that Nappy had to be home to tend to but we all speculated that he couldnt get across the border. We recalled a similar situation when Project Object came to Toronto a few years back and no N.M.B. (This seems confirmed since he was there the next night with ZpZ in Chicago.)

Opening the show was FZ and the 1973 Mothers of Invention on a big screen: video footage from the Roxy video that they have been teasing us for 3 years would be coming soon :roll: . It was nice to finally see about 20-30 minutes of this footage, but I want the 4 hours on dvd promised in the trailer on the Baby Snakes dvd menu and on the website back in the fall of 2003. But... thats another story. After watching Montana and Duprees Paradise with Frank larger than life, out came Dweezil and the "young" band. Now, I only refer to the "kids" as the younger members of the band that werent veterans of previous touring bands of Franks'. They were all established and have distinguished careers of their own, but the musicianship displayed by each and every one of them on this night was incredible. This band is tight. They play incredibly intricate, complex music and can stop on a dime... and improvise wonderfully. I was going to end with this, but it should be said here: Frank would be proud. Honestly, I would not have been disappointed in the least had the special guests not been there. This is not a knock on the FZ veterans chosen at all, that is a testament to how good the kids are! (actually, N.M.B. wasnt there)

They opened with Imaginary Diseases, a song which has haunted me now for weeks since listening to the first show of this tour I downloaded. See, it is almost like a new FZ song, since it had never been released on an official FZ album until recently. Sure - I have a crappy bootleg cassette copy of it that hasnt seen the light of day in over 10 years but hearing it so much the past few weeks I have had it stuck in my head all day every day... singing it... whistling it... The band was jumping in time to the initial bass line until their individual parts came up, likely expelling some of the pent up energy waiting to perform again. You could immediately see that the "kids" are really enjoying this tour, they're playing 5-6 nights a week yet are still so enthusiastic. They are playing very challenging music and pulling it off well no, well doesnt suit this, pulling it off spectacularly... it has to be a hell of a rush. Dweezil has really come along as a guitar player and bandleader. He has evolved from a proggressive hair metal shredder to a style of his own: now his phrasing is a lot like his fathers', but he still has that bit of shred in him and can really take off with blistering fury. As a bandleader he was poised and seemed pretty confident, although a little quiet/reserved. If there are future versions of this tour (?how about yearly? raises eyebrows LOL) maybe with more experience and confidence he will become more animated.

Without Napoleon there to sing, there were changes made obviously, starting with drummer Joe Travers singing the first rendition of Stinkfoot played on the tour so far (already another unique point for Toronto!). Joe did a great job singing FZ and/or Napoleon sung parts all night he sounded surprisingly like Frank! Into a superb King Kong, showcasing the talents of not only the band, but the crowd as well. Dweezil taught us some hand signals and conducted both the stage and the entire venue. Nice to see the Dweez incorporate some audience participation too, Frank would be proud. Everyone on the stage got at least a little solo in King Kong, and everyone impressed me. Joe Travers' was short, but I knew that we of course had more coming. Jamie Kime got his moment early, which I was glad for since I think it would be pretty intimidating being a guitar player on a stage with Dweezil Zappa and (later) Steve Vai. Pete Griffin reminded me of Scott Thunes, not so much in his playing style, but the fact that he seemed just a little out of place socially and style wise, but could play his ass off and belonged there. Scheila Gonzalez, who already has proven herself the whole tour and this night through Dont Eat the Yellow Snow, St. Alphonsos and Father Oblivion as a competent backup singer, took the lead vocals (for the first time on the tour, again unique to Toronto show!) for Inca Roads and she wasgreat. Even with Napoleon back, they should consider allowing her to sing it for the rest of the tour (Inca... or Village of the Sun). While all of the kids were superb musicians, if there was one to stand out it was Scheila, she was amazing. She impressed by playing saxophone with one hand and keyboards with the other at times, she is someone whose career I will follow beyond this tour. Throughout a few sax solos she got through the night I wondered who influences her most, as I heard elements of a lot of styles in her playing.

After a brief intermission they introduced the great Terry Bozzio. I guess I lied when I said I wouldnt have missed any of the veterans had they not been there, because it is always a thrill to see this man perform live. My seats were literally about 8 feet away from Terry, right in front of him, if he still had long hair he could have been spraying us with sweat LOL. My eyes were glued to him most of the time he was on the stage. After a few heavier, comedic Sheik Yerbouti Terry sung numbers (Im So Cute, Tryin To Grow a Chin), and a "sycophantic love fest" (as Dweezil put it) we got a real treat: a Pound For a Brown. This had only been played once before on the tour so we were getting some more somewhat "unique to Toronto" treatment. Some amazing soloing by most all throughout, but I have to comment on the tasty accents thrown in by the horns (Scheila and Aaron) during Dweezil and Terrys trade off soloing towards the end. Aaron Arntzs keyboard playing was quite good throughout the night, but I thought that there wasnt enough emphasis on his trumpet playing. He and Scheila played quite well together. I think a little bit of a trumpet solo and one less keyboard solo might have been nice (but not necessary). One minor disappointment was that Billy Hulting didnt get another solo, he played his ass off all night of course. I always have loved the parts Frank wrote for his percussionists and felt that Ed and Ruth were a couple of the most underappreciated musicians ever. Well, kudos to Billy Hulting for pulling off all those tricky little notes to a tee. His playing was one of the highlights of the night for me, a lot of the songs just wouldnt work without him. I then got to witness a couple of songs I never thought I would see played live in my lifetime: Terry Bozzio playing Punkys Whips and The Black Page. I was astounded. Steve Vai came out during the break between Black Page 1 and Black Page 2 and my notes (I took a little notepad that I didnt use too much... I didnt want to look away from the stage) for Black Page 2 were just (in capital letters) "holy fuck!". Stellar. I thank the whole band for playing this, and I thank Frank Zappa for writing it. What an icredible piece of music!

Terry left and the band played on with Steve Vai showcasing his talents through the beautiful Peaches en Regalia, Montana, Village of the Sun (Steves guitar intro to that always makes me misty LOL) and the other highlight of the night for me (the other being black Page 2) : Echidnas Arf (Of You). What an incredible song, words cant begin to describe the performance. You could see it in the bands eyes they loved it too, they nailed it and they response was overwhelming by both us (crowd reaction) and the bands looks on their faces. Probably the biggest surprise of the night was Steve Vai singing lead on Montana! Remember, Nappy wasnt there and everyone had to step up a bit, and Stevie Vai, that little Italian virtuoso actually was pretty good! You could see he was having fun with it.

Since union rules wouldnt permit the show to go past 11pm (thats a whole other issue... dont get me started!) the band didnt actually leave the stage, but instead went into the "encores". Terry came back out and they did a quick abbreviated O.C.L.T. intro into Trouble Every Day. They were pretty faithful to the original, not deviating into current social & political commentary that I thought that they might have done, but of course I wasnt expecting them to having heard a few versions done on the tour already, just an observation. Of course, they were playing the music of Frank Zappa, and I suppose it wouldnt be right in this context to change lyrics, its just the nature of that song would have allowed for some amusement had they done it. Steve Vai did some real showboating, but when you have that kind of talent, I guess its allowable. Dweezil and Steve did some really amazing ping pong soling, and I cracked upwhen they broke into the "Freebird" riff while soling together. A Terry Bozzio drum solo kicked everyone in the face of course, but then it was a real surprise to see Terry point at and hand over the reins to Joe Travers to solo, and it was really something to see Terry grooving to Joe's drum solo, which by the way, even following a Bozzio solo, was amazing. You could see it even Terry totally dug it. They slowed it down while Dweezil introduced the band and the music of his father, over the Token Of My Extreme melody, and he then surprised Steve Vai by saying "we only have a few minutes left, but I feel we didnt hear enough Steve Vai tonight, so Id like for him to take a little solo before we finish up" and the band continued with the T.O.M.E. vamp while Steve improvised a stellar solo to take us to 11pm when the lights immediately came on (Damn stagehand or whatever union!).

Since I was right there, afterwards I walked up to the stage and got to briefly talk to Scheila Gonzalez and I waited patiently while Dweezil made his way along the throng and I got an awkward picture with him and he signed both my program and an inaccurate set list that I was able to scoop off of the stage. Its funny the set list obviously was severly altered since Napoleon wasnt there, and due to the time constraints. I will scan them and post them eventually, but I wanted to get this review up a.s.a.p. I took a disposable camera, but the pictures arent very good. They appear surprisingly far away (no zoom on a disposable eh), the pics dont do my seats any justice LOL. Had I taken a digital camera with optical zoom I could have had some amazing shots! Bad as they are, I will post those pics one of these days on a site somewhere. For some pics from that night that someone else took (from the balcony) look here

Thank you Dweezil for doing this tour. Frank would be proud.

_________________
Information is not knowledge, Knowledge is not wisdom, Wisdom is not truth, Truth is not beauty, Beauty is not love, Love is not music, Music is the best.


Last edited by makeajazznoise on Sat Jun 24, 2006 5:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2006 3:47 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 21, 2006 3:28 pm
Posts: 2
Location: St.Catharines,Ontario
There aren't enough adjectives to describe the show!! Amazing does not begin to cover it! We did the "groupie " thing after the show and hung out by the buses. There were maybe 15 people out there anxiously awaiting the band's departure. Dweezil came out first looking exhausted,. He smiled and meandered into the tour bus while the crowd cheered ( he did not reappear)
Steve Vai,ever the gentleman put his bags on the bus and returned outside. He spent about 20 minutes outside with us signing autographs on everything from cd covers to arms legs and necks!! Some young kid handed him a demo and Steve told him he would "sincerely make the effort to listen to a few tracks"...asked the kid for his address and number and retreated to the bus. this kid just about passed out!! Bozzio is "SO CUTE!!" He also hung out and signed autographs. The rest of the guys hung outside the bus for about 45 minutes chatting with anyone who would approach. Even a homeless guy got an autograph and a "Fin" from the drummer!!! I can't wait till Buffalo!!
All that's left to say is "Frank You very much!!"

_________________
"Punky was seen with a beautiful shiny hairdo
In a semi profile which emphasized the pooched out succulence of his insolent pouting rictus,
the site of which drove this helpless young woman mad with desire"


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 Post subject: Amazing show in Toronto!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2006 2:57 pm 
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Posts: 1
Location: Ontario, Canada
I went to see the concert at the Hummingbird with my brother and sister, who have been Frank Zappa fans as long as I have (about 15 or 16 years).

What a show!! You could tell that we, the people, were starving for that kind of performance and in particular, Frank's music live! There were standing ovations from the get go, and I was so glad to hear some of my favourites like King Kong, and even Stinkfoot! Inca Roads blew everyone away. I think we cheered so much we actually cut into performance time!

Steve Vai and Bozzio were great, and they looked to be really enjoying playing Frank's music again. Dweezil and the rest of the band were outstanding as well. I can't stop talking about how great this show was! Hope they come again soon.

Sign me up for the Sheila Gonzalez fan club too! :)

Pedro


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 7:05 pm 
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Posts: 3
Location: Buffalo, NY
I have been a die hard Allman Brothers Band fan for the past 16 years beginning with the 1st time I finally saw them live back in 1990. The 1st live show had such a profound effect on me, it changed my life musically and provided me with many years of blissful musical enjoyment. This ZPZ show I recently saw in Toronto had the same effect on me. I posted the following review over on the ABB website guesbook & listserve.
**********************

This concert I saw in Toronto last weekend was so good, I just had to share….

I made the trip up the QEW after work on Friday to see a show at the Hummingbird Center called Zappa plays Zappa.

Essentially, it is a band of highly skilled musicians fronted by Frank's son Dweezil, and features special guests on certain songs, who used to be full fledged members of Frank Zappa's former touring bands. Most notably, guitarist extraordinaire Steve Vai, vocalist and sax player Napoleon Murphy Brock and outstanding rock drummer Terry Bozzio.

Due to an urgent family emergency, we were informed at the door that Napoleon would not be present at that evenings performance and we would be fully refunded our money if we so desired. I did not see anyone take that offer. Being a Frank Zappa neophyte and knowing very little about the man or his music, it was apparently very evident to everyone else in the know, that this Napoleon character was a key figure who would be very sorely missed. It made little difference to me since I basically knew very little about anything regarding the band or their history.

Jumping slightly ahead, when Dweezil and the band took the stage, he reiterated to the crowd that unfortunately this Napoleon person would not be there and was profusely apologetic to the crowd and thanked them in advance for their patience and understanding. He informed the audience that the entire band really scrambled and tried in earnest to work around this key missing piece, and put together a solid show that would still retain a high quality feel and please everyone on attendance. He said that he thought they had concocted a quality alternative and that we, (Toronto), had the unique opportunity to see a different show apart from other audiences on the tour. I think as a result, we saw a more intense instrumental showcase, (which I think), I would have preferred anyway. Let me just say at this point that they delivered in a huge way.

The evening started with the venues' chime bells, (like Shea's Buffalo Theater), signaling that it was time for the performance to begin and people should find their way to their seats. The stage was set up with the usual rock show essentials; guitar amps, pa cabinets, central drum riser with a massive drum kit, microphone stands and the like, in front of a very large projection screen, and also with an even more massive drum kit set up on the right side (facing) of the stage, right on the stage with no riser.

As the house lights dimmed at 8 pm sharp, the large screen behind the stage began to display some older (1973 at the Roxy I was told) film footage of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, rounded out by some of the aforementioned players and George Duke from the jazz world, and Chester Thompson who went on to play with (and still does) Carlos Santana. I can't remember the songs played, since much of this was all new to me anyway, but the film played for about 25 minutes. Perhaps since all this old footage was brand new to me, I was really caught up in the spectacle of something very good, yet unfamiliar. Showing a concert film to a live audience might seem like a cheap artistic ploy without extending much effort, but in the context of this particular show, I thought it was brilliant. Old time Zappa fanatics LOVED it. For me it was a window into what the original band was all about, (having never seen Frank personally), and was a great introduction to, what for me was a historical mystery tour. For the die hard veterans of the scene, it was a fantastic tribute and wonderful, nostalgic trip down memory lane.

I felt like one of the very few newbie's in the crowd, along with my traveling companions, but the rest of the bunch clapped and cheered enthusiastically at various points in the films song selection. At one point, someone leaned toward me and whispered, or probably shouted more accurately, considering the healthy volume in the theater, and said, "Do these people realize they are cheering for a film??!!" It didn't matter to them, or me. I joined in and cheered as well. It made me realize all that I had missed over the years, and sadly would never have the opportunity to see "for real."

It's kind of funny because various individuals, when informed I was traveling to Toronto to see a "Zappa" show, 1st asked; "Isn't he dead?", then asked; "Why on earth would you want to go and see THAT? It's not real." My response was that it was the closest I would ever get to see the man or his music, and since it was being performed by members of the family and some original band mates, it's about as authentic as you could get today. And let me tell you, it may not be Frank, but it is for real, and it is very, very good!

At the conclusion of the film, (about 25 minutes I would guess), the band walked on to the stage silhouetted against the screen, and greeted the crowd to a thunderous applause as the stage lighting came up. You could just feel the electricity in the air and sense that you were about to witness something very special and very good. Not to jump the gun on this story, but I have to say that the excitement was well founded and they did not disappoint.

Before hand, and at the onset of the show, I had mixed emotions as to whether this would indeed be any good or worth the effort, or would be just another cheesy knockoff with someone cashing in on a famous name and not delivering much of a product. I thought it could have gone either way. I'm happy to say, it was the former. My only previous impression of the Zappa kids, was from what I had seen on TV interview shows, like Letterman, etc., where to me, they and Dweezil in particular, came off as something akin to comedian/actor Pauly Shore, or Fast Times at Ridgemont High space cadet Spicoli. Just a bit of a goof with a famous name, and no real talent of his own. I was, however, encouraged and inspired to see this show based in the interview with Dweezil and Ahmet, on the Zappa website. He really came off very well and sounded like he invested significant effort into improving his own musical skills as well as delving deep into his Father's canon and immersing himself in learning this vast array of very complex and intricate material.

As the saying goes, never judge a book by it's cover. My impression of the written interview on the website was correct. This kid has loads of talent. Loads. He is a very, very good guitar player, not to mention a very humble and respectful young man. After seeing this show, I have nothing but respect for the kid, and his own love and respect for his father, his fathers music, his fathers legacy and that of the Zappa family. He'd make any parent proud, based on this performance anyway.

I can't offer the set list, although I'm sure it could be found in a bit of a web search. As I said before, much of this stuff, apart from a few odd bits, here and there, is music I am largely unfamiliar with. What I previously knew of Zappa music was only what they played on radio back in the 70's and 80's. Short, pop-ish songs like "Valley Girl", "Sheik Yer Booty", "Dancin' Fool", etc. Not bad music, and actually quite humorous, but nothing virtuosic or groundbreaking. Just fun music without a lot of substance. I did at some later interval, buy the "Zoot Allures" album since a friend of mine had a copy that I liked, and then I bought the "Shut Up and Play Yer Guitar" cd's, which really showed me that there was much more to this man and his music than you'd ever hear on the radio. (Sadly, that's true of most radio today). I'm not sure why I never explored the music much further than that, but assume I must have been intimidated by the sheer number of releases, and didn't know where to begin. I think I must have feared purchasing several cds I wouldn't like until I hit upon one that I did.

Anyway, back to the show...

After some opening words of humble appreciation for the crowds enthusiasm, the band ripped into a spirited set of high energy music featuring the nimble dexterity of all the players as they raced through a musical landscape reminiscent of an off-road motocross course with many high speed thrills, through the twists and turns, abrupt stops and starts, and sudden changes in speed and tempo. The whole band functioned like well designed, German engineered, high performance machine and displayed a unified tightness far above the capabilities of many live acts touring today.

Let me tell you, these folks can flat out PLAY!

After a brief intermission, the band soared though another cache of material, which to me was like unearthing buried treasure. I was loving what I was hearing for the very 1st time.

Of course, the seasoned fans were well aware of this body of work, and almost had tears in their eyes to hear it played once again by masterful musicians, playing the pieces as they were intended to be played. The reaction of long time fans was like being re-united with long lost loved ones, once again basking in the glow of something not witnessed in a long, long time.

For me, it was a voyage of discovery, and an eye opening experience to a world only previously glimpsed from afar in my periphery. It now served me as a beginning point to launch my exploration into this wealth of material that I now want to become much more closely acquainted with.

The "guest" musicians were nothing short of stellar.

I have seen Steve Vai several times before with his solo bands at local clubs and have always been thoroughly impressed by his technical expertise, his soulful excursions, and vast depth of knowledge of music with a confident command of his instrument. He is a guitarist that has always amazed me with his blend of musical talent and artful mastery of his electric gizmos and gadgets. Between his effects and complete control of feedback and amplification, he is quite a spectacle all by himself to observe.

I have heard of Terry Bozzio, and knew he played with a wide variety of musicians over many years, but I never saw him live. All I can say is, Wow! At 56 years old, he is all over his massive drum kit like a mad man of any age. This guy is a monster and a precision machine. His drum solos are anything but clichéd or boring. He is quite a showman and gives all he's got. I'm surprised he doesn't require oxygen when he's through with one of his lengthy solos.

Dweezil himself, is one HELL of a guitar player. I was really very impressed with how good he is. I believe I read somewhere (or heard) that he is playing one of his dad's old Gibson SGs during these shows. I also read somewhere that he took two years out of his career to basically woodshed, and learn to play at a higher level and also learn much of his father's material. Both of which are very evident in the quality show he has developed and executes with authority.

Beyond the sheer musicianship of all the players, the thing that impressed me the most was the love, honor, respect and reverence that Dweezil and the others displayed in presenting this music, and the sense of "family" that permeated the whole scene. This is not some cheap knockoff in a sad attempt to use a famous family name to cash in on easy money and exploit the situation or material. This is the real deal……or so it seems to my novice ears.

There is an overwhelming sense of love, loyalty, humbleness, appreciation for the fans, and all around respect for the genius of his father's legacy.

I think Frank would be proud of this effort.

This has given me a new respect for the hard work and efforts of the "Zappa family", and has inspired me to go back and explore the previously recorded material. With something like 60 or 80 albums, I have no idea where to start.

After returning home from the Toronto show, I went into the website to poke around and discovered, to my exuberant surprise, that they are coming to Buffalo, to UB on Monday, October 23rd, with tickets going on sale in mid to late July.

I'm glad I didn't know that until after I'd seen the Toronto show. If I knew Buffalo was on the schedule before I bought Toronto tickets, I may not have gone there. And, if Napoleon is back in the line up, I' think I'll have the opportunity to see a bit different show than the one I saw.

If you really want to see something special, do yourself a favor and go see this show. I know I will. You won't be disappointed.

Do you get the impression that I really liked this show? ;-)


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