I was extremely pleased with how my day went on Sept. 19th. After oversleeping and scrambling to meet my friends, I finally arrived about 2:15 PM on a nice bright Baltimore Sunday afternoon. I was just in time to hear Gail address the crowd and see the bust unveiled and Zappa Plays Zappa put on a very nice free two hour show that featured lots of great cuts and killer performances. My best friend said that the singer was not with the band the last time he went to hear ZPZ in concert. His rendering of FZ lyrics was just right - his phrasing and personality and voice was extremely appropriate and without unnecessary affectation. Ms. Gonzalez played hot and looked hot. Dweezil knocked out some great "gah-tahr" lines and the rhythm section was outstanding, in fact everybody was outstanding. It was really nice to see the sincerity of the fans and the city and the Zappas in coming together to celebrate the life and work of FZ. We're talking about a unique American who had character and was a character. For someone who was pigeonholed in the 1960's as the leader of a group with "no commercial potential", who has the last laugh now? We do!
Over the years, Baltimore has had to suffer through plenty of slights and grief from critics of the city and state. Honoring Frank Zappa with a day of celebration and the unveiling of the bust is a fantastic way to show everybody that one thing that IS new in Baltimore, is that we appreciate one of the most original and creative Americans that has ever lived.
A number of the videos on You Tube of FZ being interviewed reveals him to be a relatively humble guy who liked to play it straight and honest with his fan base. Even if he would have downplayed this tribute to him had he lived to see it, I've never been more proud of being there in Highlandtown last weekend, and of my local heritage of having grown up in Baltimore as a music fan and a Zappa fan.
My fave cuts from the performance were Florentine Pogen and RDNZL and wait a minute..........oh yeah, I liked everything. I hope that ZPZ and the family can come back again next year. I was able to see FZ in concert at the University of Maryland Cole Field House back in 1978 and I'm thankful to have had that experience. It is gratifying to know that the Zappa family is keeping the art of FZ alive so anyone with an open mind and ears can enjoy the fun as well.
One guy must have passed out from the fun and I couldn't see the face of the person as they were being escorted on a gurney to a waiting ambulance, but in some sense, we all were carried away with the simple pleasure of sharing a mutual love of rock music, art, ideas, and technique and sillyness and the thought-provoking fun that will always be Frank Vincent Zappa. Okay, I'm done!
Thanks again. RA