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Fall 1977

page three


November 13th, 1977

Let's get the vital stats out of the way first. This is a great show, as can be expected from this great band. The sound leaves a little to be desired, but the performance more than makes up for any sonic deficiencies. The "Torture" solo is great, methodical and patient and slowly escalating in intensity, culminating in a torturous frenzy that finds O'Hearn and Bozzio and Zappa all unleashing the demons they managed to restrain during the solo's slow build. "Pound" finds O'Hearn and Mars soloing at length, with the drawn out segue between the two solos drawing attention to the perfect pairing of these two musicians. "King Kong" replaces "Conehead" as Frank's post-"Bobby Brown" solo vehicle, and this is also great. Frank starts playing straight out of the main theme, and for the first minute his solo is treading water, and rather lamely at that. But he abandons this vamp for a simpler, ZINY-era "Illinois Enema Bandit"-type vamp, and this produces instant sparks. The rhythm section works this vamp to death, slowly grinding away until Frank leads them into a heavy metal frenzy. Chaos and waves of noise threaten to break down the groove, until Frank slides into a "Pound for a Brown" reprise, and then abruptly leads the band into "Flakes". Great. Of course, "Wild Love" is THE MONSTER. Pete at length. Ed, doing the mambo thing, at length. In fact, Ed may have overplayed his time, as Bozzio and O'Hearn jump into Belew's vamp too soon, creating an interesting little train wreck in Ed's closing moments. Belew slowly drills his way into our skulls with the e-bow before whipping out the six-string chain saw and shredding out ear drums to pieces. Frank closes the whole affair with a nine-minute tour-de-force, with some warm-up exercises, some full blown Squirm, and a Yo Mama-esque climax that makes you want to cry. Did I say great? Tapes like this make it really hard for the other tapes.

But all of the above is to be expected from this tour. It is some other things about this tape that push it over the edge and make it essential. The confidence with which this band plays the "lesser" numbers ("Tryin'", "Cities", "Flakes") is thrilling, and provides the punch that these songs lacked on other tours. "Disco Boy" is a bona-fide crowd pleaser, and the crowd reaction to this piece (and then the utter silence during the following "Lather") is surprising, but very welcome. "Lather" is for me the defining song for this band. A "serious" number played with cocky assuredness flavored with intelligent solos that contain an exuberant "rock 'n' roll" energy. Damn, this band is something. "Wild Love", following this unusual "Disco Lather" combo, completes the trio perfectly, providing a little bit of everything and then much much more.

The show is not complete, as the tape starts shortly before the "Torture" solo and ends right after "Wild Love". Oddly enough, I do not have any complaints about this, and now wonder why I care so much about complete shows. All we really want is the good parts, no?


November 18th, 1977

Wow! I can only add to the superlatives that my collegues have been spewing forth above. November 1977 is one of those months that we tape collectors are having wet dreams about, and this tape is an excellent example. Each band member is playing at the top of their abilities, and FZ is in a brilliant
guitar playing mode. Mr Gossard used the words patient and methodic in his previous review, and they describe his playing perfectly here. We get very little of Frank, The Frenetic Axe Madman, and very much of Frank, The Tasteful Air Sculptor.

Torture gives us the first example of this. A long, beautiful solo, almost epic in nature. A little later, City Of Tiny Lights gets cut before the solo, and the tape resumes in an O'Hearn solo. For a short while, I was hoping Frank had reinserted the bass solo into COTL, but I soon realized that we'd landed in the middle of Pound. Oh well, the solo is awesome, starting out a capella, before it continues in classic Patrick/Terry groove style. Then comes a second cut, throwing us right into Tommy's solo. Very annoying, but soon forgotten when Tommy's solo - and the comp - turns out totally overwhelming. This is one of the very few occasions where I've heard FZ comment complimentary on the playing during a show - afterwards he says "Pretty good, huh? Terry Bozzio, Patrick O'Hearn and Tommy Mars for your dancing and dining pleasures".

This is the third and last show with King Kong in Conehead's spot. While I really miss Conehead, the replacement is more than worthy (you coulda' included 'em both, Frank!). Ed's solo is excellent, and Frank's is even better- a patiently restrained E-lydian affair, the kind which would become one of FZ's trademarks within the next couple of years. It sounds just like it could be from a 1979 Persona Non Grata or a 1980 Easy Meat, except that it's got a steady 4/4 beat. A second climax of the show, though the solo itself is surprisingly un-climactic in structure.

I Promise Not To Come In Your Mouth comes with its usual short & sweet solos. And then, the eagerly anticipated Wild Love. Now that Ed has already had his solo, Peter goes first (which is why this WL is a mere 24 minutes long) and plays one of the best solos I've heard from him, surely his best in this spot. Tommy & Adrian do their usual good stuff, before its time for the third and strongest climax of the show. Yes, Frank's solo is totally marvellous, starting from scratch over just Terry's sparse comp. Methodically,
he builds another beautiful sculpture, with just a few aggressive outburst, one of which made me jump in my chair. After the reprise of the Wild Love theme, FZ kicks off one of those great a capella guitar codas, but it's cut -very unfortunately.

Titties 'n Beer shows us that Frank is in an overall great mood today, chatting with the audience, accepting gifts and reading notes. The devil feels neglected, screaming "Hey, remember me?! Remember the show?!", to which Frank replies "Yeah, you're cute". The rest of the dialogue is quite funny too, without any tower-of-power or Warner Bros tirades. For the Dance Contest, FZ finds Lana in the audience, the girl who's dancing onstage on Roxy & Elsewhere.

The rest of the show is rather routine, and there are no encores on my tape. But with 2 hours of top-notch playing, I see very little reason to complain. The sound is not great, and some of the cuts are annoying, but I've traced a new source for this show, which hopefully will bring us an even more essential recording. Let me finish my review like I started it: Wow!


November 19th, 1977

Pretty Decent sound quality Aud. recording of an interesting show.
Flakes/intros - I can't tell if it's Frank or Adrian who plays the Steve Miller Livin' In the USA riff but that cracked me up. Apparently the home team won that day because Frank says,"So you guys won today huh? How incredibly thrilling." Peaches kicks off the show to a great start then Torture with a chilling Fz guitar solo with the ring modulated effects he has been using on this song. Some really unusual and unexpected sounds. I love the Frank- in- a- Hockey- rink- sound {I remember this band doing this song,{actually the same set} in Phx in 77 and the combination of Franks LOUD guitar with the moaning tape was almost too much,.......but I digress}
Tryin' to Grow a Chin,City Of Tiny Lights,Pound For A brown -Tommy Mars keys with scat singing is fun as he quotes Rhapsody In Blue and the tears it up on his  keyboard as does Peter Wolf on his solo.
Bobby Brown,Conehead- nice guitar solo.
Flakes,Big Leg Emma,Envelopes-Tommy's vocals are fun and he he manages to throw in a "I'm In You" for good measure. Terry takes a great drum solo then into Disco Boy,
I Promise not to Come In Your Mouth-beautiful as usual.
Wild Love -Excellent performance with great solos by Adrian and Frank.  Then Titties & Beer with some funny exchanges between Frank and Terry. Frank is very complimentary of Terry's drumming." If you didn't have that mask on I'd come up there and kiss you."  Next Frank asks for Terry's sister Carol Ann to come on stage to dance during The Black Page which the band plays magnificently.  Jones Crusher and Broken Hearts are both well done but Terry did something to make Frank say,"I take back everything I said about you Bozzio. Honestly,Jesus Christ- get you into a major metropolitan area with your whole fuckin' family in the audience...."
Punky's Whips is great all the way around.
"You are completely surrounded by policemen" says the little car featured in Baby Snakes as a lead in to the encores: Dinah Moe Humm and Camarillo Brillo.
Frank says "I've been given the strange signal that this show has to come to an end.Who knows why these things happen?" and the show ends abruptly.
All in all a very enjoyable show to listen to.


November 20th, 1977

The last show of the tour unfortunately arrives, with Frank and the boys hitting Los Angeles before a five-week break until New Years. Frank is fired up about the show from the start, kidding(?) the band that all the L.A. Music Biz Hot Shots are here and thus everyone needs to show off their chops. When the band breaks into "Peaches en Regalia" minutes later, it is obvious within the first few seconds that they are ready to do just that, and that they are charged with excitement.

Unfortunately, this tape (and possibly the show) do not meet the high expectations. To begin with, the sound on the tape is at best poor, with numerous pockets of silence throughout all three sides, and the entire- yes, the entire- Monster jam in "Wild Love" missing. Well, we do get about thirty seconds of Frank's closing solo, but that's it. No Mann no Mars no Wolf no O'Hearn no Belew no jam. Just Frank's climatic finishing squeals. Do I even need to continue the review?

Ignoring this major flaw in the tape, we turn to the concert, which surprisingly, also has many flaws. For possibly the first time all tour, the band falls victim to many a train wreck, playing lazy throughout the whole show and making small but obvious boo-boo's in "Pound for a Brown" and "Jones Crusher". While the songs themselves (with the interesting exception of "Peaches") are played rather sloppily, the solo sections thrive with energy and force. Frank's "Torture" effort is one of his shorter and weaker of tour, but not for lack of a scary rhythm section pounding nails underneath him. "Conehead"- which is introduced as "Tom Snider and the Red Spiders of NBC"- returns for its penultimate instrumental performance, and delivers one of the top solos of the tour. Long and casual, but with a definite purpose, this solo finds Frank riding wave after wave of inspiration as he capitalises on every little motif he stumbles across. As he follows these tiny little muses, he maps out a solo that covers opposite ends of the emotional spectrum, yet somehow remains a cohesive whole.

Other than Frank, not much goes on in this show. Mars' is the only soloist in "Pound for a Brown", and he delivers your typical Mars solo replete with keyboard goodies of all kinds. Wolf whips out a short one in "Lather", Bozzio's post-"Envelopes" solo is typical Bozzio, and apparently no one solos is "Wild Love". Frank's solo in "Punky's" sounds good, while his "Black Napkins" solo sounds short and dull, though neither of this matters as the sound on the tape becomes nearly inaudible by the time "Punky's Whips" rolls around.

This is a disappointing tape. The best part of the show (more than likely), is cut, and what we have reveals the human ("we do make mistakes") side of the Frank and the band. There are a couple good moments-primarily the "Conehead" solo- but thanks to poor sound and the availability of other, better shows from this tour, this tape falls into the "maybe someday" pile.