Winter '78 Reviews
February 7th, 1978
The second night starts off much the same as the first Paris show with Frank welcoming everyone to the best nightclub in Paris. Tonights tapers sound a bit closer to the stage. But there are a few drop-outs and cuts, possibly not their fault.
The Purple Lagoon/intros/Dancin and Peaches kick off the show nicely. Another nice Torture Never Stops with Frank playing around with an echoplex or some form of delay box at the start of his big solo. City Of Tiny Lites has a short but effective solo by FZ as well. A short piano improv segues Pound For A Brown and the opening of I Have Been In You. Tonight Frank decides to do the full-blown spoken intro to the crowds appreciation. I think he sensed there was more English comprehension than he expected and he decides to make sure by doing an informal poll.
The show picks up big time at this point with a great Flakes including "wanna buy a Renault, Bob?" during the Bob Dylan section. Adrian takes a real nice solo as usual, I hope we see a complete live Flakes released someday from this band. This one would do fine.
A mini-wreck on the segue but when the band clicks on the opening vamp to King Kong, all barrels are open. For the first time in a few months a very special King Kong ensues with Ed taking a cool solo throwing in some Uncle Meat licks. Tommy joins him and FZ directs the band to stop and conducts them to do an a-cappella vocal improv. Back to the jazz vamp, more marimba solos, more full band conducting (real nice) and back into a more full version of Uncle Meat! FZ melts everyone down into the opening of Wild Love. "Love Log" is secret worded and right where they usually go into Adrians big solo, the bad stops on a dime and Patrick takes a few minute solo with scant percussion to back him. After an interesting solo (all of his were) he queues the three note vamp for he return to the solo section of Wild Love. Besides the usual seagull style sounds Adrian became famous for later on, he showed some definite Crimson sounding chords and almost a gamelan intro to this solo. Yo Mama and another really nice solo from FZ are next. I kept thinking he was going to do that YAWYI lick, he danced all around it but it wasn't quite there yet.
And we haven't hit the encores yet. Some French fun with Titties and Beer and audience participation during the Black Page #2 followed. Why not, time for a monster with Little House I Used To Live In featuring terrific keyboard solos by both guys. My tape cuts and picks up right a the start of the Tango section, much better than the night before, Frank has everyone following his solo queues. Tommy adds a nice synth solo too.
A pretty "straight" Dong Work For Yuda is next and then Frank "hoping everyone understands" the words to Bobby Brown. Envelopes was introduced as 'Perpetual Love Log' tonight and included full lyrics by Tommy. Terry takes a nice solo which is also partially cut on my tape and they finish the main program with Disco Boy.
Same encores as last night, Dinah Mo Humm/Camarillo Brillo/Muffin Man. Frank uses some phasing during his Muffin Man solo to nice effect. He conducts one big round of sound to multiple final C chords.
They got one more, same as last night with a closing Watermelon In Easter Hay, again in double time. Before it starts, FZ comes out alone and just runs scales which is very unusual. He really cranks out a gem to close the show.
So, another cool early 78 show, since we'll probably never see a board tape, get this pretty decent audience recording.
The Winter 78 tour was gifted with some nice sounding tapes. This isn't
one of them. In fact, the C+/C sound might make it the worst sounding tape of the tour.
Nevertheless, if you're looking to round off your 78 collection, seek it out. There's a
damn fine concert under all that crowd noise.
I am now going to write my first negative words on this tour: This show is a disappointment. There, I did it. This was the first time I listened through all of it, and while it's quite a good show - I doubt that this band could play a bad show (given this setlist) even if they tried to - it's not as remarkable as I've come to expect from a Feb 1978 show.
FZ doesn't seem that inspired tonight, and keeps the speaking to a minimum to begin with (The Netherlands was usually one of the European countries where he did the most talking). No intro at all to I Have Been In You - this I can live it, but his soloing is sub-par in both of his first two solos, Torture and Tiny Lights. Pound For A Brown is great though, with Peter doing most of the soloing.
About an hour into the set comes a suite that looks mightily impressive: Watermelon In Easter Hay/King Kong/Wild Love/Yo Mama. But nah, this is probably the main let-down of the show. King Kong has finally enterred the setlist, and would provide some excellent jamming. But here, all we get is one little Ed Mann solo, and a pretty bad one at that. The vamp seems to be going too fast for Ed, who doesn't manage to make anything interesting of it. And when it's over, FZ interrupts the whole thing for intermission. He sounds noticably pissed off, and later we'd get to know why.
Watermelon opens the 2nd set, and while "Interesting" is still the most descriptive term for this song, rather than "beautiful" at this stage, it's one of the better versions from this tour. Wild Love next, which had by now lost all of its monster status, sadly. Here, it's just a guitar solo vehicle for Adrian. Good solo, and O'Hean is magnificent throughout. Yo Mama is the highlight of the suite, with the solo starting off dramatic and contemplative. As he often would do, FZ starts playing more rhythmic after a while, and the band joins in. We get a great solo over the most common Yo Mama vamp, the one that sounds like a slowed down You Are What You Is.
Titties 'n Beer also contains very little FZ/Devil chat. Soon, as FZ realizes that the audience understand him, we find out the reason why FZ seems so unhappy tonight. He tells the story about how he was forced to have an intermission in the middle of the set, otherwise he would have to pay a big amount of money. And the reason of course, the owners of the venue wanted to sell beer.
The highlight of the show: Little House I Used To Live In. The keyboard madness becomes a Tommy affair, with some characteristic, beautiful piano/voice improvisation, and later some synth solo as the band joins in. Pete gets to play a very short solo on Hammond & Moog before FZ kicks off the Tango. For quite some time, it's just FZ and the piano - very nice. Terry picks up the beat and soon, one of the keyboard players jump along. It seems FZ wants to keep playing for himself though (I get the feeling he gives the guy the Evil Eye here), and the synth disappears again. After FZ has finished his solo, the keyboard players get their own Tango solo spot, though Terry abandons the Tango beat for some of his usual thrashing. Terrific!
Dong Work For Yudas placement in the set here is excellent - one of FZ's simplest songs ever, but not too overplayed and a perfect contrast to Little House. The same can't be said about Bobby Brown, though. Envelopes is the last song on the tape, and if the encores contained any sensations, we'll probably never know.
February 14th, 1978
An average sounding tape, but a pretty good, if not exceptional, concert.
Highlights include Torture, which is beginning to find its feet and become the tour highlight. This band not only played well behind FZ's solos, but also played the vocal part of this song better than any other, IMO. Terry is starting to get less angry and more whiny in Tryin' to Grow a Chin, but it's not the irritation it would become tomorrow. Tiny Lites is better than usual for this tour, with Frank's solo having a harder edge. This is where I noticed that Terry's drumming was GREAT tonight, making many of the songs sound more energetic.
Now that King Kong is in the lineup, the Pounds are more of a mini- monster, though Tommy and Peter both turn in respectable efforts. Flakes is cut AGAIN, but we get most of the jam this time, which is good as it's intense. It's so intense that the 1-2-3-4 guy (Patrick? Terry? Ed?) forgets the number 3. ^_^
Speaking of King Kong...this is my favorite monster song, simply as it has both Ed and Patrick's best solo vehicles every night. This night is no exception as Ed is doing weird poly-rhythms, as well as leading the way into the meltdown portion (more musical and less spoken at this point). Then Patrick gets to do his usual funky stuff, with heavy backup from Terry. Marvellous.
Wild Love likewise is down to one solo, but this is now THE BELEW VEHICLE, and he makes it his own, with a nice e-bow intro and guitar outro. The disco vamp is excellent as well. There's some lovely echo effects towards the end (and not just because of the concert hall). Then we get Yo Mama, still finding its feet but a nice effort, with Frank turning in a shorter- than-usual solo mostly over the minimalist vamp that I call Part 1 of 3. (2 being the 'da-dah!' keyboard bit and 3 being the final jam vamp).
Standard encores, and Muffin Man is once again cut short. Still, good show, and the band seemed very energetic. But wait till tomorrow night...
February 15th, 1978
This is probably the most famous concert of the tapes circulating on this tour, and with good reason. It's an excellent sounding tape, A- and close to A. It's got the full selection of frequently played 78 songs, all played very well. It's got some marvelous FZ guitar, as can be heard of Sheik Yerbouti.
Details? OK. Starts off with nice, tight versions of Dancin' Fool and Peaches. Then into The Torture Never Stops, with Rat Tomago, as heard on SY. This is a totally bitchin' solo, and sounds even better on this tape than it does on the album. Highlight of the first half.
Then comes what to me is a poor choice. Terry Bozzio decides to sing his signature song, Tryin' to Grow a Chin, in a much whinier voice than usual, trailing his vocals up after every line and losing the anger. The song loses a LOT of its power because of this, and is hard for me to listen to, even if the guitar is nice 'n loud. We don't even get a 'Just as sure as my name is Terry Ted, Terry Ted' this time around. Feh.
Luckily, City of Tiny Lites is a stronger version than usual, with a heavy- metal tinged Frank solo. Baby Snakes, likewise, is always welcome to hear, if only because this is pretty much its only tour. As usual, the unions get superseded by the 'suck my pee pee towards the end' acronym.
Pound for a Brown is its usual mimi-monstrous self, with nice Mars and Wolf solos, heavily supported by O'Hearn's bass (nice and upfront in my tape). Tommy's solo is rather short, so after Peter does his thing he comes back for a bit, before it all ends in a meltdown crash.
I Have Been in You is quite funny tonight, mostly due to Adrian (Patrick?) coming in late on the fuzztone guitar (bass?). FZ notices this and riffs on it for a bit ("You can't expect a perfect show every time, it's just not in the cards"). This humor continues all through the song, making it a bit more interesting than usual. Then...an uncut Flakes! Yatta! And it's an excellent one, too, with a nice, long e-bow solo and an ending Adrian/Frank jam.
Broken Hearts is Broken Hearts, so let's move on to King Kong, in a nice version (hey, it's my favorite, cut me some slack). Ed's solo is nice, but you really can see what Jason means when he talks about listening to the backup more in Mann solos. Patrick and Terry are all over the place, blatantly trying to steal Ed's spotlight. The we get a bit of secret word melange, before Patrick does a 'play a cool riff for 30 seconds, and then do variations on it' solo.
Wild Love is rather short tonight, with just a nice Adrian solo to its name. Then comes Yo Mama, which is still discovering itself. FZ ends up playing a long, stretched out solo, ending up with a 3rd 'riff' that sounds a lot like the 'You Are What You Is' riff.
Titties 'n Beer has a cut in it that removes most of the middle monologue, and by this point in the song's development that was the only real interesting bit. And Black Page #2 doesn't even try to get audience participation, FZ's contempt for his audience coming to the fore a bit as he asks them to 'meditate' instead. That leaves Jones Crusher to try and pump some energy back into the show.
Then the second highlight of the show (after Torture), Little House. Let's review. Starts off with Tommy, and another calm, Hart School of Musicish solo that gets very epic after a while, sounding like a film score. Then Tommy starts scatting, and things get weirder. Then Peter gets a shorter solo, followed by a brief Tommy - Peter - Patrick - Terry free-for-all. Tommy and Peter duel for a bit. Then it gets quiet, with occasional synth licks, and then it's time for THE TANGO. Bitchin' version, with a MUCH better mix than the version I know from Sheik Yerbouti (I have only heard the 95 remix, so...). It's hard to describe why this version is so good. Everything just comes together.
Then we get the rest of the concert. Highlights include Frank teasing Adrian about Bowie again during Bobby Brown and Terry's rolling thunder drum solo in Envelopes. Dinah-Moe Humm actually proves to be interesting tonight, with Frank trying to goad the audience into singing Ave Maria, and getting a few band members to join in. Muffin Man closes things off with its usual late 70s loud rock solo.
If you were going to give a concert tape to someone to demonstrate a typical Winter 78 show, this would be the one I'd pick. Nice sound, a full 150 minute show, good versions of the regular lineup, and enough humor and variation to keep in interesting. Another must-have.
Another one of those magical nights of mid/late February 1978, with a
band that's grown so tight, they can move further and further into adventurous musical
territories, presenting the familiar but oh-so-great setlist. I just wish that the Danish
taper would have brought better recording equipment, as the sound leaves a lot to desire.
The music, however, doesn't.
If there's one thing this band could be rightly accused of, it's predictable setlists. For the vast majority of the shows, the only deviation came during the encores. But for a few nights, when they played double sets, FZ decided to rearrange the setlists and throw in a few surprises, presumably so the people who attended both shows wouldn't get to hear two identical shows.
This is one of those shows. While it's great to hear a rearranged set, and especially the rare items, there's one sad thing about it: FZ has decided to leave Wild Love/Yo Mama out. As it would turn out, we get more than enough madness to compensate for this loss, but I can only imagine what this show would have been like *with* those two...
The show starts with the Titties 'n Beer vamp instead of Purple Lagoon. Pretty cool for a change, and the song itself has FZ bursting into Ave Maria for the third show in a row. For The Black Page, FZ arranges a good old Dance Contest. And after Jones Crusher we get the quite-weird-but-oh-so-cool segue into Little House I Used To Live In.
Now, one might think it's a little too early in the set for a Monster of this dignity. But the guys proves otherwise, by delivering one of the most monstrous beasts of the tour so far. Tommy gets his usual solo piano showcase, and though you begin to recognize most of what he plays by now, it's always great listening. Both Peter and he gets to stretch out in length during their synth solos. And then, when you expect them to break into the Tango, we get another solo by Tommy, this time over one of those speed-jazz type vamps which later would become the trademark of the Vinnie/Arthur combo. Patrick absolutely *rules* on this.
The Sheik Yerbouti Tango doesn't leave anyone disappointed, and leads us right into the next surprise. It ends with the usual big Hammond chord, and you expect FZ to take us back to the head of the song. But no, FZ starts again, and we get a very rare, but short, guitar-over-organ solo, before the rhythm section jumps on. They have now left every sign of structure behind, and just jam until the end of the song. Absolutely terrific, and after 17 minutes of weirdness, a song like Dong Work For Yuda (tonight with extra emphasis on "Take me to the Falcum" and "I just love the way them Copenhagens talk") gives much needed relief.
The band follows the regular end-of-the-show run of songs with Bobby Brown, Envelopes and Disco Boy. FZ tells the story about how he penned Disco Boy after visiting a disco in Copenhagen in 1976, and gives a little lecture about the dance culture. Fittingly, this is followed by the "Disco Boy's father", Dancing Fool. The segue into Peaches is messed up, but who cares? A few minutes later, we get to hear what's probably THE Torture Never Stops solo of the tour, if not the best ever. FZ starts out very passionate, slowly building to more and more energetic levels. Five minutes into the solo, he throws in a couple of Mo's Vacation quotes, and this is where Bozzio and O'Hearn find new energy. They whip out a new, high-energy vamp, which brings new inspiration to FZ, and the solo goes on and on. At nine minutes, it must be one of the longest solos I've heard, yet it never gets boring. Awesome.
Next surprise is a great, tonight-only segue into San Ber'dino, which closes the regular set. But the encores to this show are just as extraordinary as the rest of the show. First, we get the fastest-ever version of Watermelon. Pretty good solo, but it would take another half year before FZ got this song to really work. Then, in the middle of nothing, FZ kicks off the Pound For A Brown vamp on the guitar. I think the band was taken by surprise by this, but they pick it up without trouble. The first solo is Peter on the piano, and then on synth. There are two unfortunate cuts on my tape, interrupting both of his solos, as well as the following bass solo. Patrick once again shows God-like qualities here, first in his typical free-jazz style, before moving into the funk/groove realm, similar to his solo in Berlin two days earlier. Terry's support is nothing short of excellent.
Then, again out of nowhere, comes the surprise of the night: Deathless Horsie. Adrian starts the arpeggio, like Watermelon, about twice as fast as we know it. FZ takes a little dissonant solo, then the whole band joins in. Ed Mann takes over the arpeggio, and Belew gets his solo showcase for the night. Very good solo. FZ comes up with a new vamp, a twisted 3/8 thing, remniscent of some of the loops in 1988. I doubt this vamp was ever played elsewhere, but it spawns some interesting jamming, with FZ and Peter taking solos. It ends with Adrian doing some solo feedback-drenched R&R things, before Ed starts the Deathless arpeggio again. FZ plays another solo, accompanied only by bass and marimba.
Not even the final encores become predictable. First, a very rare Stinkfoot with a nice solo. Then Baby Snakes, and finally Black Napkins. And as we we hadn't had enough of surprises, Peter Wolf gets the main solo spot in Napkins. He and FZ then trades licks for a while
February 18th, 1978
This is another one of the best shows of the tour. (Hey, cut me some slack, I only have 4 shows from this tour). The audience is great, and Frank knows it. "This is not ABBA!" It sure ain't, though they mention ABBA so much tonight you might think it was.
Dancin' Fool starts us off, sounding fresh on this tour as usual. It's odd hearing Your Place or Mine in English after so many German shows. Peaches is its usual self, then we get Torture. The solo is very relaxed and quite melodic, definitely a February flyer. Cool.
Tryin' to Grow a Chin is the whiny version. Frank really ENUNCIATES his 'you're so big, they're so tiny' lyrics in "City of Tiny Lites" - was he making a point? Frank then takes a longer than usual solo that's quite aggressive. Baby Snakes is its usual self.
Pound for a Brown is its usual self as well, though Peter also moves to piano for a bit, and sounds a bit like his Fall 78 semi-composed solos for a bit. The tape cut in the middle indicates this is a longer show than usual, always a good thing. And Patrick's walking bassline kicks ass.
I Have Been in You is full of ABBA references, and Frank seems in a very good mood through it. Both the intro and the spoken bridge are a bit longer than usual, though because of the humor you don't mind. Then Flakes, with its wonderful e-bow solo from Adrian. At one point Adrian, as Dylan, sings, "And if you do not PLAY, Ed..." Frank quotes Land of a Thousand Dances during the ending chaos, foreshadowing Little House later on. And can I say that I love the 1-2-3-4 break? I have already? Oh...
Broken Hearts, never my favorite song, makes it tonight due to Patrick making the band crack up. Lots of ABBA refs, plus FZ and co. being unable to sing the bridge because of O'Hearn's fills ('Trigger' seems to be the one that sets them off). "You're an ABBA, and you're an ABBA!" The band screw up in coming back to the verse, but wtf, it's still cool.
King Kong's next, and a nice one it is too. Terry keeps Ed hopping during his solo, which has lots of trills. The secret word portion is built around a) gongs, and b) odd mouth sounds, especially laughter. The laughter ends up becoming the secret word. ^_^ Then Patrick starts his riff, and the audience REALLY loves it, and starts clapping along, which makes it hard to start the variations. He ends up coming back to the funky theme again later, and then he starts playing 'Fernando!' More secret words wrap things up. "ABBA spelled backwards is ABBA spelled backwards is..." Overall, a great Kong experience, threatening to descend into pure madness. Luckily, Ed's there to percussion us into Wild Love, with an above-average Belew solo.
Yo Mama still features the YAWYI-ish riff towards the end, and is a bit shorter than usual, though still just as fierce. Titties 'n Beer is the usual, with a few more ABBA refs. Then we get what might be the ultimate audience participation. We get notes read by Frank, we get clapping, we get this side sing In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, this side sing Stravinsky, this side sing Wagner. Then they play Black Page, and the audience actually manages to clap all the way through it! A tribute to Gothenburg's stamina! Jones Crusher is nice, with Belew sounding a little hoarse.
Then the biggie. The one you've been waiting for. Little House - damn, this is good. Tommy's piano solo is full of arpeggios, and seems to be like fanfare at times. We get some nice scat, then more piano, with lots of notes. The best Tommy solo I've heard in a while, it's out there without being too far out. Eventually Terry comes in, and Tommy's solo gets even weirder, moving into synths, more scat...then comes a great monologue chat between Tommy and Patrick, out of nowhere, great, great, great! Seems to be religion-related as well as the usual Sailor and Bowie refs. It's just madness ensuing on stage. Then Peter gets a short solo, with his usual minimal accompaniment, quoting Would You Like a Snack of all things. Then the tango...ah, the tango. FZ is not only right on the money tonight, but leaves the tango rhythm to do surf music, then quotes Land of a Thousand Dances for a second time, and then quotes Black Page #2. Then Thousand Dances again, and Terry thinks it's Black Magic Woman and starts singing that, and then Frank tries to sing Land of a Thousand Dances, and then Terry forgets the words to BMW, and "You're still supposed to be singing In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida!" Amazing.
My tape ends here, so I don't know if Dinah-Moe Humm was the best Dinah- Moe Humm ever, but I can only assume so. A truly magnificent concert. [One of these days I'll get assigned a bad one, I promise. ^_^;;(Okay, I can take care of that- Fogz)]
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