Frank  Zappa, Ike Willis, Denny Walley, Warren Cucurullo, Arthur Barrow, Vinnie Colaiuta, Ed Mann, Tommy Mars, Peter Wolf

 

Persona Non Grata, Dead  Girls Of London, I Ain't Got No Heart, Brown Shoes Don't Make It, Cosmik Debris (q: Brown Shoes Don't Make It), Tryin' To Grow A Chin (q: Brown  Shoes Don't Make It), City Of Tiny Lights, Dancin' Fool, Easy Meat (q:  You Really Got Me), Jumbo Go Away (q: Brown Shoes Don't Make It), Andy,  Inca Roads, Florentine Pogen, Honey Don't You Want A Man Like Me?, Keep  It Greasey, The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing, King Kong, Montana (q: Brown Shoes Don't Make It), Dirty Love (q: Dragnet)

Frank Zappa 1979 03 26 Eilenriedehalle, Hannover DE

 

 

This show gets off to a dubious start with the sleepiest introductory licks of Persona Non Grata ever heard. FZ's solo picks up energy eventually, with some wah-wah wailing and percussive exchanges, but it is still only a shadow of the blockbuster fall '78 outings. Based on this beginning alone, it's easy to conclude that the combination of repetitive setlists and a gruelling itinerary has reduced this potentially great band to a nonet of zombies.

 

Fortunately, the rest of the show goes some distance to right this. There's a mixup in the "Little Deuce Coupe" section of Brown Shoes that leads to an amusing mini-Secret Word for the evening, and Warren turns out the most energetic Cosmik Debris solo that this reviewer has heard in a long time; similarly, Denny starts to sound like Roger Daltrey in Tryin' To Grow A Chin. FZ is messing with Tiny Lites and Easy Meat, ditching the restrictive solo vamps in favor of more open-ended jams; neither of them are great (yet - stay tuned for 3/31), but give him credit for trying.

 

The next point of interest comes, predictably, with Inca Roads. Here, Vinnie opts for a slow, heavy beat, and though I'd prefer the Inca solos to soar like the London versions rather than plod, FZ thrashes for five minutes or so like a dinosaur in a tarpit. A few standard songs later, FZ intros King Kong.

 

After typical Ed, Peter, Tommy and Vinnie solos, we arrive at the principle reason to get this tape. FZ begins strumming, as he would in previous tours when he had a notion to tease a work in progress, and though that's not the case here, his chords build to a vamp for a majestic set-closing solo, with especially strong backing from Warren. Encores are Montana and Dirty Love, with FZ interrupting the latter when a fan throws an egg onstage.

 

From the Frank Zappa Tape Reviewing Society files

Frittenköter (Forum Resident from Steve Hoffman Music Forums):

 

This is a special show for me, as it’s the first full Zappa show I ever heard (in mp3 on a small web-radio station) and it’s still my favorite show of the tour, even though there’s probably even better shows overall. However, it does contain my favorite musical moment of the entire tour: Frank’s beautiful masterpiece of a guitar solo in King Kong.

 

Tuning Up - 2:20

We start off with some soundchecking, some canned knick-knackery, then…

Persona Non Grata/Intro Guitar Solo - 7:32

…Vinnie starts ‘er up. A signature FZ guitar solo and I mean that as a compliment. The first couple of minutes show Frank trying to create a mood and succeeding, then he goes on to viciously strangle that guitar of his. Executive-irritating sounds abound, then it’s time for band intros. Special mention has to go to Vinnie’s freeform drumming providing much of the surreal, ethereal mood of this one. A couple of days later he would just overdo it (at the Munich and Zurich shows, where he doesn’t so much accompany anyone as he just solos) and trip up the rest of the band, but here he strikes a nice balance. The show is off to a great start.

Dead Girls Of London - 2:31

My favorite arrangement of this song. Sophia Warren tears into it and off they go. This is as tight as can be.

I Ain’t Got No Heart - 2:09

Aaand it’s the not-quite-but-almost-a-bit-discofied version of the song. Not much to say here, except that it’s a solid version captured in good sound.

Brown Shoes Don’t Make It - 7:07

The birth of tonight’s secret word: muh-muh-muh-muh (a messed-up part from this rendition). God, they did this song so well and this performance is no exception.

Cosmik Debris - 4:02

And after a sick segue, we’re launched headfirst into a short, tight rendition with Warren playing the solo. Not his best effort, I’m afraid. Frank’s little adlib is quite funny: Aren't you the same little nerd that Carlos Santana goes to see all the time?

Tryin’ To Grow A Chin - 3:26

Not much to say really, except “God, this band was tight”.

City Of Tiny Lights - 10:21

Denny delivers a scorching slide solo that more than makes up for his usual manhandling of the vocals. As his solo winds down into a latin-tinged groove 4 minutes in, we get Frank adding some chording before proceeding with his magic. And it’s another blistering, though this time a bit short solo (it’s over after a 3 mere, although tasty minutes). 1 year and 2 months later every version of the song would have a latin-vamp and the repetitive rock-out groove would be left behind (sadly, so would the guitar doubles and the keyboard break).

Dancin’ Fool - 3:23

I’m sick of this song, but at least Vinnie works his usual magic throughout.

Easy Meat - 6:19

This is the MORE COWBELL version, for you cowbell-lovers out there. This is drastically different to the previous or the following year’s arrangement. Still no keyboard bridge, but at least the hammering riff has been mostly dropped. This version is pretty good, but it pales in comparison to some of the versions it is surrounded by, let alone what would come a couple of nights later (the world premiere of Catholic Girls and 2 days after that a “new” solo vamp). At the end of the solo Frank quotes “You Really Got Me” and the others join in for a bit.

Jumbo Go Away - 5:03

This is my favorite version of the song. The slower pace and the heavier feel just make it such an enjoyable, surprisingly intense listen (in spite of Denny’s typically awful vocals on the bridge).

Andy - 5:25

It’s the guitar-heavy version of the song, although sadly, Frank leaves the soloing to Warren, who pretty much replicates the album solo. Still, it is quite nice. Vinnie’s electronic drum pad is very audible here.

Inca Roads - 9:35

Another wonderful segue into another one of my favorites. Ike sings it ok, but it’s clear he is straining at times. I think the 1974 band played this song better, but 1979 was the year for it solo-wise. Frank plays a quite deranged solo that is a complete 360 from Shut Up ‘N’ Play Yer Guitar, with some fantastic support, especially from Mr. Colaiuta. It doesn’t soar or enchant you with its beauty, choosing to instead dizzy you with ever-increasing intensity. It’s all over the place and I love it. Yup, this one is a keeper. It’s a shame they didn’t do the whole song in 1979 though, but I guess the soloing makes up for it.

Florentine Pogen - 5:14

Damn, this is a great sequence and the band does it well. Again, the guitars sound fantastic here. Vinnie plays a nice little break about 3 minutes in. I wish Frank hadn’t dropped the solo section here, but you know what? After that intense workout in the previous song, I cannot complain really and we have yet to reach the part that pushes the show over the edge for me, anyway, so why not enjoy a bit of a breather for now.

Honey Don’t You Want A Man Like Me? - 4:25

It’s solid.

Keep It Greasey - 3:27

Slightly sloppy start, but a surprisingly funky version with some cool eyebrows going on.

The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing - 3:28

A pretty standard early version of this song, still lacking the “Work the wall” lyrics but with a much more prominent slide-guitar part. “Ahh, give me half a dozen for the hotel room, *cause I know you’re all gonna need it since the name of this song is King Kong”

King Kong - 17:45

THE highlight of the show and one of THE highlights of the entire tour in my opinion. In spite of this line-up not being known to have otherwise played it, they nail the written part. Then, it’s on to Ed’s little spot and he does a nice little showcase, just the right length and segueing seamlessly into a fantastic Tommy keyboard solo. Peter takes over and leads the group into a funky fusion jam. Then, suddenly we’re down to just drums and synth. Next, it’s time to give the drummer some and boy, does he give back. Vinnie puts on a fun, varied drum clinic that within a mere couple of minutes has a lot more to say than John Bonham ever could. Then, a loud drum hit and all goes quiet, then a couple of guitar strums, some more guitar strums and a nice little melodic line emits from FZ’s guitar. He plays around with it for a bit, then plays some more chords, this time around a little bit fast and Vinnie enters somewhat hesitantly. The rest of the band follows shortly thereafter. Frank is beginning to build a theme now, sounding similar at times to but not identical to A Token Of His Extreme. He soloes and soloes on with increasing intensity until he leads his rockin’ teenage combo into a heavy, chorded part, then he soloes some more over that, Vinnie heating things up in the back all the while, then we return to the theme heard earlier in the solo. Frank plays around with bit for a bit and then outros the band, while Tommy or Peter quotes the melodic line he kept playing. With a hand signal they end it. Absolutely mesmerizing, one of the best renditions of the song out there.

Encore Break - 1:00

Oh right, we still have an encore coming up.

ZUGABE ZUGABE ZUGABE ZUGABE

Montana - 5:06

A solo-less version, as per usual with most post-1976 versions. I’m okay with it, I’m still reeling from the previous solo.

Dirty Love - 4:30

With the exception of Frank interrupting the song because someone threw an egg on stage, this is pretty much like the YCDTOSA 6 version, only funnier, because at least something funny happens. The perp refuses to get on stage after Frank tries to get them to come forward. He seems to drop the previously announced audience participation as a response. We do get a funny band outro, where everyone (including the egg-thrower) is outro’ed as “The poodle bites x”.

All in all, a great show, even though there are more consistent shows out there.