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.