the Bucky Four-Eyes Cotillion

Monday, July 23, 2007

And the judge would say: "No poo-poo jokes."

Friday night's Zappa Plays Zappa concert in Chicago was proof positive that the apple fell right smack under the tree.

Dweezil Zappa has put together a magnificent band for his tribute to the breathtaking array of compositions that are the legacy of his late father, Frank. I had no idea ZPZ even existed on their last tour until it was too late; when I heard about this year's tour, I snapped up tickets for Tardist and me to attend the Chicago show.

You have to understand that I started hearing heavy doses of Frank Zappa's music when I was in early grade school, due to my older siblings' intense love of his albums (especially Tardist, who was helpfully out of the house enough for me to sneak into his room and listen to FZ for hours on his kick-ass stereo system). Tardist saw FZ live six times, three times for me. I gave the man my lightly worn underpants, fer chrissake. Frank Zappa is a bit of an idol for Tardist and me.

After seeing Dweezil's wildly talented group of musicians, joined by illustrious FZ alum Ray White, Tardist and I agreed that this was easily as good as any band we'd ever seen assembled by FZ. Special mention must be made of Sheila Gonzales, who just killed on keyboards, vocals (she sang lead on Dirty Love and she ruled!), sax, and flute; during her solo in Dupree's Paradise (all the band members were showcased during this), she played two saxophones at once, which brought the house down. And a nice house it was - the Civic Opera House is gorgeous and the acoustics are perfect.

There was a large screen hanging over the stage, and for a handful of songs, video of Frank performing songs was projected while the band accompanied him. You have to understand, the elder Zappa recorded everything, and did it well enough that video like this could be used with only selective musical tracks coming through. At first I thought they had just isolated Frank's vocals and lead guitar, and then I realized that it was actually Dweezil playing his dad's solos, so perfectly that I really thought it was from the video. When they did their first video "duet" (Black Napkins), I have to admit that a few tears spilled out of me, completely without my authorization; it was just that touching, and just that good.

The band played for THREE HOURS. The only break was for less than five minutes before they came out for an encore. And Ray White, who must be in his 60s, was at the top of his game vocally (he was in FZ's band all three times I saw them), and looks great! Of course, with Ray there, and being in Chicago, you know they had to do Illinois Enema Bandit, and they most certainly did! After the show, we saw Ray out in front of the venue signing autographs. I had just flipped open my phone to snap a picture when he said he had to go back inside, so I got neither a picture nor an autograph. But it was still cool enough to tell you about it. :)

I'm posting a setlist that I copied from the message board at zappa.com, but have added my own corrections. All I can say is, if you are a Frank Zappa fan, grab a ticket to see Dweezil and friends before this tour is all done.

7.30 pm)
Echidna's Arf
My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama
Dirty Love
Black Napkins*
Son of Suzy Creamcheese>
Brown Shoes>
America Drinks and Goes Home
City of Tiny Lights> (Ray White joined the stage at City, and played on most of the following songs)
Pygmy Twilight>
Montana*>
Cheepnis
Advance Romance>
Carolina Hardcore Ecstasy>
Dumb All Over*>
What's New In Baltimore
Dupree's Paradise> (snippets during the individual solos included: Heavy Duty Judy, Ride My Face To Chicago (Ray's lyric solo, done in a gorgeous gospel style), and Packard Goose)
Uncle Remus>
Willie the Pimp
Joe's Garage>
Wind Up Workin' at a Gas Station>
San Ber'dino
Illinois Enema Bandit
Wild Love>
Yo Mama
(10.08 pm)

Encore:
Cosmic Debris*>
Muffin Man*>
G Spot Tornado
(10.28 pm)

* FZ video playing with the band

10 of you felt the overwhelming need to say somethin':

Blogger Susie said...

Sounds GREAT, Bucky. I'm so happy you had such a good time. Much of my early sex education came from listening to FZ lyrics. Which explains a lot.

3:08 PM, July 23, 2007  
Blogger Susie said...

Um, like it might explain why my idea of a good time is to email someone a dick-in-a-box video :)

3:15 PM, July 23, 2007  
Blogger Bone Machine said...

I regret missing the show when it rolled through Louisville last December, I think. I've had my head too far up my ass lately to know if it's playing semi-locally or not.

It's a shame that Dweezil doesn't get the kind of guitar accolades dumped on a lot of those shredder guys.

Then again, Johnny Ramone is my guitar hero, so what the hell do I know?

3:24 PM, July 23, 2007  
Blogger Squirl said...

Doesn't surprise me that it was a great show. I'm glad you guys got to see it. You know that I'm the one who introduced Tardist to FZ music in the first place. ;-)

Susie, you never sent me that video???

3:41 PM, July 23, 2007  
Anonymous platypus said...

It sounds fantastic and I'm loving the new look to the blog as well.

4:40 PM, July 23, 2007  
Blogger here today, gone tomorrow said...

Yeah!!!!!!!!!

6:09 PM, July 23, 2007  
Blogger Flying Mermaid said...

Jealous! I, too, grew up with Suzy Creamcheese.

10:01 PM, July 23, 2007  
Blogger Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Sounds like a wonderful concert that brought back old memories and created a lot of new ones. Glad you had such a good time, Bucky!

1:33 PM, July 24, 2007  
Blogger eclectic said...

Hey, I want the dick-in-a-box video, too. Although I confess the extent of my FZ knowledge consists of knowing his children were named Dweezil and Moon Unit. Still, sounds like you had a great time, and anytime siblings can hangout and have fun is a good time.

3:23 PM, July 24, 2007  
Blogger Mike said...

The poodle bites it. The poodle chews it.

I have always been a huge Frank fan, but unfortunately never got to see him, and I didn't get a chance to see his son either. Damnit.

Glad you enjoyed the show.

5:00 PM, July 24, 2007  

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