Zappa Plays Zappa @ Beacon Theater

  • Tuesday 13 June 2006 14:38
  • 3 minute read

Yay for crappy concert phonepics!

Let me start by providing two data points:

Last night was billed as ‘Zappa Plays Zappa’: Dweezil, the eldest son, in conjunction with his brother Ahmet, put together a new band to play Dad’s tunes.

A daunting task, since Frank Zappa’s music can be, shall we say, challenging. But fortunately there have always been a glut of monster players more than happy to take the music on. Speaking of monster players, there were also some Zappa alumni in the band: Napoleon Murphy Brock was the main vocalist and also played tenor sax and flute. And, after the intermission, Terry Bozzio and Steve Vai came on stage. All three of them had expressions on that said ‘I am so happy that I am able to play this music once more…’

The show opened with a video of two tunes from the legendary Roxy shows from 1973. A cool move - great to watch if you were in the audience, and a good way to make sure everyone was in their seats before the band started playing.

Dweezil seemed genuinely moved to be playing in New York; the city was always a special place for Zappa, and I’m sure it was a weird feeling to be here playing Dad’s music. I’m sure the rabidly appreciative crowd helped propel the band into playing an amazing show. And amazing it was. Damn.

Lots of awesome goodness last night: Inca Roads, City of Tiny Lights, Punky’s Whips, The Black Page, Peaches En Regalia, Oh No, Village of the Sun, The ‘Yellow Snow’ Suite - of course, in three hours, you can only scratch the surface of the Zappa catalogue.

Dweezil, while not his father, is an excellent guitar player. And, while doing his own thing, he got the flavor of his Dad during the solos. In other words, nothing to complain about or detract from the vibe.

One nitpick: While yes, Terry Bozzio is superhuman, and Joe Travers (the ‘regular’ drummer) is oustanding, drum solos are BORING. Even I, a drummer, was ready for them to get a move on way before they decided to finish up. They could have squeezed an extra song or two in there. Ah, well.

And, the most wonderful thing happened at the end of the show, Dweezil announced that they’d be back for Halloween! w00t!!! Since Frank died, October 31st has always been a little melancholy for anyone who ever went to a Zappa Halloween show - if Dweezil has decided to take up his father’s mantle and do Halloween in NY, and perhaps make this a regular occurrence, the world has become a better place.

If you can, get tickets for the Halloween show. You’ll love it… it’s a way of life…