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Frank Zappa - You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 3 CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



3.75 | 131 ratings

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4 stars Volume 3 of the "You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore" series is a slight disappointment after the amazing volume 2 edition. This time, most of the tracks are culled from the 1980s. The line-up is obviously not as good as the line up that was present for the Helsinki Concerts on volume 2 and that is the main reason why this disc is not as good as the previous volume. The collection focuses on the road bands of the 1980s. You will notice on this collection that the songs here are mostly comprised of more rock oriented pieces than jazz pieces. The band was more of a rock-based band and had to rely on FZ's guitar solos more than the dynamic solos from the entire band in the volume 2 line up. However, this album is still enjoyable and has quite a large number of interesting episodes throughout. The band members were still good for the most part (Steve Vai for example), but were more fashioned to produce music that focused on the rock music of Frank Zappa.

Since this collection also concentrates on "eyebrows" that are put into performances to make them unique, let's talk about those a bit.

Zappa liked the concept of continuity in his music, that everything could be somehow tied together. When putting this collection together, he tried to emphasize that concept. On disc 1, the beginning of the collection focuses on love and relationship type songs. This starts out with "Sharleena" and features Frank's son Dweezil on the guitar solo. This track was recorded at Universal Amphitheater in California on 12/23/1984. The version is quite straightforward, but the guitar solo is very good. A shorter edit of this same recording was previously released as a flexi-disc in Guitar Player Magazine. Next we move to Chicago at the Bismarck Theater on 11/23/1984 for a version of "Bamboozled By Love" which is unique in the fact that the guitar solo is played over the main hook from Yes' big hit "Owner of a Lonely Heart". I'm not sure if this is a homage to Yes or just making fun of the song, but it works in a surprising way. The location remains the same until you get to "Advance Romance" where a small snippet of this recording switches to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver on 12/18/1984 and remains there from 1:03 to 2:31 where it switches back to Chicago. During the performance, Zappa cracks up when the lead singer dramatically yells out "Hi- Ho Silver" several times through the song. This apparently becomes the secret word of the show.

The subject continues with more humorous songs mostly dealing with sex and humor. Next the venue moves to Paramount Theater in Seattle on 12/17/1984 for "Bobby Brown" and the Lone Ranger continues to be the target of humor through this song and Zappa has a hard time singing because he is laughing. "Keep it Greasey" continues these antics and flashes back and forth from Seattle to The Pier in NYC on 8/26/1984 and finally ending up there. The song ends up at The Pier and stays there through "Honey Don't You Want a Man Like Me". At this point, the continuity shifts to travelling with "In France" which is recorded back in Chicago, same date as before. This track has a short harmonica solo in it. After some mostly substandard versions of these previous songs, we finally get to "Drowning Witch" where we finally get a great version of this song. Most of this recording comes from Chicago also, but that is after the 3:42 mark. Previous to that, it has been edited from various concerts 5 different times before it settles back to Chicago for the remainder. If you listen close you can hear the edits at 0:35, 1:57, 2:28, 2:40, and 3:42. It is kind of choppy because of that in the beginning, but the solo parts are more cohesive and quite impressive. The collection remains at Chicago from there all the way to the last track, but the performances become quite standard again with the exception of the excellent "Chana in de Bushwop" which is a lot of fun. The last two tracks on this disc are from "Joe's Garage" where you hear the band reference an incident in Utah. What happened there was the band that played the night before Zappa's show had messed around with a certain girl who ended up causing "severe discomfort" to 24 members of that group. Unfortunately, the word got to a few of Zappa's band members a little too late. This particular track is edited from 3 different venues.

On the 2nd disc, we travel back in time out of the 80's for only the first 2 tracks. "Dickie's Such an Asshole" is recorded at The Roxy in L.A, during the performances on 12/8-10/1973. It contains some unique audience specific instructions from FZ and Marty Perellis with the audience interacting. At the end of this track, there is a snippet of conversation taken from the dressing room at The Palladium in NYC on 10/31/77 where band members (and fellow famous prog artists) Terry Bozzio, Roy Estrada and Adrian Belew are talking about the suicide of the band's road manager after he took $10,000 from the tour money and lost it to drugs and gambling. He was found in the hotel room after he had cut himself up and bled to death. The band members were afraid of the stress of the tour that it would cause this to happen. Terry makes the comment that from all the drumming, he feels like he has been hitting his hands with a hammer which leads into Terry's three minute drum solo entitled "Hands with a Hammer" (see?....continuity) which was recorded in Osaka, Japan on 2/3/1976. This track was originally available on the famous booleg called "Eyes of Osaka", but here it has been cleaned up quite a bit. The continuity contiues into the next track "Zoot Allures" because the introduction is also from that bootleg. This was a very slow performance of the song and it is a shame that the entire perfomance from Osaka isn't here because it is awesome. Instead, the perfomance gets switched to Cap D'agde, France and moves us back to the 80's; 5/30/1982 to be exact. See, Frank had to get us back to the 80s somehow. It is obvious where this edit is because the music switches from that slow grind to a reggae beat which Frank used a lot of on his 80s tours.

From here, we go back to The Palladium in NYC on 10/31/81 for tracks 4 through 7. These are all songs from "You Are What You Is" which is not one of Frank's best albums. The collection suffers from these weaker tracks and there isn't a lot of "eyebrows" in this section of the collection. The performances are nothing really special at this point, but serve to move the continuity around from the topic of Hollywood and egoism to cocaine abuse. This moves us to track 8 "Cocaine Decisions" which for the first part of the track takes us back to Chicago, but eventually takes us to the famous show in Palermo, Sicily on 7/14/1982 and puts us right in the middle of the riots that went on during the show. You can hear FZ pleading with the audience to remain calm so they can finish the show and you hear the polizia speaking with the crowd and firing tear gas cannisters which you hear hitting the stage as the band plays on, finishes the song and moves on to "Nig Biz" through the riot.

From here, we go into the 24:00 long rendition of "King Kong". This track is culled from 6 different shows and is edited several times among these shows. Most of this is "King Kong" at it's best with some audience participation. In reality, the part with this participation is mostly taken from a performance of "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow", but is added here as "King Kong". The references made about "Kindergarten" and the Garden Rap are pretty much lost because of the editing. The last track is "Cosmik Debris" continuing in the topic of the dangers of drug abuse and is culled from 3 different shows in 1984 but edited a total of at least 7 times whithin it's 5 minute length.

So, there is the lengthy breakdown of this volume of this collection, which many say is the weakest of the set. With all of the edits, it still flows pretty well and works to add a lot of variety in a period of time when there wasn't a lot of variety in the shows that FZ and his band were putting on. The thing that saves this collection is the continuity theme and the many special and unique shows and circumstances that are highlighted here. Those things give some value to this collection and raises it from 3 to 4 stars, but if you don't really care for the historic value of the performances, then I would pass by this one and search for volume 1 or 2. 4 stars, but only if you are a Zappa fan.

TCat | 4/5 |


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