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Frank Zappa - You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 2 CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



4.55 | 204 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars While the first installation of the You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore series was a mixture of various songs from different eras of Zappas career, volume 2 comes up in the form of an entire concert, recorded in Helsinki, Finland in 1974. All of the musicians on here were present for Roxy & Elsewhere, which was actually released a few weeks prior to this concert. The group at this time, consisting of George Duke on keyboards, Napoleon Murphy Brock on sax/flute and vocals, Ruth Underwood on percussion, Tom Fowler on bass, Chester Thompson on drums, and FZ on guitar and vocals, is among the most tight and cohesive groups that Zappa ever had, as they could essentially anything at any given moment, for example rapid fire flourishes of every instrument into a call and response game with Zappa, they were one of the most talented incarnations of Zappa's career to say the least. You'll find on this album a wide variety of pieces ranging from A Token of My Extreme (titled Tush Tush Tush), which would end up on Joe's Garage, to Dupree's Paradise (which would eventually be played on The Perfect Stranger) and it's all played magnificently by the band.

The first disc opens with the electric keyboard flourishes of Tush Tush Tush, which is essentially the opening warm up of the group where the members get on the stage. The first song played is Stinkfoot, which while not living up to its studio counterpart, is a very trying effort with some great solo guitar from Zappa. After a rousing version of Inca Roads, the instrumental RDNZL (which would end up on Studio Tan 4 years later) is played in a slightly stripped down form in comparison to the bombast studio version. You'll find many songs that were on Roxy & Elsewhere towards the end of the first disc, in fact 5 of the last 7 songs were on Roxy & Elsewhere. I'm fonder of the fuller sound that R&E had with these pieces, but despite that these are great renditions with some superb work from every member throughout. A nice inclusion for the set was The Idiot Bastard Son, which gets a stellar vocal rendition from Murphy Brock, who in the song prior to this one, Room Service, has fantastic vocal interplay with Zappa and a great beat to it compliments of Chester Thompson.

The second disc opens with a piece from the Grand Wazoo days titled Approximate, which is essentially a tightly constructed free for all piece that has some rampant runs from all instruments. When they perform it vocally in the beginning, as well as stomp their feet to it, you can hear the audience have a good laugh at it. Towards the middle Chester Thompson belts out a great drum solo that really rounds out the rest of the piece. Dupree's Paradise follows, which is essentially a 24 minute instrumental that has a spoken section towards the middle. All the stops are pulled out here musically, with low register synthesizer and moog fills from Duke, droning marimba and percussion from Underwood, a majestic flute solo from Murphy Brock, Zappa's guitar insanity, and some top notch rhythmic work from Fowler (who performs a killer bass solo) and Thomspson. The rest of the show consists of several shorter pieces, ranging from the majestic Uncle Meat/Dog Breath Variations, to a rousing and hilarious working of Montana, and it comes to a close with the opening flourishes of Big Swifty. I'll mention that many unreleased songs are played between these pieces, but they are nothing I would call spectacular (although the Finnish Tango is pretty killer).

In the end, You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore Volume 2 is the perfect summation of this era in Zappa's productive career. If you're just getting into the series I think I would recommend this one first as it is the most cohesive of the entire collection (being that it is just one concert and not a wild combination of many). The setlist is great, as well, and nothing really lets me down about this piece. You can't go wrong with this one. 4.5/5

Cygnus X-2 | 4/5 |


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