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

YOU CAN'T DO THAT ON STAGE ANYMORE, VOL. 3

Frank Zappa

RIO/Avant-Prog


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Syzygy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This instalment of the YCDTOSA is drawn mainly from the touring bands of the late 70s to mid 80s, who can be heard on albums like Tinseltown Rebellion and Them or Us. While this was one of the slickest outfits Zappa ever assembled, there was little of the inspired musicianship of many of the 70s bands or the manic energy of the original MOI. The material was largely Zappa's take on stadium rock, with lots of juvenile humour and odd time signatures, but it was tame stuff by Zappa's standards.

Even on an off day, Zappa was still capable of producing the goods, and disc 1 features a storming version of Drowning Witch edited together from 2 separate performances in 1982 and 1984, an energetic reading of Sharleena with a surprisingly good solo from a 15 year old Dweezil and an interesting medley of Bambiozled by Love/Owner of a Lonely Heart. Other than that there are songs which were better performed on Sheik Yerbouti and Joe's Garage, and alternate versions of early 80s material with little to reccommend them.

Disc 2 is more rewarding, as it features some performances from the 'Roxy" band alongside the 80s line up. The disc opens with an excellent sequence of Dickie's Such an Asshole, a remarkable Terry Bozzio drum solo and Zoot Allures. From there we're back into the same territory as disc 1 until the excellent 24 minute King Kong, which splices together several different performances from different line ups, and the proceedings end with a pretty good version of Cosmic Debris from the 1984 band.

This is really 1 disc of good material stretched across 2 cds. To hear the early 80s line ups really cooking, check out the entirely instrumental Guitar, and if you're a fan of Zapa's dirty jokes Have I Offended Someone is a better bet. There's enough good material on here to justify owning a copy, but overall it's a disappointing instalment of the YCDTOSA series.

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Send comments to Syzygy (BETA) | Report this review (#30071)
Posted Monday, May 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Part three of You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore focuses almost mainly on various 80s incarnations of Zappa's touring band. It seems that with each release Zappa tries to create a focal point for the material, with the first installation focusing on various 70s touring groups (like the 79 touring group in London and some Howard Kaylan/Mark Volman era material), and the second being an entire concert from the 74 touring band. This, although having some gems hidden there, for the most part is one of the more disappointing incarnations of the series. It's not a total disaster, though, as some supremely great songs are played and they are given a proper light. One thing is for sure, though, Zappa never really lost his touch when it came to seamlessly recording and augmenting various recordings into a cohesive piece (as you'll find out with the Frankenstein creation that is the version of King Kong on this album).

The first disc is comprised solely of material from the various concerts of the epic 1984 tour. Standards like Sharleena (with Dweezil on solo guitar) and the fascinatingly difficult Drowning Witch (which sort of cheats in the only 1984 part as it has some segments from a show in 1982, mainly because Zappa always said none of his groups ever got it 100% correct anyway). You can also hear Zappa having a bit of fun with Yes's Owner of a Lonely Heart during Bamboozled by Love (which features a Zappa solo over the main chord progression of Owner of a Lonely Heart). A great gem that was added to this collection was a 1984 version of the Bongo Fury epic Advance Romance, which features a searing Zappa guitar solo on top of the mixed insanity that the band produces. The selections from Joe's Garage are also pretty fun pieces (although I'm not fond of the keyboard fills during the 19/16 sections, they're too snappy for my taste), with Why Does it Hurt When I Pee? being the perfect closer to this pretty fine first disc (although it is definitely far from perfect).

The second disc opens with a rare version of Dickie's Such an Asshole from the 1973 touring band (the song is about Richard Nixon, hence Dickie). The overall arrangement of the song at this point is a lot more horn oriented, although Zappa really cuts loose on guitar, and the audience participation towards the end is also pretty fun. Next is a little segment taken from the video for Baby Snakes leading into a Terry Bozzio written drum solo (circa 1976). It leads into a rough version of the track Zoot Allures, which at that point in time was essentially a guitar only piece, with the rest of the group playing an extremely minor role. For the majority of the rest of the disc various pieces from You Are What You Is and Tinsel Town Rebellion are played, although the gems Cocaine Decisions and Nig Biz see the light of day here as well (the latter taken from a show in Sicily where the police had to shoot tear gas into the audience). The main draw of this disc, and essentially the entire album in my opinion is the epic augmentation of King Kong, with spliced bits of the 1982 arrangement of the piece and various segments of a 1971 recording of the song. There are a plethora of guitar solos (Zappa really fires on all cylinders during certain sections of the piece) and Ian Underwood's wah wah sax solo is also incredibly great sounding. In the end, this epic reworking of a seminal Zappa piece (almost every touring group played an arrangement of this piece) is a fantastic work. The official ending though is a rather simplistic and silly version of Cosmik Debris.

In the end, those who like Zappa's 80s material will find extreme comfort in this album as it contains a large amount of songs written post Joe's Garage. Various gems from the past are here, though, and it's nice to hear songs that were written many years before they were officially released (Dickie's Such an Asshole being the main victim of that). In my opinion, though, since I'm not terribly fond overall of the early 80s Zappa works (he has a few gems here and there and most of them are presented here, though, so I can't complain) I can't really recommend it fully. It's a good live album, but far from essential. 3.5/5.

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Send comments to Cygnus X-2 (BETA) | Report this review (#89142)
Posted Wednesday, September 06, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Just like any Zappa live output, the third installment in Zappa's You Can't Do That On Sage Anymore series is a comic blend of furious jazz and satirical pop/rock. However, this one contains a lot less performance, and a lot more music. Parts one and two were full of off-stage recordings, on-stage skits, talking, jokes, et cetera. Part three is so much more about the music, and I think it is a better offering for it. But it's not nearly as funny as the first two, which were the unique side of those albums. The music is different than the studio version, thus making it more worthy than most live albums, but it's also extremely long, and sometimes a little tediously so.

Besides all these albums being great musically (none of them are full concerts, but rather collection of pieces throughout Zappa's live career, so they must be good), this one stands out of the first three. There's less of the silly and satirical pop, more of that tasty complex jazz fusion, and some really sharp musicianship on all accounts. Don't misunderstand me, there's still plenty of comxdy here - it wouldn't be much of a Zappa live album if there was none - but there's no memorable skit, or specific joke that gets me. In fact, there's loads of the silly satirical pop here, but it's balance very evenly with furious soloing and intense prog-outs.

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Send comments to Shakespeare (BETA) | Report this review (#168446)
Posted Tuesday, April 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
tarkus1980
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This was definitely the least necessary volume in the series, but it's not bad. While Vol 1 touched on seemingly every era, and Vol 2 focused on one of the most beloved eras of the band (the mid-70's Roxy lineup), this one focuses almost exclusively on the 80's lineup (which was, uh, not one of the most beloved eras of the band). There's a small amount of era hopping, and a particularly ingenius exercise in conceptual continuity ("King Kong," which splices in performances from both the 1971 and 1982 lineup), but at least 70% of this could pass for just another 80's live album. And, well, the world didn't really need another 80's Zappa live album.

The first disc does indeed have some nice surprises; the funniest of these is in "Bamboozled by Love," where in the second half the band plays the riff to "Owner of a Lonely Heart" (!!) while Zappa solos away. There are also some nice renditions of various Joe's Garage tracks, and I admit that I had a laugh at the first minute of "Ride My Face to Chicago" (before it becomes yet another rambling jam), but for the most part these tracks tend to feel pretty perfunctory overall. If you can tell me the essential difference between this version of "Drowning Witch" and the original, other than that this one is shorter, go right on ahead.

The second disc is highlighted by a bunch of performances from the second "suite" on You Are What You Is, which show that this more "straightforward" material was still terrifying complex and intricate. The hard-driving funky licks of "Society Pages" are as great as ever, the insane start-stops of "Beauty Knows No Pain" and "I'm a Beautiful Guy" are as fascinating as ever, and "Charlie's Enormous Mouth" is still one of Zappa's best hard rockers. Plus, the cut to "Cocaine Decisions" after "CEM" seems very appropriate.

There are some other nice tracks on the second disc as well, like an early 70's performance of "Dickie's Such an Asshole," or another nice performance of "Zoot Allures." Even the very very long performance of "King Kong" entertains me in spots (though not in all, that's for sure). Still, these nice tracks aren't enough to make this into a great set. Serious Zappa fans will probably want this, but casual fans could probably do well without it.

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Send comments to tarkus1980 (BETA) | Report this review (#430771)
Posted Monday, April 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars The third installment of Frank Zappa's massive "You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore" focuses mainly on the 1984 touring band. There are tracks, and sections of tracks with other lineups, but this one (one of the best lineups) dominates the two CDs.

The album is heavy on eyebrows, a lot of them centering around the group's fixation on Lenny Bruce's "Thank You Masked Man" routine (look it up). While many are funny, the best comes from extraordinary bass player Scott Thunes, turning a verse of Keep It Greasy into The William Tell Overture.

Other highlights include: Frank's son Dweezil's debut with the band, soloing with his dad on Sharleena, a fantastic version of Drowning Witch, spliced together from two performances from different tours, Chana In De Bushwop, where Frank gets behind Alan Zavod's keyboards to play a "volcano" solo, a long-awaited recording (from 1973) of Dickie's Such An A**hole (the only other non-bootleg recording was on "Broadway The Hard Way", with very different lyrics), another segment of the 1981 MTV concert, and the band playing amid teargas grenades when the crowd rioted in Palermo, Italy (see the cover of "The Man From Utopia").

But the best piece is a twenty-four minute version of King Kong, bouncing back and forth between a 1982 recording and a 1971 recording (the same concert where some a**hole knocked Zappa from the stage, changing his voice by crushing his larynx, and injuring his spine). Considering the complete difference in every aspect of the band, the splices flow remarkably smoothly.

All in all, this set offeres many treats for the Zappaphile, but should also entertain the casual fan as well.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#472347)
Posted Wednesday, June 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
TCat
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to TCat (BETA) | Report this review (#1358382)
Posted Saturday, January 31, 2015 | Review Permalink

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