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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 & JazzRock/Fusion 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

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