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Frank Zappa Road Tapes - Venue #2 album cover
4.34 | 60 ratings | 5 reviews | 58% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Live, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (72:54)
1. Introcious (5:18)
2. The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue (1:08)
3. Kung Fu (1:11)
4. Penguin in Bondage (4:07)
5. Exercise #4 (1:58)
6. Dog Breath (1:36)
7. The Dog Breath Variations (1:30)
8. Uncle Meat (2:27)
9. RDNZL (6:17)
10. Montana (7:03)
11. Your Teeth and Your Shoulders and Sometimes Your Foot Goes Like This... / Pojama Prelude (10:14)
12. Dupree's Paradise (15:55)
13. All Skate / Dun-Dun-Dun (The Finnish Hit single) (14:10)

CD 2 (63:23)
1. Village of the Sun (5:40)
2. Echidna's Arf (Of You) (4:22)
3. Don't You Ever Wash That Thing? (9:56)
4. Big Swifty (12:58)
5. Farther O'Blivion (22:54)
6. Brown Shoes Don't Make It (7:33)

Total Time 136:17

Line-up / Musicians

- Frank Zappa / guitar, vocals
- Ruth Underwood / percussion
- Ralph Humphrey / drums, cowbells
- George Duke / keyboards, vocals
- Tom Fowler / electric bass
- Jean-Luc Ponty / violin
- Bruce Fowler / trombone
- Ian Underwood / bass clarinet, synthesizer

Releases information

Live recordings from 3 shows in Finlandia Hall, Helsinki Finland - August 23 & 24, 1973

2CD Vaulternative VR 2013-1

Thanks to Evolver for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy FRANK ZAPPA Road Tapes - Venue #2 Music

FRANK ZAPPA Road Tapes - Venue #2 ratings distribution

(60 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(58%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (3%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

FRANK ZAPPA Road Tapes - Venue #2 reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars Many Zappaphiles, including myself, consider "Roxy & Elsewhere" one of the finest of Master Zappa's catalogue. And for years, we have been teased with the hints and rumors of expanded editions of that amazing album, and even the accompanying video. Well, the release has been announced, orders have been taken, and of course, the release date has been pushed back at least three times now.

The Zappa Family Trust has seemingly made it up to us by releasing, as the second in the Vaulternative "Road Tapes" series, a concert that precedes the Roxy concerts by about a year, but contains a similar lineup (minus Chester Thompson and Napoleon Murphy Brock, but adding Ian Underwood and Jean-Luc Ponty) and some overlapping material.

In the liner notes, Joe Travers laments the uneven quality of the master tapes, which were taken from three shows in two days at Helsinki in 1973. But he has done a splendid job cleaning them up, so even though there is a bit of unwanted distortion here and there, the instrumental performances are captured with reasonable clarity.

The recordings add to the Zappa lore with some different material. There is a medley of songs that includes The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue, the rarely released Kung Fu, an early version of Penguin In Bondage, a few pieces from "Uncle Meat", and ends with RDNZL.

There is a very long version of Dupree's Paradise, with an opening renamed Your Teeth And Your Shoulders and sometimes your foot goes like this..., that includes a stripped down Pojama People in the middle. Following this is an improv, called All Skate, with a section where Frank adds the audience into the piece.

But the second disk contains the better treasures. Villiage Of The Sun contains an intro and out I have never heard on any other official release. Echidna's Arf (Of You) appears in a slower, less embellished format, and Don't You Ever Wash That Thing?, with fantastic solos from George Duke, Ponty, Bruce Fowler, and Zappa himself goes on for almost tem minutes.

And it gets even better. There is an amazing rendition of Big Swifty, followed by the best Farther O'Blivion I have ever heard.

It's enough to make me forget how long I've been waiting for "Roxy By Proxy".

An absolute must for the Zappa fans.

Review by darkshade
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars 20 years after Frank Zappa passed away, we are still getting new albums that rival some of the best ones released during his lifetime. This album is one of them. Recorded in 1973, in between the big-band, jazzy Wazoo era of Zappa's band, and the fusion/prog rock Roxy lineup. With names like Jean-Luc Ponty, George Duke, Bruce Fowler, Tom Fowler, and Ralph Humphrey in this band, you can expect the music to lean heavily on jazz-rock/fusion, and it does, and Zappa's music works well in the context of jazzier surroundings. Between this era, and the Wazoo era, you'll find some of the best (and most) jazz in all of Zappa's large output.

Ruth Underwood and Ian Underwood also return, and the former would stick around in Zappa's band, more or less, until '76.

This era of Zappa's music is all about the players. As there was no lead singer besides Frank in the band, and he hadn't become the cynical front man he would become after the Lather debacle, this left a lot of room for improv. If you're familiar with Jean-Luc Ponty's 70s jazz-rock albums, or some of George Duke's, you're in for a treat. There are plenty of Zappa's themes, and early versions of some classics, in fact, this version of RDNZL is my favorite, and is much more fusion-like than what it would become on Lather/Studio Tan (though the Piquantique version is better, or better yet, get the SBD of the show that that show comes from, which is from August 21, 73, only a couple of days before this album was recorded, from Zappateers.)

This is a lost classic. It's the equivalent of the first Lost Quintet of Miles Davis' band (eventually released as "It's About That Time" in 2001). A band that never got an official release until long after it ended. Over-nite Sensation features this band, but that album came out after these tours, and Zappa had tightened his music up by then, with the transition to the Roxy lineup completed later in the year. Road Tapes: Venue 2 shows this series will be a very good series for us fans, as this is one of the most interesting FZ albums in a long time, maybe since Wazoo, or Lather. Get it, this is for for casual fans and hardcore fans, or any fan of jazz-rock/fusion.

Review by Warthur
3 stars The mid-1970s lineup of the Mothers which existed (with a few tweaks here and there) from around 1973 (inaugurated on Overnite Sensation) to about 1975 (exiting on One Size Fits All) is already well-regarded in terms of its live releases. The Helsinki Concert of 1974 - released as volume 2 of the You Can't Do That On Stage Any More series - displayed the straight fusion fire they could conjure up, whilst Roxy & Elsewhere is a beloved mashup of wacky comedy and weird music.

Does this make Road Tapes #2 redundant? Not in the slightest. Recorded in Helsinki in 1973 - a couple of months after the Overnite Sensation sessions, but before the Roxy concerts or the more famous 1974 return engagement - it captures this incarnation of the band in a more formative state, mutating older cuts whilst workshopping material which would emerge in more polished form later on. (Indeed, the then-current Overnite Sensation album only briefly gets a word in, in the former of a version of Montana which suggests that even Zappa is already kind of tired of the song.)

Some of the more sedate, jazzy passages here sound positively like Hatfield & the North or National Health - a connection which sounds much less unlikely when you recall that Zappa once jammed with Caravan at a European festival, as a result of the rest of his band being caught up in work visa problems. Other parts, like the "Pojama People" prelude, deliberately delve into tasteless light jazz noodling. Fans of this period of Zappa's music will find this an interesting collection given the set list involved, but have probably heard better versions of a lot of this material already.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. What is it with these live Zappa shows from Finland? When I first spent some time with "You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 2" from Finland I was convinced it was the best live Zappa record I had heard. Well that was recorded in September of 1974 while "Road Tapes- Venue #2" was recorded in Finland in August of 1973. So this is a year earlier and we have seven musicians compared to five on the second trip. We get nine tracks I believe that are on both recordings and a very similar lineup. For me Frank's banter with the audience on both recordings are some of his absolute best. He seemed to have a soft spot for this nation and he sure spent a lot of time conversing with them.

The intro track which is literally the stage introduction is over 5 minutes long because Frank gets each musician to give the audience a taste of the instrument or instruments they play. He doesn't leave anything out! It's great! Hearing George Duke hit us with clavinet or Ian Underwood hitting us with bass clarinet followed by synths at Frank's prompting. As far as the tunes go it's one killer tune after another really. How about an almost 23 minute version of "Father O'Blivion" on disc two. Anyway these two live recordings from Finland seem to rise to the top for me when it comes to live Zappa. Highly recommended!

Latest members reviews

5 stars I love the warning you get when dropping 5 stars on something - well... this one is deserving of 6 stars in my book. This is my favorite lineup from any of the Zappa bands. That has swayed my love for this release but the music is nothing short of amazing. Many have been lusting after a rel ... (read more)

Report this review (#1078944) | Posted by Phlakaton | Tuesday, November 19, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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