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Frank Zappa You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 1 album cover
4.06 | 156 ratings | 8 reviews | 34% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Live, released in 1988

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (71:54)
1. The Florida Airport Tape (1:03)
2. Once Upon a Time (4:37)
3. Sofa #1 (2:53)
4. The Mammy Anthem (5:41)
5. You Didn't Try to Call Me (3:39)
6. Diseases of the Band (2:22)
7. Tryin' to Grow a Chin (3:44)
8. Let's Make the Water Turn Black / Harry, You're a Beast / The Orange County Lumber Truck (3:27)
9. The Groupie Routine (5:41)
10. Ruthie-Ruthie (2:57)
11. Babbette (3:35)
12. I'm the Slime (3:13)
13. Big Swifty (8:46)
14. Don't Eat the Yellow Snow (20:16)

CD 2 (65:29)
1. Plastic People (4:38)
2. The Torture Never Stops (15:48)
3. Fine Girl (2:55)
4. Zomby Woof (5:39)
5. Sweet Leilani (2:39)
6. Oh No (4:34)
7. Be in My Video (3:29)
8. The Deathless Horsie (5:29)
9. The Dangerous Kitchen (1:49)
10. Dumb All Over (4:20)
11. Heavenly Bank Account (4:05)
12. Suicide Chump (4:55)
13. Tell Me You Love Me (2:09)
14. Sofa #2 (3:00)

Total Time 137:23

Line-up / Musicians

- Frank Zappa / guitar, keyboards, vocals
- Adrian Belew / guitar, vocals
- Steve Vai / guitar
- Dweezil Zappa / guitar
- George Duke / keyboards, vocals
- Bruce Fowler / trombone
- Bobby Martin / keyboards, saxophone, vocals
- Don Preston / keyboards
- Ed Mann / percussion
- Chester Thompson / drums
- Chad Wackerman / vocals
- Jimmy Carl Black / percussion, drums
- Lowell George / guitar, vocals
- Jeff Simmons / bass
- Ike Willis / guitar, vocals
- Ray Collins / guitar, vocals
- Aynsley Dunbar / drums
- Tom Fowler / bass
- Arthur Barrow / bass, keyboards
- Terry Bozzio / drums
- Napoleon Murphy Brock / saxophone, vocals
- Vinnie Colaiuta / drums
- Warren Cuccurullo / organ, guitar
- Roy Estrada / bass, vocals
- Bunk Gardner / trumpet, sax (Tenor)
- Ralph Humphrey / drums
- Howard Kaylan / vocals
- David Logerman / drums
- Tommy Mars / keyboards, vocals
- Patrick O'Hearn / bass, wind
- Jim Pons / bass, vocals
- Jim Sherwood / guitar, vocals, wind
- Motorhead Sherwood / sax (Baritone)
- Scott Thunes / synthesizer, bass, vocals
- Art Tripp / drums
- Ian Underwood / guitar, keyboards, wind
- Ruth Underwood / percussion, keyboards
- Mark Volman / vocals
- Denny Walley / vocals, slide guitar
- Ray White / guitar, vocals
- Allan Zavod / keyboards
- Peter Wolf / keyboards

Releases information

Rykodisc #10561/62

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FRANK ZAPPA You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 1 ratings distribution

(156 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(34%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(55%)
Good, but non-essential (10%)
Collectors/fans only (1%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

FRANK ZAPPA You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 1 reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In the late 80s Frank Zappa was wrapping up his final world tour (and he would really go out with a bang on this tour) as well as releasing an exceedingly impressive amount of live material ranging from every era of his career. This live material would be spread out over 12 discs and 6 collections and would be called You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore (appropriately titled volumes 1-6). In the liner notes of every edition there is information provided about essentially every song performed on the disc (including the lineup, where it was recorded, and the date it was recorded). The most notorious of these releases are the first two, the first being a very comprehensive look at Zappa's career from all eras (although a certain amount of focus is placed on his mid 80s career), and the second being a complete concert from 1972 in Helsinki. The first collection is also one of the best in the entire collection as some gems from throughout his career are played and some of the new pieces (ones that did not make it onto official albums) are superb gems.

The first disc opens and in the beginning has three straight tracks of songs from the Howard Kaylan/Mark Volman era of the group. These tracks mainly consist of dialogue, but the inclusion of the story behind the Sofa pieces (which would eventually wind up on 1975's One Size Fits All album) is quite humorous. The Mammy Anthem is a superb instrumental piece (and it features Zappa playing in a different guitar tuning) and the riffing and the majestic feel to it only heighten the atmosphere (it would eventually end up on the terribly ill-conceived concept album Thing Fish in the end but this extraction from it is brilliant at best). The pieces leading up to the conclusion of the first disc range from pieces from his 1979 touring group to a 1969 Mothers performance medley of Let's Make The Water Turn Black / Harry, You're A Beast / The Orange County Lumber Truck. The performance of Tryin' to Grow a Chin, though, pales in comparison vocally to that of Terry Bozzio's studio performance (Denny Walley gives it his best, but comes up short). The end of the first disc is a great performance of the opening song cycle of Apostrophe, from Don't Eat the Yellow Snow to Father O'Blivion with a bit of audience participation in between the pieces (Zappa has them reciting poetry and stamping up and down at points and the musicianship in the background is consistent and keeps the flow of the piece quite well).

The second disc is a less balanced affair and has a reliance on some live material from Zappa's mid 80s touring bands. The performance of The Torture Never Stops (from arguably my favorite Zappa lineup ever consisting of Terry Bozzio, Tommy Mars, Ed Mann, Adrian Belew, Peter Wolf, Patrick O'Hearn, and FZ) is quite stunning with Zappa really belting out a magnificent guitar solo and some solid riffing. The inclusion of The Deathless Horsie (an underrated instrumental from the Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar trilogy) is also quite nice and Zappa shows his versatility as a guitarist providing an emotive guitar solo while at the same time retaining his insane and unorthodox guitar phrasings. The instrumental version of Oh No (a song that Zappa would continually perform along with songs like King Kong and Trouble Every Day in every incarnation and era of his career) is also quite nice and you'll also be able to pick up on the little intricacies of the song (being that it is in essentially all odd times of 7/4 and 5/4). It ends quite nicely with the concluding Sofa No. 2 (this time played from the 1982 touring band), and although not really having the same power as the studio piece, has always been a fantastic live song for Zappa.

In the end, there are a plethora of live Zappa albums to choose from, but none are more comprehensive and have more sense of completion than the You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore! series. As for my rating for the first one, while it had many magnificent moments, there seems to be too much focus on his 80s bands on this one and not enough on the 70s groups (although they do get a lot of the spotlight as well). Still, though, it's a pretty solid collection that no fan of Zappa should really go without. 4/5

Review by tarkus1980
4 stars I think it's pretty clear that, at this point, Zappa had no interest in doing any more regular studio albums. From now on, anything new from him was either (a) recorded in concert with his touring band or (b) classical music, done by an orchestra or programmed into a Synclavier. To help keep up his insane release schedule, though, Zappa began digging through archives of his live performances, and thus commenced one of the most ambitious projects in rock music up to that point. The You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore series ultimately produced 12 discs of previously unavailable live material, ranging from live samplers to complete shows, and it ended up touching nearly every point in Zappa's history. Combine this with the Beat the Boots series, and it seems that Zappa was going to leave no stone unturned on his live history (especially if it meant that he could further put off going back into the studio).

This entry in the series seemingly has at least a couple of tracks from every incarnation of Zappa's live bands through the years (and the various eras are mixed up, to good effect). The downside to this, of course, is that this means that we get some more material from the Flo and Eddie years. The first track isn't a performance at all; it's just a really gross conversation about one of them throwing up on stage, and I have to wonder if Zappa put that on there just to mess with people who bought the set. Of more interest from this era is an early performance of "Sofa #2" (here called "Sofa #1," which makes me wonder if Zappa had indeed originally intended to put the version with the German vocals first on that album), later found on One Size, and proceeded here by a little skit (this is also the show where Frank got attacked, leading to the end of this era and Frank's brief turn towards jazz fusion). This era also features another rendition of "The Groupie Routine," originally featured on Fillmore '71, but very different in spots here than from there.

From the original Mothers of Invention, we have a performance of "Plastic People" (where the similarities to "Louie Louie" are purposefully emphasized) and a performance of the instrumental medley of "Let's Make the Water Turn Black," "Harry You're a Beast" and "The Orange County Lumber Truck." We don't get the bridge into "Oh No" (which gets stuck onto the second disc) and "The Orange County Lumber Truck Part 2," like on Ahead of Their Time, but this is still a nice snippet. Moving past the 1971 band, the mid-70's feature 1973 performances of "I'm the Slime" and an abbreviated "Big Swifty." The late 70's are highlighted by a 1977 rendition of "The Torture Never Stops" (well over 15 minutes, but that's ok because this is a track that seems to grow in power as it gets longer), and a 1979 suite of the first half of Apostrophe, here called "Don't You Eat the Yellow Snow." I think this gets a little excessively silly in the audience participation parts, but it never gets quite as irritating as "Beebop Tango," and while this half of Apostrophe has never especially impressed me, I find this track entertaining enough.

The bulk of the rest of the album comes from various 80's performances. The big highlights for me come from 1981 performances of "Dumb All Over," "Heavenly Bank Account" and "Suicide Chump" (done live on MTV, ha!), but I'm also rather impressed by "The Mammy Anthem," a neat instrumental of "The Mammy Nuns" (from Thing Fish). The 1984 performances ("The Deathless Horsie," "Be in My Video," "The Dangerous Kitchen") aren't really great, but the 1982 material is very good. Plus, I just find it really neat that the album ends with a 1982 rendition of "Sofa #1" (here called "Sofa #2"); if that's not an effective use of conceptual continuity, I don't know what is.

Overall, the quality of this set is a little uneven, but there's enough great material here to bring it up to a low ****. It has enough material to satisfy both casual and hardcore fans, and the decision to intersperse the different eras gives the album a somewhat playful feel that works in its favor. I definitely recommend it.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This is the first volume (duh) of Frank Zappa's ambitious six volume, twelve CD collection of live tracks from throughout his career. The goal appears to be to include songs and recording that add to the history or Frank and his sidemen.

Anyone who has been to more than one Zappa concert probably has noticed that the performance of the songs changed frequently. Frank encouraged the droup to add "eyebrows", the little changes, flourishes and improvisations that would make every show unique. And of course, we get plenty of those.

There are a few songs that hadn't been released elsewhere. Ruthie-Ruthie, Babette and Sweet Leilani all fall into this category. Although none of these are spectacular, they are nice to own. This was also the first official release of The Sofa Routine (since included on one of the "Beat The Boots" CDs). While this is the best quality recording of this funny Flo & Eddie era piece, here it is cut way short.

Another good section is a group of songs recorded in 1981 and broadcast on MTV. I have a cassette recorded from my TV (in mono), and it's amazing that this great concert has never been released in full.

The editing is amazing, it flows so well that it's easy to forget that in many of the segues from song to song, the entire band changes (except for Frank).

In my opinion, any Zappa fan should get the whole series.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars The "You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore" series consists of 6 volumes and 12 cds. It took over 20 years to put together and it originally contained previously unreleased live material only with no over dubs. The music on this first volume is all over the place from different periods of Frank's career and is not chronological. Some have called this first volume the most varied of the set. I presently just own the first two volumes.

Disc One is to my ears much superior to Disc Two. It starts off with a conversation at the Florida Airport where one of the band members talks about throwing up on stage while singing. Then we get "Once Upon A Time" which is an intro to "Sofa #1". By the way the show that this song is from is significant for two reasons. One it was the week after their concert in Geneva, Switzerland where a fire destroyed the Montreux Casino they were playing in. DEEP PURPLE were there of course and wrote "Smoke On The Water" because of it. Anyway all of Zappa and his band's touring equipment was destroyed in that fire so here they are playing with what they could scrounge up here. Secondly it was this same concert that Frank was tackled and injured by the fan accusing him of making eyes at his girlfriend. Frank spent a month in a hospital and the better part of a year in a wheel chair as a result. "The Mommy Anthem" has a heavy sound to it and the guitar dominates before 2 1/2 minutes. Great track ! This was the opening number of the infamous Palermo riot concert from 1982.

Another highlight is "Tryin' To Grow A Chin" where many of the band members were ill, yet inspite of this they gave an incredible performance although at one point Denny forgets the lyrics. "Lets Make The Water Turn Black / Harry Your A Beast / The Orange County Lumber Truck" is classic ! A rare early Mothers Of Invention track a few months before they broke up. "The Groupie Routine" is a bit the band performed every night back in 1971 and every night it changed a little. This one was done in L.A. The start of "Ruthie-Ruthie" is hilarious where Frank talks about those voices from the audiece and tells them about this guy who followed his concerts throughout Europe yelling "Freak me out Frank, freak me out." Haha. "I'm The Slime" and "Big Swifty" are from the early days of the 1973 band and the latter might be my favourite track on this whole recording. Disc one ends with an over 20 minute version of "Don't You Eat The Yellow Snow".

Disc two begins well with "Plastic People" from a concert in the Spring of 1969 in the Bronx. This was a bus tour and Frank relates how cold and miserable it was. The intro is funny with Zappa announcing that a green Chey needs to be moved or it will be towed. "The Torture Never Stops" is a killer track from a venue in Germany. We get a guitar solo from before 6 1/2 minutes to after 14 minutes. "Zomby Woof" is such a great song. Lots of vibes and vocals and the guitar leads from before 2 1/2 minutes to before 5 minutes. This is from Milan Italy in 1982. Frank relates that the venue was an empty lot fenced in beside a mosquito infested lake. There were about 50,000 people there, most of whom got in by breaking down the fence. As soon as they started to play they were attacked by mosquitos and people in the front rows threw their disposable syringes on the stage. The cartoon illustration on the cover of the "Man From Utopia" album commemorates this event. "Sweet Leilani" is a crazy instrumental while "Oh No" is an uplifting instrumental. "The Deathless Horsie" is another excellent instrumental while "The Dangerous Kitchen" has almost spoken vocals with avant music. Then we get four songs in a row that are just okay before ending with "Sofa #2" which is a great way to end it all from the 1982 lineup.

Not as good in my opinion as Volume 2 but man I couldn't give anything less than 4 stars for this one.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Just as the title says, this is volume 1 of a large project put together by Frank Zappa that consisted of 6 volumes of live concerts and performances plus one sampler that collected the best of the series. This was quite a major undertaking done towards the end of his life. All of these recordings are top rate, much better than the Beat the Boots collections that gathered some of his bootlegged albums together with all of their flaws and production problems. These collections are top rate and polished so that they are highly listenable and enjoyable.

Most of the volumes follow a theme or concentrate on specific concerts. This first volume, however, is a collection of bit and pieces from concerts throughout his career from 1969 to 1984. Even with this mishmash of performances featuring various line-ups from his bands, the collection flows quite well and the quality of the recordings stays consistent throughout.

Like most of the reviewers have already stated, the first disc is the best, but both have some worthy highlights. On the first disc, "The Mammy Anthem" is a terrific instrumental that is from the horrible "Thing-Fish" album, but this recording was done before the release of that studio album and features great guitar work from FZ. "Diseases of the Band" is Frank conversing with the audience and telling them about all the sicknesses the band had at the time yet they were still there performing to their utmost as is proven by the following stellar version of "Tryin' to Grow a Chin". Then there is an enjoyable medley from an older concert of some instrumental gems. The thing that makes this collection a must-have for FZ fans is the inclusion of "Ruthie-Ruthie", which is a take on "Plastic People" which is in turn a take of "Louie-Louie" (a double take :P ), a funny little aside about Ruth Underwood who was the amazing percussionist of the time and this is followed by another track not available anywhere else called "Babette", which is definitely worth checking out. But not only that, the rest of the CD continues with amazing tracks with a version of "I Am the Slime" with a killer guitar solo. Then you get the amazing "Big Swifty" which in it's original form is a long longer on the album "Waka/Jawaka" but just knowing that this band could take this song on live is nothing short of miraculous. The song is structured as "Theme 1 - Improvisation - Theme 2" so that you know when it is starting and ending because those sections are always somewhat similar, but the improv part is always different every time it's performed. The miraculous part is the 2nd theme where a very complex melody is played by pretty much the entire band with Ruth Underwood following the lead guitar note for note on the xylophone which is something everyone should hear. Simply outstanding and worth the price of the CD on it's own. But that's not enough.....the entire 20 minute performance of "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow" is here with a lot of audience participation (you can hear for yourself how much fun a Zappa concert was) and also the rare coda for that entire suite (called "Rollo") is included and it was left off of the studio version of the suite which was on the album "Apostrophe".

The 2nd disc has less to offer as far as surprises, but there are some there and a few tracks that are still great. You get a 15 minute version of "The Torture Never Stops" with a great guitar solo, and the rest of the disc is shorter songs, some from the religious suite that was on the "You Are What You Is" album (but they are performed better here). You still have a few great instrumentals in "Oh No" and "Sofa #2" but nothing as stellar as on the previous disc. The faux lounge singing on "The Deathless Horsie" and "The Dangerous Kitchen" isn't too overwhelming this time and actually works better because of the brevity of the performance which helps increase the humor factor. The collection is tied together by the bookends of the album, namely Sofa #1 at the beginning and Sofa #2 which closes the collection. This adds to the continuity, which is a factor that Zappa pushed for in his music.

So, this is a great collection, and those looking for great live performances by Zappa and the band should examine this series of albums. This volume is definitely safe and would be a great purchase to help give you a good idea of what the FZ band line-up sounds like in its different incarnations. If you love a certain sound, then you will have a better idea which live albums from Zappa would appeal to you more. There are some weak points in this Volume 1 collection, but not enough to get too worried about because they don't take up much time out of the 2+ hours of music that is contained on the collection. This is essential for FZ lovers, but might not quite be to the 5 star standard for all prog lovers, but it is close. If you do get a chance to purchase this one, I wouldn't hesitate.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Live Zappa? Yup, music culled from the archives of live Zappa, into neat little compilations. This is the you can't do that on stage anymore series. It happens to kick off with You Can't do That on Stage Anymore Volume 1, and that's what this review is about. As a side note with the series on ... (read more)

Report this review (#161555) | Posted by cookieacquired | Monday, February 11, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This collection of live material (from earlier days, all the way up to the mid 80s) will have you in stitches as often as it will head banging. Musically, it's completely up to par with Zappa's high standards, with very, very little sloppy playing. The concert is complete with recordings of the ba ... (read more)

Report this review (#132261) | Posted by Shakespeare | Wednesday, August 8, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars An excellent start to the series. Features some of my favorite Zappa gems, such as the 20 minute rendition of 'Yellow Snow', and the smoking 'Zomby Woof'. 'The Torture Never Stops' has some amusing guitar pyrotechnics, and the 'You Are What You Is' work from the MTV special is very good. Zappa ... (read more)

Report this review (#126681) | Posted by SuzyCreamcheese | Sunday, June 24, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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