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


Frank Zappa



3.75 | 131 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
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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.

Cygnus X-2 | 3/5 |


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