SETLIST: The Deathless Horsie-> Dancin' Fool-> Easy Meat-> Honey Don't You Want A Man Like Me?-> Keep It Greasy-> The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing-> City of Tiny Lites-> Pound for a Brown-> Bamboozled By Love-> Sy Borg-> Mo's Vacation-> Bobby Brown-> Suicide Chump-> Packard Goose, E: Don't Eat the Yellow Snow Suite
APPROXIMATE TIME- 1 hour, 55 minutes
OFFICIAL RELEASES- None
THE DEATHLESS HORSIE (8:28)- This one goes way out there and does not return. The first half of the solo is kind of lackluster, with competent playing but not all that much passion. About halfway through the tune, however, Vinnie begins picking up the slack, forcing himself into the mix, and steering Frank off into non-"Deathless" territory. The band completely loses the "Deathless" arpeggio, and Frank and the rhythm section are free to explore new realms. Near chaos arrives, but the band is able to hold things together for a very brief return to the standard vamp before heading into the intros. A slow start, but in the end, a worthy affair.
DANCIN' FOOL (3:22)
EASY MEAT (4:13)- FZ solo, 1:25; Frank whips out a low and dirty sounding solo- pure awesome ugliness- which unfortunately is way too short.
HONEY DON'T YOU WANT A MAN LIKE ME? (4:28)
KEEP IT GREASY (3:07)
THE MEEK SHALL INHERIT NOTHING (3:34)
CITY OF TINY LITES (11:20)- Denny Walley slide solo, 2:53; FZ solo, 2:57; Both Denny and Frank give longer than normal solos here, with Frank continuing his "Easy Meat" theme of low and dirty. He scrapes the strings, holds the notes, employs feedback, pulls out every trick in the book to create a dramatic and ugly guitar solo. I love it.
POUND FOR A BROWN (16:21 including tape flip)- Ed Mann solo, 2:46 including tape flip; L Shankar solo, 3:52; FZ solo, 3:42; LS/FZ duel, 2:19; keyboards, 5:32; This "Pound" contains the best percussion solo of the run, and the best "Thirteen" solos from both Frank and Shankar, and it is all due to Vinnie's dynamic playing. Ed Mann's solo reaches new heights thanks to the propulsive nature of the rhythm section, who for once challenge the percussionist and force him to push his solo to another level. For the "Thirteen" portion of the song, Vinnie is maniacal, forcing Shankar to play his best, and forcing Frank to respond in kind. Frank even manages to quote "Inca Roads" during his solo, which is always worth additional brownie points. The song peaks during the Shankar/Zappa duel, which culminates in a cheesy '50's parody before heading into the keyboard solos. Both Wolf's and Mars' solos are typically great, but unfortunately, both are also quite short. This leaves a sense of disappointment when all is said and done, and one realizes that another mind-blowing keyboard jam was within reach, but for some reason was not allowed to reach fruitition. Oh well. Still, a great "Pound for the Brown".
BAMBOOZLED BY LOVE (8:43)- Denny Walley slide solo, 1:31; FZ solo, 2:17; Frank does the vocals, which alone makes the song worth hearing. He cannot sing the blues, but nonetheless, his rendition of this tune gives the lyrics a whole new feel. He more than makes up for his lack of passionate singing with a bluesy, mean-spirited solo.
SY BORG (4:44)- Wolf solo, 1:30; Without Ike in the band, Frank decides to give this tune an instrumental run-through, and the results are quite nice. Wolf's mini-Moog dominates the song, and lends an introspective feel to the proceedings. Note that at the next show, Frank would perform the song again, but would attempt the lyrics himself, with unsuccessful yet amusing results.
MO'S VACATION (3:57)- Earlier in the tour, this song was performed as a companion piece to "The Black Page #2", and the segue from this more somber piece into the latter dance oriented piece was one of the better one-two punches of the tour. Here, where the song is paired up with "Bobby Brown", the results are not as successful. There is no big pay off at the end, and one just finds oneself thinking that maybe Mo took a little bit too long of a vacation.
BOBBY BROWN (3:05)
SUICIDE SHUMP (6:01, with awful cut from post-DW solo vocals to end of song)- Denny Walley slide solo, :36; Two slow blues songs in a twenty minute span is just too much for a Zappa band. This performance begins with a 1:42 lecture by Frank on why people who commit suicide are sissies (if only he could have been performing in the time of Cobain). Again, Frank does the vocals, and Denny gets a short slide solo halfway through the proceedings. We get a nasty cut after the solo, taking us to the end of the song and into the "Packard Goose" intro. Who knows what exactly is left out. All I know is that by this point in the show, the band has lost most of its steam, and the music has become somewhat lifeless. Thankfully, "Packard Goose" would provide redemption.
PACKARD GOOSE (18:07, including outros)- L Shankar solo, 2:22; FZ solo, 2:21; LS/FZ duel, 4:36; This is the highlight of the show, and one of the contenders for highlight of the run. The song itself is your standard "Packard Goose", though played at a slower and more dramatic pace. For the "mary's vamp" portion, we get no "journalism is..." lyrics, but instead cut straight to the "information is not knowledge" speech. After "music is the best", "mary's vamp" continues with some short keyboard flourishes and then L Shankar's solo. By the time FZ begins his solo, the progression has disappeared, and we are essentially in a free-form improv section. Both Shankar's and Frank's solos are good, but when they start dueling it out, the playing becomes ferocious. Shankar is in top form, Frank sounds as if he is playing "Five-five-five", and Vinnie is rolling thunder below it all. This jam builds and builds and manages to reach a satisfying climax before returning us to the song proper. The final verse is as normal, and Frank does some audience bonding (and helps find the parents of a lost child) before finishing the song and ending the set. An excellent ending to a somewhat inconsistent set.
DON'T EAT THE YELLOW SNOW (2:24)- An added bonus- someone squeezes a rubber ducky throughout both this and "Nanook Rubs It". Very cool effect.
NANOOK RUBS IT (6:37)
ST. ALPHONSO'S PANCAKE BREAKFAST (cuts :40 into track)
This is a pretty inconsistent show. The first half of the show is solidly performed, with Frank's guitar playing having a rather adventurous edge too it, but not being allowed to really stretch to its fullest. By the time "Pound for a Brown" rolls around, though, Frank is warmed up and manages to whip out one of his best solos of the run. The way the first half of the show builds to this moment is nice. Unfortunately, the concert hits a lull for awhile, with a run of slow paced, somewhat uninspired song choices. In other shows (both NY #2 and NY #5), these songs manage to provide some excellent contrast and relief, helping to further the musical aims of the show, but here they simply drag the band down and stop what was becoming a steamroller of musical energy. Thankfully, "Packard Goose" drives up in the waning moments of the show, allowing Shankar, Frank and Vinnie to reach the heights that the earlier parts of the show promised us. This show has a couple of the run's best moments, but sadly does not have much to offer apart from those.
5th out of 6