FALL '80

BAND MEMBERS- FZ, Ike Willis (vocals, guitar, Dylan), Ray White (vocals, guitar), Arthur Barrow (bass, keyboards), Vinnie Colaiuta (drums, seal calls), Tommy Mars (keyboards, vocals), Bob Harris (keyboards, trumpet, high vocals, cuteness), Steve Vai (guitar, vocals, high energy)

SPECIAL GUESTS- Jimmy Carl Black (still the only Indian of the group)

DATES- October 10th to December 11th



COUNTRIES- 2 (US and Canada)



AVERAGE # OF FZ SOLOS PER SHOW- 5 to 6 (5.4) [Frank is woefully inconsistent on this tour. Some shows had 8 or 9 solos, other had 5 or 6, others only had 3.]

SONGS THAT FZ WOULD SOLO IN- Andy, Any Downers, Bamboozled By Love, Black Napkins, Chunga's Revenge, City of Tiny Lites, Conehead, Deathless Horsie, Drowning Witch (?), Dumb All Over, Easy Meat, Heavy Duty Judy, If Only She Woulda, Illinois Enema Bandit, Outside Now, Pick Me I'm Clean, Sharleena, The Torture Never Stops, Truckdriver Divorce (?), Watermelon in Easter Hay

COMMENTS ON FZ SOLOS- The two 1980 tours are saved from dire mediocrity by the guitar playing of Frank Zappa. While his solos are not that particularly experimental, they abound with an energy and enthusiasm that drives even the dullest of shows to worthy heights. Using a partcularly nasty and biting sound, Frank's solos are straightforward, hold-no-prisoners affairs. No feedback, no theatrics, no duels with Vai- just Frank playing guitar as if nothing else matters. Whether it is "Black Napkins" or "Easy Meat" or "Pick Me I'm Clean", Frank seems to only know one style this time out- fast and loud and in-yer-face. But you know what, it all works, making you sit down and realize (once again), what a sick guitarist this man really is. Yes, certain songs seemed to be consistently better than others- "Pick Me I'm Clean", "City of Tiny Lites", "The Torture Never Stops", and the highly underrated "If Only She Woulda" (my personal 1980 favorite)- but every Zappa solo from this tour is simply worth listening to. This is not Zappa at his best, simply because he did not take the musical chances that he did on past and future tours. It is, however, Frank at his most consistent and his nastiest, playing the guitar with a ferocious attitude that raises an oft overlooked tour to frequently great heights.

SONGS THAT FZ USUALLY SOLOED IN BUT DID NOT ON THIS TOUR- Cosmik Debris (Vai solo), Suicide Chump (rotating solo section, but no FZ)

NEW SONGS ON TOUR- Blue Light, The Dangerous Kitchen,Doreen, Drowning Witch, Dumb All Over, Goblin Girl, Heavy Duty Judy, Luigi and the Wise Guys, Shall We Take Ourselves Seriously?, Tinseltown Rebellion, Truckdriver Divorce

MONSTER SONGS- The Torture Never Stops. In a surprise reworking, this classic guitar solo vehicle becomes the only true Monster Song for this Fall outing. It is not all that monstrous as far as Monster Songs go, but quite a treat as far as "Torture's" go. Two FZ guitar solos, a Mars solo, and a typically interesting Colaiuta workout, complete with the infamous moaning girl sounds throughout. While these improvisational creations are in no way bad, they are disappointing considering the dormant potential lying within this band. Look at the band line-up, we should have had three or four Monster Songs, and more space for the band to stretch out. I think Frank begins to realize this in the waning days of the tour, as both "Torture" and "Pick Me I'm Clean" begin to get a little bit crazier. In the end, what we have is definitely worth hearing, but what we should have had could have been much greater.

OVERVIEW- The You Are What You Is Tour Part Two. That is always the impression I have had about this tour. Until I did this page, that is. While there are shows that contain an obscene number of YAWYI compositions, there are also a number of shows that contain absolutely none- zero- such tunes, and many shows that only contain two or three such tracks. I guess the spectre of the Summer Tour hangs ominously over this outing, creating the false illusion that this was another YAWYI fest. It definitely is not. In fact, listening to this tour as much as I have been lately, I think that this may be one of THE great overlooked tours of Frank's career. Ignoring the YAWYI tracks, this tour consists of some seldomly-played-over-the-years surprises, several new and somewhat different tunes, and some revamped and highly energetic classics. "Broken Hearts", "Stick It Out", "I'm So Cute", and "Tell Me You Love Me" reappear out of nowhere, diversifying the sonic landscape. "The Blue Light", "Shall We Take Ourselves Seriously?", and "Tinseltown Rebellion" proudly introduce themselves and thankfully stay around for several tours. "The Torture Never Stops", "City of Tiny Lites", "Easy Meat", and the still a baby "Pick Me I'm Clean" practically reinvent themselves, providing this tour with some exciting energy and absolutely mesmerizing guitar playing. And finally, for me the highlight of 1980, and amazingly enough a YAWYI composition to boot, "If Only She Woulda" takes the Surprise of the Year award, giving us some hilarious Door's-inspired keyboard solos and Frank's most consistently outrageous guitar explorations. Thus, as far as setlists go, this is not a bad tour (ignoring the handful of YAWYI over-indulgent shows, that is). As far as the band goes, we also get a definite improvement over the previous tour, though things are not as great as they could be. Vinnie is back, which does wonders for the drumming. Bob Harris sits in for his one tour, providing some of the most chilling high harmonies and painfully high notes that we will ever hear. Most importantly, to my ears, Steve Vai is now on board, infusing the music with that little extra oomph!, and setting the stage for the wickedness that would come in the following two tours. Ed Mann's absence, however, especially on the YAWYI tunes, never manages to escape the mind of the listener, with the music sounding somewhat incomplete. Ray, Ike, and the equally impressive Bob are underused, displaying their vocal skills occasionally throughout the standard show, but also not being expoited to their fullest potential. The one saving grace- more than anything- is Frank, and it is Frank's guitar playing that redeems this tour. As I mention above, he is simply out-of-control on this tour, playing with an energy and attitude that raises even the dullest of shows to worth hearing status. All things considered, I will venture to say that this is in no way a bad tour, and, at times, thanks to Frank, it is possibly great. Without a doubt, though, it is one of Frank's most underrated and overlooked excursions.


NOTE: On all the "You Are What You Is" tracks, Ed Mann's absence is sorely evident. While this band's performances of this material are quite an improvement over the Summer tour's versions (which I credit to Steve Vai, though many people have already notified me in advance that it is the David Logeman/Vinnie Colaiuta switch that I should blame/praise, which I disagree with), they are still nowhere near the more energetic and fuller sounding versions of the following two tours. This, I think most of us will agree on, is due to Ed Mann's absence. While I believe that Steve Vai's presence has a greater effect on this portion's of Frank's career than any other member, I also must admit that the band's sound is lacking a crucial element without Ed. Thus, in all the YAWYI track reviews below, add this line- "Ed Mann's presence is sorely missed on this version, giving the song an incomplete feel on this tour. Steve Vai's presence improves the song greatly over the previous tour, but we still receive a somewhat half-baked composition." Sound good?

AIN'T GOT NO HEART- Essentially played as on "Tinseltown Rebellion", allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation.

ANDY- Essentially performed as on OSFA, allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation, and with the standard deviation coming in Frank's quite lengthy and very energetic solo. The opening section of this version always gives me goosebumps, with Tommy's keyboard heralding the arrival of a true classic. Ike and Ray are in top form throughout the song, and the Zappa/Vai guitar combo give the written parts a power that they never seem to find on other tours. Let us not forget that Vinnie is sitting behind the drum kit, and thus we get a manic energy that lifts this version to another level. One of the continual highlights of the tour.

ANY DOWNERS- Essentially performed as on YAWYI, with the standard deviation coming in Frank's solo.

BAMBOOZLED BY LOVE- Essentially performed as on "Tinseltown Rebellion", with the standard deviation coming in Frank's solo. Ike handles the vocal chores on this one, with Vinnie adding seal calls when needed. Although Walley's slide is sorely missed on this and all other later versions, this tour's performances have a particualr energy, in both Ike's vocals and Frank's solo, that lift this above most other '80's "Bamboozled"'s.

BEAUTY KNOWS NO PAIN- Essentially performed as on YAWYI.

BLACK NAPKINS- Essentially performed as on MAJNH, allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation, and with the standard deviation coming in the Frank-only solo. For this version, the band would play the opening vamp for approximately thirty seconds before delving into the main theme. Frank would take a particularly blistering solo, and lead the back back into the theme to conclude the tune.

BLUE LIGHT, THE- Essentially performed as on "Tinseltown Rebellion", with the standard deviation coming in Frank's middle-of-the-song tirade. While this middle portion is essentially the same each performance, Frank did occasionally deviate from the standard script to comment on band happenings or the stupidity of audience members. While this deviation is only occasional on this tour, it would increase on subsequent tours.

BOBBY BROWN GOES DOWN- While Steve Vai's presence on this tour does wonders for the "You Are WhatYou Is" material, it seems to have absolutely no effect on this tune. Imagine that.

BROKEN HEARTS ARE FOR ASSHOLES- The basic structure of this song is the same as on "Sheik Yerbouti". Unfortunately, however, there are some minor changes that really affect the mood of the tune. Things start off as normal, with the aggressive guitar riff. But almost immediately, things start to look bad as Terry Ted's aggressive "Hey! Do you know what you are?" taunt becomes a keyboard driven, whiny little tease. Same lyrics, just a completely different attitude. The verses follow-performed as always- but with a differently arranged chorus. Again, same lyrics, but this time accompanied by an overplayed, metal-tinged swing groove, which, by the way, works. Back to the annoying whine, and then the normal verse. The middle spoken section is also performed as normal (but lacks O'Hearn's frequently hilarious remarks), with an added disco vamp following the "work the wall with Michael" line. The conclusion of the song also takes us through familiar territory. Overall, the satirically played swing vamp in the chorus works, but the wimpy pre-verse yell and the absence of O'Hearn cause this version to suffer. Also, this is another tune where Ed Mann's absence is quite evident, with sonic holes where his quirky percussion would normally be. Definitely worth hearing, as it is stylistically quite different from the majority of the material, but not as strong as the '70's version.

CHARLIE'S ENORMOUS MOUTH- Essentially performed as on YAWYI.

CHUNGA'S REVENGE- Essentially performed as a show opening, guitar solo vehicle. The song begins rather calmly, with the bass-prominent main theme and no abrupt guitar intro as on the studio release. Once the main theme is played through, then we get the aforementioned guitar part, which drops us off into Frank's solo. Upon the conclusion of the solo, the bass theme would then be used as the vamp for the band introductions.

CITY OF TINY LITES- This is the tour for "City of Tiny Lites" guitar solos. Frank's incredibly high energy coupled with Vinnie's frantic drumming and the Carlos Santana Secret Chord Progression create some of the most insane guitar masterpieces. Frank plays as if he has just slammed an entire pot of coffee and has only one way to exert his newfound energy- through the guitar. These solos sound as if Frank's guitar has exploded, pouring forth a violent spew of twisted and perverse guitar notes. Simply exhilirating. The version we get this tour out is essentially the same as the YCDTOSA Volume V performance, with the guitar based opening, the Carlos guitar vamp, and the randomly orchestrated post solo vocals (which seem to be a lot more fun than the instrumental festivities which would occur on the '82 tour). For me, this tour gives us the definitive version of this guitar solo classic.

CONEHEAD- Essentially performed as on YAWYI, with the standard deviation coming in the solo.

COSMIK DEBRIS- Essentially performed as on "Apostrophe (')", allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation, and with the standard deviation coming in Vai's solo. We get the aggressive, guitar based "piece of meat" section for this tour.

DANGEROUS KITCHEN, THE- Not really a "sprechstimme" production, this "Dangerous Kitchen" version. Frank's vocals are essentially the same as always, but the musical accompianment is not your typical "sprechstimme" accompianment. Barrow is locked into a rather simple, tick-tock type groove, while Mars randomly inserts keyboard chords and riffs (though not in the same way they would during the "normal" "Dangerous Kitchen" workout). Patrick Buzby points out that "this has Tommy doing the Landini cadence riff which later became part of"Frogs With Dirty Little Lips." " Even Vinnie - who is very active and typically brilliant in this performance- does not really sound as if he's playing along with Frank's vocals, but just jamming to some unheard tribal beat. Personally, I think this version is musically more interesting than the "sprechstimme" version, but then again, I'm not a really big fan of this facet of Frank's music.

DANCIN' FOOL- Essentially performed as on every tour it was ever performed on, with that little extra energy brought about by Vai's presence in the band.

DEAD GIRLS OF LONDON- The first half of this version is essentially performed as on YCDTOSA Volume V, allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation. But from the second "boutique frame of mind" line- where it would typically go into the "gee I like your pants" section- we get a new vamp, Ike singing "Bon Jour frame of mind"( "Bon Jour" being the brand-name for a type of blue jeans popular in the early eighties), and a short, pyrotechnic Steve Vai guitar solo. An interesting, but not great, reworking.

DEATHLESS HORSIE, THE- Essentially performed as on SUNPYG, with the standard deviation coming in Frank's solo.

DON'T EAT THE YELLOW SNOW- Essentially performed as on "Apostrophe (')", allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation. For the second time in its career (the first being the previous '80 tour), this song is performed as a solo piece, without the other songs commonly found in the "Don't Eat" suite.

DOREEN- Essentially performed as on YCDTOSA Volume V, allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation.

DRAFTED AGAIN- Essentially performed as on YAWYI.

DROWNING WITCH- I have yet to hear this premiere performance from 10/12, but considering that it was only played once by this band, and considering how difficult it is to play, I'm not sure I want to hear it. Anyone want to tell us what we win, if anything? [Patrick Buzy writes:" I suspect that "Truck Driver Divorce" and "Drowning Witch" from fall '80 were just "sprechgesang" versions, though I haven't heard the tapes." Again, anyone? To which Jon Naurin replies: "Drowning Witch: As I've warned you about, this is just FZ reading the lyrics in meltdown style, over some improvised accompaniment, like "Dangerous Kitchen". The words are pretty much the same as on the released version. FZ also conducts the audience to go "Oooooh" occasionally - actually this performance sounds rather interesting, but the sound is horrid.]

DUMB ALL OVER- Essentially performed as on "Have I Offended Someone?", allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation, and with the standard deviation coming in Frank's solo. Until Ryko amended matters, this was another of Frank's dubious decisions- editing this solo out of both the YAWYI CD release and the YCDTOSA Volume I set. Because of this, tape collecting became an essential hobby for the Frank freak, simply to hear what really went down during the live performances of "Dumb All Over".

EASY MEAT- Essentially performed as on "Tinseltown Rebellion", with the standard deviation coming in Frank's solo. This version marks the beginning of an incredible three tour run that this tune would have. The Vai/Mars combination is deadly during the pre-solo classical part, and Zappa finally stumbled upon a solo vamp that would really let him explore his guitar to the fullest. Frank's playing on this tour, however, is not quite as experimental as it would be on the following two tours, and thus his solos are not as "out there" as they would eventually become. Nevertheless, the solos are consistently excellent, with the definite sense of possible greatness underlying even the weakest of the "Easy Meat" outings. An excellent improvement over the previous tour's "Easy Meat" excursions, which for some reason never really seemed to create much excitement (possibly because of that horrible Summer '80 vamp).

FLAKES- Essentially performed as on "Sheik Yerbouti", allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation. Ike wins the role of Dylan this time round, thanks to Ed's conspicuous absence. Another tune where Ed's percussion is sorely missed.

GOBLIN GIRL- Essentially performed as on "Have I Offended Someone"- i.e. the slow version- complete with the multilayered, concluding lyric section. For this tour only, Frank decides to attempt this vocal treat, and the results are wonderful. This portion of the song is what makes it so good, and thus all other tour versions pale in comparison.

HARDER THAN YOUR HUSBAND- Essentially performed as on YAWYI, with Frank handling the vocal chores instead of Jimmy Carl Black, and with Jimmy Carl Black handling the vocal chores instead of Frank during a guest performance.

HEAVENLY BANK ACCOUNT- Essentially performed as on YAWYI.

HEAVY DUTY JUDY- Essentially played as on TBBYNHIYL, allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation, and with the standard deviation coming in Frank's solo. Also, like all versions of this song other than the '88 one, there were vocals. While they occasionally changed at the whim of FZ and the band, the standard set of 3 lyrics was simply "Heavy Duty Judy," chanted over the main theme.

HONEY DON'T YOU WANT A MAN LIKE ME?- Essentially performed as always, allowing for the obvious differences in instrumentation.

IF ONLY SHE WOULDA- Otherwise known as "Variations on the Robby Krieger Secret Chord Progression". Essentially performed as on YAWYI, with the standard deviation coming in both Arthur's (yes, Arthur's) and Frank's solos. For me, this song is the highlight of 1980. The song itself is okay, though definitely better than most of YAWYI. The solo section, however, is excellent. The vamp is highly contagious, possibly the most danceable beat Zappa ever soloed over. Arthur's Doors-influenced solos are great, and set the perfect stage for Frank to simply freak- which is what he does for this song. Playing with an overabundance of energy and enthusiasm, Frank tears this song to pieces- solong in, around, over, and directly through the rhythm section. One of several 1980 tunes that I would have loved to see make it to later tours.

ILLINOIS ENEMA BANDIT- Essentially performed as on YCDTOSA Volume VI, allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation, and with the standard deviation coming in Frank's solo. This guitar solo section typically consisted of two separate vamps. The first vamp was the standard "Illinois" vamp, smoothly flowing out of the vocal section. During the course of the solo, the band would then segue into the second vamp, which was quite a bit funkier and featured a quite active Barrow. To say the least, these solos are monsters, with Frank soloing at length, using some of the most distorted and blasphemous sounding guitar effects. While this tune would eventually dissolve into a "by-the-numbers" sleepwalk for later bands, this tour presents us with a highly energetic and downright mean "Illinois Enema Bandit" excursion. Mars' overdone keyboards, White's indicting wails, and Harris' hilarious screams coupled with Frank's ugly guitar playing create the ultimate "Bandit" performances.

I'M A BEAUTFUL GUY- Essentially performed as on YAWYI.

I'M SO CUTE- Essentially performed as o YCDTOSA Volume VI, with Harris doing a more than adequate job of filling Terry Ted's shoes.

JAZZ DISCHARGE PARTY HATS- Patrick Buzby with this late breaking news- "This came up during "Torture Never Stops" at one fall '80 show. (FZ mentions in Electric Don Quixote that it was "in Illinois" - I'm betting 11/15 Carbondale, since the Chicago shows were not recorded due to union problems.)"

JOE'S GARAGE- Essentially performed as on YCDTOSA Volume III, allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation.

JUMBO GO AWAY- Essentially performed as on YAWYI.

KEEP IT GREASY- Essentially performed as on "Joe's Garage", allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation, and only up to the point where the extended guitar solo section begins.

LOHENGRIN- Towards the end of the tour, "Pick Me I'm Clean" starts to get a little crazy, consisting of more than just a guitar solo in its middle section. On the late show on 12/05, an improvised performance of "Lohengrin" found its way into the proceedings, making things even crazier than normal.

LOVE OF MY LIFE- Essentially performed as on "Tinseltown Rebellion." One of my continually favorite songs in Zappa's touring repertoire. No, there's not much to this song, but amidst the humor and chaos of the rest of the tour, this songs appears as a beacon of simplicity and sincerity. Bob Harris' hilarious yet beautiful falsetto achingly floats over the majority of the proceedings, and consistently hits that painfully long note towards the end of the song.

LUCILLE HAS MESSED UP MY MIND- Essentially performed as on YCDTOSA Volume III, acounting for obvious differences in instrumentation.

LUIGI AND THE WISE GUYS- Essentially performed exactly as on "Man From Utopia", as that version is based upon this one time only (thank goodness) live event.

MAGIC FINGERS- Esentially performed as on YCDTOSA Volume VI.

MEEK SHALL INHERIT NOTHING, THE- Essentially performed as on YAWYI, with Denny's slide being sorely missed.

MS. PINKY- Essentially performed as on YCDTOSA Volume VI.

MUDD CLUB- Essentially performed as on YAWYI, with the standard deviation coming in Frank's middle of the song tirade. While this middle section varied only slightly from the scripted album version, Frank did occasionally alter the lyrics to comment on an audience member, or happenings in the band.

MUDSHARK- Due to overwhelming audience demand, Frank succombed to the ways of the masses and proceeded, once again, to sweep the ocean with this magnificent tale of rock 'n' roll debauchery. I have yet to hear this performance, but rumor has it (and his name is Pat Buzby) that it occurred only once on this tour- on 11/15.

OUTSIDE NOW- Essentially performed as on "Joe's Garage", with the standard deviation coming in Frank's solo. One of Ike's most consistently evocative singing spots.

PANTY RAP- Not an actual song, this title refers to the speech that Frank would frequently give at the beginning of shows urging female audience members to throw their underclothes onto the stage. This speech typically included Frank chewing out some male audience member who, without fail, would throw onto the stage some not requested male underwear.

PICK ME I'M CLEAN- Essentially performed as on "Tinseltown Rebellion", with the standard deviation coming in Frank's frequently ferocious and oft-overlooked solo. Towards the end of the tour, this tune evolved into a Mini- Monster, with the "Torture" sound effects accompanying Frank's solo (i.e. the moaning girl), a little extra Barrow action, and even some Wagner just to be safe. One of the continual highlights of the tour, regardless of what stage in the tour it appeared, and another of the 1980 tunes that should have been played more frequently ( the '88 performances are a disappointment to me- anyone else?). {Patrick Buzby has a bit more to add: "The versions from the first month of the spring '80 tour have a ballad feel much different from the released version - an interesting alternative. In May, it changed to a more upbeat version and FZ added the "Check out my bandaid!" line in the chorus. It continued this way until somewhere around November, when FZ made it even slower than it was originally (though without the ballad feel) and added the monkey business you describe. The Tinseltown version starts with arrangement #3 and cuts to arrangement #2 (thus the jump in tempo at "Vinnie goes bareback")".]

REPUBLIC AIRLINES- No idea what this refers to, but it is listed as a track for the 11/17 show. Anybody? [Jon Naurin wins again- "It's a jingle that Tommy & Vinnie wrote for the "Republic Airlines" company. They were going to present it for someone at the company the day after the 11/17 performance, and they wanted to try it out on the audience. Not a great piece of music - a typical jingle, 30 secs, unintelligible words."]

SHARLEENA- Essentially played as on YCDTOSA Volume III, allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation, and with the standard deviation coming in Frank's solo. This is one of Frank's better decisions- bringing this song back after 10 years, adding a guitar solo, and letting it terrorize setlists for the duration of the eighties. Good job.

SHALL WE TAKE OURSELVES SERIOUSLY?- Essentially played as on YCDTOSA Volume V, allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation (which in Ike's case, is a definite plus in the vocal department). Being its first tour out, this song seems to be lacking a certain oomph! this time round, though the singing is still impressive.

STICK IT OUT- Essentialy performed as on "Joe's Garage", with both the English and the German verses being sung.

SUICIDE CHUMP- Essentially performed as on YAWYI, with the standard deviation coming in the multitude of solos. I am not a big fan of this rotating solo format, as I believe that both Frank and his band are better adept at lengthier, more involved solos. The one highlight of this version, however, is Ray's typically scat-enhanced guitar solo, which at least starts things off on the right foot.

TEENAGE WIND- Essentially performed as on YAWYI.

TELL ME YOU LOVE ME- Essentially performed as on "Tinseltown Rebellion."

TINSELTOWN REBELLION- Essentially performed as on "Tinseltown Rebellion". Jon Naurin points out, however, that "For the first few shows of the tour, this was played in a proto-version (if you've heard the rehearsal version, you know what it sounds like), quite different from the song we know. Many of the musical deviations that make this song worthwhile were added later, and this version (especially the chorus) is quite boring."

TORTURE NEVER STOPS, THE- A true Monster on this tour. The song begins in the majestic manner of the YCDTOSA Volume I "Torture"- slow yet powerful, with Tommy playing a dominate role. The first two verses proceed as normal, with the band playing along more actively than on any other versions. A manic Vinnie, weird little bass fills, random Mars and Harris action- a lot of little extras that give this version a jumpy, hyperactive feel, despite the typically slow speed. We get the "sprechstimme" version of verse three (i.e. "The Dangerous Kitchen" effect), before returning to a normal chorus. Then, we get the Solo Section. Frank starts things off with a typically break neck and quite out of control guitar solo. This is not your typical, epic-sounding "Torture" solo. This is a beast of an almost heavy metal nature. After Frank solos at length, we get a keyboard solo- courtesy of Tommy Mars- which eventually dissolves into an always interesting and quite funky drum workout. Then, to top off this already too delicious dessert, Frank takes another solo, starting from scratch a la "Yo Mama", allowing the band to slowly pick up steam behind him. Then, in a more "Torture"-like fashion, Frank slowly builds a more patient guitar solo, before heading back into "Torture" proper once he's left us stunned and reeling. An excellent reworking of a classic tune, and possibly the highlight of the tour.

TRUCKDRIVER DIVORCE- A one-time only on this tour performance, that I have yet to hear. From the 10/13 show. Anybody want to deliver us the goods on this one? I'll keep an eye on your wife while you do. [Patrick Buzby writes: I suspect that "Truck Driver Divorce" and "Drowning Witch" from fall '80 were just "sprechgesang" versions, though I haven't heard the tapes." To which Jon Naurin replies- "Pat is correct - Truck Driver Divorce is just another meltdown, accompanied by Vinnie, Artie and Tommy. A few differences in the lyrics, e.g "Some times when you're not home, somebody's brother-in-law is pooching your homie.". Why somebody's brother-in-law?!"]

WATERMELON IN EASTER HAY- Essentially performed as on "Joe's Garage", with the standard deviation coming in Frank's solo. Again, this is one that must be listened to, and not read about.

YOU ARE WHAT YOU IS- Essentially performed as on YAWYI, minus Ray White's vocal gymnastics in the second half of the song. For me, it is this performance of Ray's that makes this song interesting, and without it, the tune is reduced to nothing more than mediocre Zappa.

YOU DIDN'T TRY TO CALL ME- Essentially performed as on YCDTOSA Volume I, allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation. [Jon Naurin calls me on this one- "Guess this seemed like a safe assumption to make, but in fact it isn't true. This song was performed as nowhere else - full of weird vocal interjections, especially from Bob Harris. The "Tell me, tell me who's loving you now" part consists of some freaky drums from Vinnie, with Bob singing the vocals in extreme falsetto, and very "sporadic". He also delivers the "All you got to do..." in inimitable style. Quite a fascinating arrangement, impossible to describe, but somewhat remniscent of the vocal chaos in "Fine Girl". Apparently, FZ wasn't too happy with it, as this song was only played at the first few shows to my knowledge."]


Patrick Buzby sez...

Not my favorite tour (for some reason this band seemed to have a flabby, arena-rock feel at times, and Steve Vai and Bob Harris seem to have been underemployed), but notable for Vinnie's drumming, which makes his earlier efforts appear conservative by comparison. It's as if he was trying to play everything Logeman left out, or maybe he knew this would be his last chance to show these chops. In any case, he pushes FZ into some of his most avant-garde solos (listen to "Hog Heaven" or the Tinseltown "Easy Meat"). This tour also saw the introduction of sprechgesang, best exemplified by"The Blue Light." Consider that there was only a three-month gap between the previous tour and this one and you may get a sense of how fast FZ's mind was working in this period.

Kip Brown sez...

I saw FZ on this tour...South Bend, Indiana, 11/14/80. Still have the ticket stub! I would not consider the performance "flabby" by any means! At the time I was only 15 years old, and I had been listening to Zappa for about four years! (Yes, I got my first taste of FZ at age 11!) I had all the Verve albums, a lot of the seventies stuff, and "Joe's Garage", but had never picked up any of the other recent stuff, like "Sheik Yerbouti", hence, a lot of it was unfamiliar to me, so don't ask me about specific songs. There were some older tunes, and my family was wondering if FZ would play "Catholic Girls", since the concert was at Notre Dame University arena, which happens to be a catholic university. He didn't play the whole song, but he did alude to it a couple of times. There was also a very tense moment when someone threw a glow-stick on the stage, and Frank warned everyone not to throw anything else on stage or they would quit playing! Yikes! The thing I remember most were the guitar solos! Frank opened the concert with a guitar solo (song unknown), and kept going back for more! The one I remember most came during "The Torture Never Stops"...FZ took his sunburst finish Les Paul, walked up and stood on the edge of the drum riser, and played what seemed like a twenty minute guitar solo! I just sat there in my seat, totally stunned! Finally after a while I realized that I had been sitting there, jaws agape for sometime, but I couldn't stop watching! He did three encores! It was incredible, and, unfortunately, the only time I would ever see Frank play live. I guess this is why I don't enjoy reading much negative commentary about this tour, because, whether it was "critically" determined to be a good, bad or indifferent tour, it will be "the best" in my memories. And I would DIE to have a tape of this show! It's odd because tapes exist for the show the night before (Pittsburg) and a night or two after, but not for this one. In fact, Miles' "Zappa, A Visual Documentary" book doesn't even list this show!

E-mail Me Here