SETLIST- Opening solo-> 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, Warren's Story-> Nancy's Story-> Dinah-Moe Humm-> Go Cry On Somebody Else's Shoulder-> Little Rubber Girl-> Idiot Bastard Son-> Bobby Brown-> Conehead-> Suicide Chump-> Little House I Used To Live In-> Watermelon in Easter Hay-> Stinkfoot-> Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance-> Peaches III-> Strictly Genteel-> Sofa #2-> Packard Goose-> Magic Fingers-> Don't Eat the Yellow Snow Suite-> Camarillo Brillo-> Muffin Man-> Black Napkins-> The Deathless Horsie
APPROXIMATE TIME- 3 hours and 45 minutes
OFFICIAL RELEASES- Opening Solo (as "Ancient Armaments"), on B-side of "I Don't Wanna Get Drafted" single; FZ's Thirteen solo (w/approx. two minutes edited out), on YCDTOSA Volume VI; "Little Rubber Girl", on YCDTOSA Volume IV; "Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance" (slightly edited), on YCDTOSA Volume VI
OPENING SOLO (Ancient Armaments) (5:11)- This solo was released as the B-side to the original "I Don't Wanna Get Drafted" single. It is not the best opening solo of the run, but what really makes it work is its calm yet intense feeling. Frank does not really freak out as he does during other openings, but instead creates a slow, methodical, yet disturbed masterpiece. One expects complete mayhem at the beginning of the Big One, but Frank being Frank, he does not give us that. He throws us a curve ball right away, and starts the show with a dense, emotion filled workout that shows us a glimpse into the darker side of Halloween.
DANCIN' FOOL (4:27)
EASY MEAT (4:51)- FZ solo, 2:10; This is not one of Frank's best "Easy Meat" solos of the run, but it is enjoyable thanks to the loose, rather swinging nature of it.
HONEY DON'T YOU WANT A MAN LIKE ME? (5:32)- "Do you want me to play a show or sign autographs?", Frank asks after being continuously pestered for autographs during the early portion of this show. The audience wisely chooses the former.
KEEP IT GREASY (3:05)
THE MEEK SHALL INHERIT NOTHING (3:28)
CITY OF TINY LITES (10:00)- Denny Walley slide solo, 3:14; FZ solo, 1:35; Frank cuts short what should have been the best "City" of the run. Denny's solo is great, thanks to some amazing O'Hearn bass playing which jumps out at the listener in a way that it normally does not during this song. The transition from Denny to Frank is beautifully heavy and chaotic, with the two guitarists clashing in mid-flight before Frank takes over. During his solo, Frank goes to the effects and plays some "Ship Ahoy" tinged runs that cause the spine to tingle. Sadly, though, he pulls the plug during what should be the middle of the solo, and disappointment sets in. There are a couple great minutes here, but there should have been more.
POUND FOR A BROWN (20:15)- Ed Mann solo, 1:44, cut short by tape flip; Shankar solo, 3:03; FZ solo, 4:08; LS/FZ duel, 4:35; keyboard solos, 5:02; Probably not Shankar's best solo, probably not Frank's best, but without a doubt the best LS/FZ duel of the run. Unlike the other shows where Shankar and Frank actually trade licks, here they just solo as normal, playing over, under, and through each other. Chaotic yet musical. When this duel starts to peak, Frank eases into the Thirteen vamp, restablishing that groove and continuing his battle with Shankar while they both toy with the Thirteen melody. Wolf begins his solo at this point, but is unable to get a solid groove going thanks to Frank's random yet wicked rhythm work. Frank abandons Thirteen and starts playing some angular, King Crimson-ish lines, and then abandons that for some heavy, somewhat out-of-place chords. All the while, Wolf is trying his best to play his solo, with the result being a very interesting clash of music. This performance eventually winds down with a laid-back Mars' solo that slowly fades into silence. One "why does he make these decisions" note: Frank's guitar solo on the YCDTOSA "Thirteen" is an edited version of the solo from this show. While the solo we get on that official release is worthy, the full length version is so much better, culminating in the insane LS/FZ duel. Imagine a world where Frank did not include yet another version of "Trying to Grow A Chin", but gave us the full-length "Thirteen" instead. Just imagine.
WARREN'S STORY (Ms. X) (8:14)- This is sort of like "Lisa's Life Story" on quaaludes, told by a Brooklyn boy. To the almost non-existent accompaniment of the band, as being conducted by Frank, Warren Cuccurulo tells the supposedly true story of a "Crying Game"-type encounter he had with a person name Ms. X. "And the more I rubbed it, the harder it got...bigger and harder it got", and so goes what should have been the end of the story. But it goes on way too long, and is not all that amusing. But it is much better than...
NANCY'S STORY (4:54)- Nancy is the "Disco Boy" girl from the "Baby Snakes" movie (yes, you know the one), and she is invited onstage to reveal her sexual fantasies to all of New York- with musical accompaniment. In a nutshell, her fantasy involves Frank, a horse, the beach, and her- all nude (including the horse, I assume). Yes, it is as interesting as it sounds. The high point of this little ordeal is the cheesy "Blue Moon"-ish 50's vamp that the band rides during Nancy's spiel.
DINAH-MOE HUMM (5:12)- Dedicated to Nancy. Frank hurries through the spoken middle part, bringing it to a close with a mumbled, "So much for that ritual". Right on.
GO CRY ON SOMEBODY ELSE'S SHOULDER (2:05)
LITTLE RUBBER GIRL (3:10)- As performed here, this "song" is actually the ending to "Go Cry on Somebody Else's Shoulder". After the song ends, Frank gives us his greatest "low budget segue", and announces that the by-product of he and the Little Rubber Girl is, of course, the...
IDIOT BASTARD SON (2:35)- I enjoy this version much more than the NY #5 performance. Frank sounds more confident with his vocals, the band hurries through it an enjoyably brisk pace, and Arthur Barrow's cheesy acoustic guitar is not as noticeable.
BOBBY BROWN (2:47)
CONEHEAD (8:33)- L Shankar solo, 2:00, FZ solo, 2:38; Shankar, the Bionic Parrot, produces the first excellent solo, with O'Hearn once again amazing us with his bass playing. Then Frank, with his solo, plays as if there is no rhythm section, wailing away in complete oblivion to the rest of the band. Awesome. As his solo begins to wind down, Frank quickly picks up the energy level by tearing into the opening riff from...
SUICIDE CHUMP (11:09)- Denny Walley slide solo, 1:11, FZ solo, 4:05; This version begins with amazing potential, emerging out of "Conehead" at a mean and hungry pace. Unfortunately, Frank cuts into the momentum with his opening monologue, and then further reduces the intensity by slowing the song down midway through the first verse. We thus get a standard version of the official song, thankfully redeemed by a lengthy Frank solo which recaptures the energy that started to slip away.
LITTLE HOUSE I USED TO LIVE IN (17:21)- Mars' solo, 5:20; L Shankar solo, 2:02; L Shankar/Peter Wolf duel, 1:18; free for all with random soloists, 2:14; Vinnie solo, 4:13; This performance is arguably the best "Little House" performance of the run. The festivities begin with a patient and well built Mars' solo. Tommy spends over 2 minutes on the electric piano alone, taking his time and establishing a calm yet musically active mood. He eventually switches to synthesizer once Vinnie joins in, but still keeps things rather low-key for another minute. Finally, about 3 and a half minutes into his solo, Tommy begins to go a little crazy, and the pay-off is big thanks to his musical patience. Shankar's solo is over sparse musical accompaniment, with Vinnie going crazy in the background and Mars and Zappa painting some broad rhythmic textures. Things calm down for a bit while Wolf and Shankar trade lines, before the music builds to its hectic climax. O'Hearn comes to the fore with some funky bass playing, while Shankar and Zappa compete for lead rhythm player. Then the three of them start exchanging riffs, before Frank steps up and whips out some short bursts of ugliness. This craziness continues for just over two minutes before everyone shuts up and Vinnie takes control for his lengthy drum solo. An all-around impressive Monster performance.
WATERMELON IN EASTER HAY (13:18)- L Shankar solo, 1:26; FZ solo, 3:40; LS/FZ duel, 1:19; In contrast to the opening version from NY #5, this is a rather calm, straightforward performance of "Watermelon in Easter Hay". This is great, because this is exactly what this show needed- a no-nonsense, emotionally-tinged, solidly-performed instrumental. It is a sort of musical breather for both the band and the audience, but at the same time, is a fully realized, musically accomplished rendition of this guitar solo classic.
STINKFOOT (8:25)- FZ solo, 3:24; Before playing the tune, Frank tells the audience several times that the band never rehearsed this song, and that they are playing it because of a promise Frank made. After his many reminders of this fact, one expects a sub-par performance, but what we get is the exact opposite. The band sounds confident, Frank's solo is long and interesting, and one half of the Garrick Theater's Loeb and Leopold makes an appearance (this particular half- we never find out if its Loeb or Leopold- use to climb on stage, scream into the microphone, lie down on stage, and then ask Frank to spit Pepsi all over him. Sadly, Frank does not attempt to recreate these antics.)
TAKE YOUR CLOTHES OFF WHEN YOU DANCE (5:06)- The "twist 'n' surf" number. The band vamps along for :28 seconds prior to starting the actual tune (where the Stage version begins) in order to get use to the changes. Apart from this, approximately :30 seconds are further edited out of the official release.
PEACHES III (2:58)- The "Peaches III" part, i.e. the weird part towards the end that deems this III, sounds a lot weirder here than it does on "Tinseltown Rebellion". In case you were wondering.
STRICTLY GENTEEL (5:39)
SOFA #2 (2:44)
PACKARD GOOSE- (18:08)- L Shankar solo, 1:06, including tape flip; FZ solo, 1:24; LS/FZ duel, 9:14; The Climax. The Peak. The Big O. This is the performance of the show. Shankar's last hurrah. The battle of the fretboards. Damn is this good. The solo section starts off with what looks to be a disappointing development. Shankar's solo is short, FZ's solo is short, and then they start the duel. Over so soon? Hell no. This is a battle to the death, and neither is going to rest until the other admits defeat. The duel starts off with short blows- twenty seconds from Shankar, twenty seconds from Frank. This continues for awhile, but no damage is being done, so they both resort to a full frontal attack. Both soloists soloing like crazy, all over each other's slowly weakening carcasses. Shankar is managing to hold his own, but then, BAM!, one minute and thirty seconds of nothing but Frank. Where is Shankar? Is he down for the count? No, he bounces back, well-rested, challenging Frank for the lead, and what's this? Frank is down? It's all Shankar for about a minute. But Frank bounces back, takes over for awhile, before Shankar attempts his final coup. It is working, the playing is reaching dangerously intense levels, when it happens. Frank reaches deep into his bag of tricks, whips out a heavy, pseudo-Metallica riff, and beats Shankar into silence. The battle is over. But it appears as if there is no clear winner. Where did Frank go? Silence all around, so Vinnie returns us safely to "Packard Goose". The Big One of the Big One.
MAGIC FINGERS (2:35)- During the outros to "Packard Goose", Frank gets a good idea, "How about we pretend to go off stage, pretend that we return, play our encores, and when I say "the end", then that's the end?" The audience does not seem to get much say in this, so without any break whatsoever, "Magic Fingers" is the encore.
DON'T EAT THE YELLOW SNOW (2:22)
NANOOK RUBS IT (5:29)
ST. ALPHONSO'S PANCAKE BREAKFAST (1:51)
FATHER O'BLIVION (2:24)
ROLLO (2:30, including segue into "Camarillo Brillo"; the Whole Suite: 14:37)
CAMARILLO BRILLO (3:22)- There's a nice little train wreck at the tempo switch.
MUFFIN MAN (4:44)- FZ solo, 2:17; Smothers does the vocals, and the build up from this into Frank's actual solo is great. Once Smothers finishes, Frank plays the main riff for over a minute, allowing the intensity to build and build before he tears into his actual solo. Wicked.
BLACK NAPKINS (5:23, with tape cut....)- FZ solo, 3:54; This is a slightly disappointing ending to the show, and a horribly disappointing ending to the tape. We only get to hear the first four minutes of Frank's solo, and during those four minutes, not much happens. Frank's playing is typically good, but the solo as a whole does not go anywhere. At first, this seems promising as Frank appears to be taking his time and slowly creating another masterpiece. By the time the tape cut occurs, however, he sounds as if he is just treading water. Sadly, we will never know if he really was going anywhere, and whether he managed to redeem this rather lackluster beginning. A GREAT song choice, but from what we have on tape, not as successful a performance.
THE DEATHLESS HORSIE- In the summer of '98, tapes popped up that contained the actual conclusion to this fantastic show- a "Black Napkins-> Deathless Horsie" guitar orgy. I have not yet heard this amazing combo, but am working on acquiring the tape. So...But I do know that it is supposedly great.
Hopefully, it should be obvious by this point how I feel about this show. One of Frank's all time great performances, without a doubt. Excellent song choices, a well-paced show, wonderful contrast and relief, and, the icing on the cake, some of the most insane individual performances from each and every band member. O'Hearn and Colaiuta continue to devastate the rhythmic landscape (why did these two never tour together?), Mars' finally gets his chance to truly shine, and Shankar manages to amaze despite going head-to-head with the master himself. And Frank, well, Frank is simply Frank, and a damn good one at that. Yes, there are things I would change if I could (spread out the instrumentals after "Stinkfoot", put "Suicide Chump" to rest"), but that would be demanding just a little too much perfection. Even though I still think the Fall '74 band is the best, this show just may be as good as it gets.
The Goblin King (1st out of 6)