Gig review: Zappa plays Zappa
ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA ***** GLASGOW ROYAL CONCERT HALL
THE last time a Zappa played Glasgow, it was 1977 at the Apollo, a mere stone's throw away from this very venue. Some 33 years on, Frank's son, Dweezil, carries the torch for his brand of pop, though with more than 80 albums to choose from, the set-list was never going to please every Zappaphile in attendance.
From big band bravado (Big Swifty), to tales of backstage groupie smut (Daddy Daddy Daddy) to instrumental madness (The Little House I Used To Live In) to insane stunt guitar complexity (Echidna's Arf), the Zappa back catalogue is so varied it's little wonder Dweezil rehearses for 40 hours-plus per week. But this punishingly strict regime has ensured that the Tour De Frank band is the probably the tightest outfit you've ever heard in your life.
The performance of Blessed Relief – an "air-sculpture" Frank never got to record – was a rare gem, as was the little snippet of Van Halen's Eruption, Dweezil indulging the request, and taking the opportunity to show off some of the freeze-dried noodling his dad so hated in mid-1980s guitar gods.
Meanwhile, singer Ben Thomas has Frank's vocal chords down pat; his elasticated rambling on Pick Me I'm Clean giving him the chance to mention Billy Connolly in a Zappa tune for the first time.
Such attention to detail over 150 minutes can be tiring, so some members of the band stopped to limber up and do some stretches during the show. And when one kind lady decided to show off her own chest exercises at the front of the stage, it truly was like the Frank Zappa concert days of old.
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