The Fall 1980 marathon continues. This is the first show, so far, that has not yet made the lossless circuit - my copy is a nice sounding 256kbps mp3, but I shan't let that get in the way of my enjoyment, I promise.
The show is joined at the end of Chunga's Revenge - seems like someone figured they'd arrive at the show fashionably late. So not much to write about for the opening solo.
Tell Me You Love Me has an especially juicy tone to the guitar - aggro and wah-drenched. The song itself is played slower than usual, and the verses sound a little unsure, though Vinnie's doing his freaky best to convince the listener otherwise. From here the band plays a long run of shorter, vocal-oriented numbers: Cosmik Debris (same as always), Keep It Greasy (energetic, but the same as always), Tinseltown Rebellion (the "demo" rock n' roll version, with a mid-song drum-and-bass breakdown and chanted refrain - nice), The (insufferably over-long) Dangerous Kitchen, and finally, Honey Don't You Want a Man Like Me, which beings a merciful end to this string of songs.
The next third, starting with Pick Me I'm Clean, is the meat of the show. Pick Me I'm Clean features a typically fret-burning solo, though none of the weirdness that showed up in Phoenix. The counterpoint to the problems of over-eager French groupies, of course, is the Dead Girls of London. Tonight's performance has a nice little metal soloette over the raveup, which leads us to Shall We Take Ourselves Seriously, which is at least shorter than most of the straightforward songs.
City of Tiny Lites has an especially fun solo - Zappa abandons the vamp (as is typical for this tour) and ends up noodling with a quiet, reflective, Squirm-esque piece, with overtones of Octandre (though no overt quotes as such) - atypical for this song. Finally, Zappa decides to leave this fucking ballad shit behind, and freaks out to conclude the solo.
Twice now, this show takes the "it's over THEERRRREEE" finale, and destroys the energy - first with the segue into the solo (this I can live with), and then by following City of Tiny Lites with Truck Driver Divorce (which I cannot). Frank seems in a particuarly fuck-all frame of mind with this song, and a lot of the nuances that would be evident in later renditions are completely lacking from this. Thankfully, it's shorter than The Dangerous Kitchen, and leads into the second (and, unfortunately, final) circulating copy of You Didn't Keep the Song Straight, Nor Did You Try To Call Me. It's played virtually the same as it was in Albuquerque, aside from one little off the cuff remark ("serious kind of guy...")Zappa makes while holding the band in the silence in the midst of the "just to wait ( ) for your call" lyric. It's a criminal shame that this arrangement wasn't played again - it's both musical and weird, poppy and yet ages well - sort of a "We're the Mothers and this is what we sound like" statement that would have made a nice post-opening solo opening song.
I Ain't Got No Heart completes the doo-wop break, with a pretty rough sounding tape cut. The best thing about this song (besides the keyboards of Tommy Mars) is that on this tour, it always leads into...
The Torture that Never Stops. And oh what a sweet song this always is on this tour - while other years Tortures could occasionally be a bit non-descript, this tour's is anything but. Tonight's version features some nice guitar work - but compared to other Tortures from this tour, this is almost inconsequential. That's not saying much, of course - it's still a sweet solo. We also get a bluesy bass solo, and a brief drum solo before Frank finishes the solo section with a blistering second solo. Dungeon of despair, indeed.
This still being the early days of the tour, Torture leads to Flakes and Magic Fingers, instead of Broken Hearts Are For Assholes. Flakes features some slight secret wordage ("Wanna buy some nachos, Bob?"), and Magic Fingers is enjoyable and brief. I'm So Cute is brief but nice to hear, and Andy gives us the last guitar solo of the night (as well as four seconds of ugly digital clicking on the mp3 copy I have), a typically orgasmic, ethreal Andy endeavour.
The encores are a long string of vocal numbers - Joe's a Dancing Fool and Doesn't Want to Get Drafted, like Bobby Brown and Ms. Pinky. Frank mentions before Joe's that "one of the guys" had some food poisoning and needed oxygen backstage (who??).
Seems like the club owner took offense at Frank's comment that the Armadillo needed some air conditioning, as this was the last time FZ and the boys graced this venue. (see below for Pat's response to this)
All in all, the guitar solos aren't at all bad, and if this is the only chance someone has to hear the Fall 80 tour, it's better than nothing - but I'd place it in the bottom tier of shows. The rather boomy nature of the tape copy I have doesn't help it much either. In the end, a City of Tiny Lites guitar solo and a bass solo in Torture do not a great show make.
Maybe it was the food poisoning, maybe it was the heat, or maybe it was just the way they was raised. For whatever reason, I'd save my money and not go to this show.
The tour would get much better from here...
Last edited by Zappa Penguin on 2010-01-02 21:31; edited 2 times in total