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1975 04 11 (L) Claremont, CA  
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Post 2008-02-01 20:14   [Quote] 
1975 04 11 Late Claremont CA 117.23 aud (Hoosac92-kristoftof)

Those of you familiar with those little devils known as "home computers" may have memories of a little devil known as "Microsoft Windows 95". While it offered us a tantalizing glimpse into a world free of the horrors of conventional memory, upper memory, extended memory, and, yes, even expanded memory, it ultimately proved to be rather, shall we say, buggy and unstable. Microsoft Windows 95 soon begat Microsoft Windows 98 in much a same way that the early show, which (even as it proved ultimately unsatisfying) offered us a tantalizing glimpse of a brand new band and tour, begat the late show, which - much like Windows 98 - is an altogether more stable, even if a few leaps shy of "perfect", experience.

The setlist is pretty much the same as the early show (making this a relative rarity - most early/late companions from Zappa outside of Fall 1977 were like the proverbial night and the adverbial day), yet this show delivers the energy, the excitement - perhaps even, yes, the enthusiasm - so blatantly lacking in the previous show.

Lest we expect any of the aforementioned energy, excitement, and/or enthusiasm to leak into this review, allow your attention to be re-directed to an earlier statement: I find this tour tricky like DAMN to write about. With that now re-stated, and expectations back at a healthy minimum, let's proceed. The Preamble is nearly identical to that of the early show - three minutes of the Token of my Extreme vamp, which, as far as vamps go, certainly isn't too offensive. This - surprisingly enough! - leads into Token of my Extreme, which is pretty much the same tonight as always. Pretty notes, but a far cry from the Tush Tush Tush madness of 1974. Stinkfoot is the first real language-worthy moment - an excellent solo that probably sounds even better on the vault copy (assuming, of course, that a copy of this show is in the vault), but even on this distant, fairly-hissy-but-still B- audience recording (FZShows has it listed as a "C", making this even more criminally under-rated than the early show) it goes enough places to hold our interest.

What may well be the highlight of the entire tour follows next - Frank Zappa instructs the band to disregard the "official" setlist, and skip the utterly overplayed "I'm Not Satisfied", much to the frustration of the audience. Fret not, dear Claremontians, I'm Not Satisfied would return later on in the year, and, honestly now, it's nothing you haven't heard before. But tonight, thankfully, we are taken straight into Carolina Hardcore Ecstasy, complete with another delicious guitar-lead exploration into the land of instrumental festivities (in other words, solos on guitar and either keyboards or effects-pedal-laden slide guitar with hyperactive drums throughout, along with Beefheart screaming to GET UP!, which apparently - judging from what little we can hear of Frank's off-mic commentary - goes over a little too well with an excited audience. Frank restores order without the band skipping a beat, and before too long we find ourselves chilling out in the Velvet Sunrise.

The rest of the show is pretty much like a Director's Cut Special Edition of the early show - same songs, basically, but the good parts (read: solos) are longer, and the bad parts (read: Demoguese Lunar Landing) is nearly 1/3rd shorter. Echidna's Arf has an utterly spooky keyboard solo, we get another Don freakout in Don't You Ever Wash That Thing, and Advance Romance is nice and bluesy (and features some Don poetry). After the shorter (and altogether tighter) version of Lunar Landing mercifully cuts out, the rest of the show is from a vinyl source, which may be a bit more clear, but suffers from a lot of annoying clicks and pops - fret not, your decoder is not malfunctioning. By the time the debut performance of The Torture Never Stops comes around, the surface noise has subsided somewhat, allowing Frank's college degree monologue to come through loud and clear.
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