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1980 05 27 Bremen, Germany  
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Post 2008-02-01 20:23   [Quote] 
1980 05 27 Bremen 124.50 Aud (drew51-flambay)
1980 05 27 Bremen 124.50 Aud source2 (Chunga's Revenge)

Zappa's played a lot of songs over the course of a lot of shows in a lot of different locations with a lot of supporting band members. Take this show, for instance. The show's in Bremen, which is apparently in Germany, and the band supports Zappa and plays songs and the best of these songs is Easy Meat, which is basically two minutes of song, followed by a ten minute incredible goddamn guitar solo, followed by the conclusion of the song, followed by seeking back to the beginning of the song and listening to that guitar solo once more. How to even describe this one? Well, let's start with liberal use of new paragraphs, if only to prevent this description from turning into a total block of text!

Like most vampless Easy Meat solos, it starts off calm and reflective. Zappa floats around in pretty composer-land for a bit, then all of a sudden encounters a nasty low level jetstream which sends him down into sinister-mode. Being the master pilot he is, Frank manages to pull himself back up by making a small sacrifice to the angry gods of the low-note-flurry, appeasing them and allowing himself to once more sail in the land of the high and poignant.

The angry gods of the low-note-flurry, however, are not permanantly satiated, and, after sensing a momentary pause in energy, grab him once more and taunt his airy ambitions with a repeated, ominious rumbling. Much like the boaters in Jaws, Frank remains oblivious, as the ominious rumbling evolves to a heart-rumbling, two-note theme. The sailings of pilot Frank and the dark underbelly of the undertow continues for a while, slowly merging, then suddenly erupt in a phrase that's at once high in pitch, yet far from airy - desperate, in fact, is the word for it. Frank realizes that his plane is suddenly out of his control, flying violently beyond his airline-approved path, the yoke buckling and shuddering in his hands as he desperately tries to sail up and over - or across and to the side - or, fuck that, how about underneath - this wall of turbulent, atmospheric doom.

Passengers clutch at their hearts, their heads, each other, howling, screaming - unwilling, perhaps even unable, to meet their respective makers. We hear the angry gods merged with Frank, mocking his desperate call for immediate assistance from Air Traffic Control - we see the faces of the white-knuckled passengers, their screams giving way to the terrified resolve of fate - we see the plane getting lower, lower, the plane and gods and guitar almost inaudible but then - but then! - out of nowhere, the dark rumblings explode in an angry - but communicative, at least - statement of fact, their purpose clear: they wish Frank's plane on the ground.

Frank, not content with the terms as presented, makes a counter-offer:

"Let me fly", he says. "I wish to fly, I wish to rise, I wish to soar in the air. I wish to ride higher and even higher, I wish to float like a bird, to gracefully climb, to sail, and, yes, to land - but of my own accord, in my own time and by my own free will. I will join thee, Gods of the Ground, of the Low, of the - yes - Angry, Low-Note-Flurry - but only when I am ready. That moment will come, but can you not understand - can you not see - that moment is not now, for I am living, I am breathing, I am thinking, I am feeling. In short, I am HUMAN. And as a human, I am subject to the whims of humanity, the insistent urges of the human soul. Be it a mere whim of consciousness, be it the desires of the heart, or be it the temptation of the flesh itself: I am flying, and wish to remain as such".

Or words to that effect.

The gods, upon hearing this, respond first with a low, sinister rumbling of laughter, and we can see Frank's throat bulge momentarily in a single nervous gulp - but then the rumbled laughter ends with a rumbled pun and a rumbled wink and a rumbled finger against the nose, and in the blink of an eye, the darkness disappears, and pilot Frank and his plane find themselves right at the familiar altitude of their typical landing approach. Frank and passengers are momentarily befuddled, then slightly miffed (being cheated out of the floating, the flying, and the sailing of mid-flight) - yet it is, of course, a happy, secretly-grateful miffedness. Just as Frank aligns the nose with the runway, the plane lurches downward and we sense the return of the gods - or was it just Frank, hiding a grin as he purposefully gives the yoke a quick, undisciplined shove, sending the plane into a downward plunge lasting less than a single heartbeat - just enough to widen the eyes of his passengers, and prompt a grinning, relieved "you jerk" directed at him from them? Fade out on this question, and let the remaining minute of the song serve as a reminder that the previous ten minutes have passed in the blink of an eye - or would, had we not been so devoted to the movie of our mind's eye.

In summary: It's a fucking -good- solo.

As if that solo isn't enough, the Pick Me solo is almost as excellent (the gods of the low-note-fury making their presence known by way of a downright poppy little riff), and Pound for a Brown, City of Tiny Lights, Bamboozled by Love Chunga's Revenge Outside Now Illinois Enema Bandit may be mere footnotes to the heart-pounding drama of Easy Meat, but, hey, it's like being a footnote to "Passaic Late". Even with the inevitable filler that comes between these highlights, this is a superb show, presented here in not one but two versions, from not one but two different sources. While the Chunga's Revenge source is listed as the "second source", these ears violently prefer its richness to the more clear, but also more treblely, soundscaping of the Drew51 source. But let not these ears be your lord and master - you have the freedom of choice, and may choose either source at any time for your listening gratification - as well you otter.
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