What's the deal
Welcome to FZShows 7.1, a list of all known Frank Zappa concert tapes.
This website is not about bootlegs, but about non-profit distribution of commercially unavailable unofficial recordings of Frank Zappa. These tapes (recorded from 1963 through 1992) have been lovingly collected, preserved, and freely distributed by a handful of Zappa fanatics and scholars around the world. The Zappa trading community also provided a large share of the information presented here and each and everyone of its members can't be thanked enough. A precursor of FZShows is the setlists of the "Touring can make you crazy" series by Axel Wünsch in the fanzine "T'Mershi Duween".
Live concerts are organized into band/tour pages. Two extra pages are included, listing the 1977-1987 pre-tour rehearsals (stage soundchecks/rehearsals are listed within the regular band/tour pages) and miscellaneous other commercially unreleased recordings (including demo versions of regular albums, stuff only broadcast on radio and other weird items).
FZShows is not a complete gig list but only a list of the shows known to have been unofficially recorded and that are circulating among collectors. For a nearly complete Frank Zappa gig list please visit Charles Ulrich's Frank Zappa Gig List.
Note that this is not a trade list. If you are interested in these recordings, please take a look at the trading section of this document and at the other links in the sidebar. Just remember: never pay for an unofficial Zappa recording and first buy the official releases.
This is a work in progress and we will be very grateful and happy for any kind of comments, additions and corrections you may provide.
The FZShows change-log has detailed info about FZShows updates.
General notes and key information
Date and venue
The date and venue of any single recording are listed as accurately as possible. However many of the dates and venues of the 1966 to 1971 era are very uncertain, and even for some of the later recordings the exact date and location are not absolutely certain.
Starting with FZShows v. 7.1 dates are listed with the international date format: YYYY-MM-DD.
Even now that most of the recordings listed here have been transferred to digital media, the length of a concert tape is a complicated issue, as it may vary according to the amount of audience noises included, speed correction applied, fills patched from a different source / recording, etc.
All lengths here are as accurate as possible, but they are all rounded to the nearest full five minutes: so if the particular digital incarnation of a recording is 87:35 it will be listed as 90 min, if it is 87:25 long it will be listed as 85 min.
For tapes that still don't have a digital trading version, the FZShows v. 6.0 length is used, also rounded to the nearest full five minutes.
In the case of different partial recordings containing different portions of the same show, the total running time of the combined sources is also given.
There are four different source types: audience tapes (Aud), soundboard recordings (SBD), radio or TV broadcasts (FM), and stage recordings by band or crew members (Stage). Where different source types exist for a concert, all of them are listed.
The sound is graded A, B, or C, often with a plus or minus. Many people prefer the EX/VG/G system, which is basically the same thing (A=EX etc.). A loose attempt at translating it into words might look something like:
|A+||About as good as an official release, probably mixed for radio, etc.|
|A||Perfect audience or low-generation soundboard recording.|
|A-||Very enjoyable listening.|
|B+||Quite good audience, or somewhat flawed soundboard recording.|
|B-/C+||May be irritating.|
Now, if there's one thing in this document that should be taken with a grain of salt, it's the sound rating. There are a number of reasons for this.
One, it's highly individual - some people love crisp soundboards with no echo or crowd noise, while others prefer the spacey ambience of a good audience recording. Also experience says that the newbie concert tape listener is more sensitive to rough sound, and may have a hard time listening to a B tape that more hardened ears find enjoyable.
Two, there may exist multiple audience recordings for one concert. Usually in this document is given only the grading of the best recording, unless there's a worse one that is more complete, in which case both are listed.
Three, the sound of a recording depends a lot on what generation the tape is, and the quality of the decks on which it has been previously dubbed and/or transferred to digital. A show that sounded A- originally may have become a B- by the time it reaches you, if you're unlucky.
Four, the human factor - ratings are a subjective matter and may be affected by a series of environmental and psychological factors.
Every song that is audible on the tape is listed, even if it's just a one-second snippet. Recording cuts during or between songs are not mentioned.
Songs that are quoted within another song and are not part of the regular arrangement can be listed in two ways:
|(incl. Lohengrin)||means that a segment of Lohengrin is somehow incorporated into the song;|
|(q: Lohengrin)||means that one or more of the instruments plays a shorter quote of Lohengrin.|
If you are unsure of what a song is, or wish to know more about it (writer, official releases, etc.) please visit the Román García Albertos' excellent FZ Songlist: we tried to maintain some consistency using song titles to match his list.
"???" denotes a song that hasn't been identified. Unidentified songs that appear at more than one show are listed as Mystery Songs - for explanations and sound clips of these, go at the mystery songs page.
Songs that were usually played in a special suite or medley (e.g. Yellow Snow Suite), and songs/routines that were always parts of other songs during a tour (e.g. Johnny Darling) are not listed. The contents of the medleys and the "songs within songs" can be found at the beginning of the tour, under "song properties".
If a song, or a solo, performed in a particular show has been released in a official Frank Zappa record you'll find, near the song title and [between square brackets], the acronym of the album title and, if different from what listed in the setlist, the song/solo title. Holding the mouse pointer over the acronym will show a little label with the full album title. For a full list of acronyms for FZ albums you can check the Alphabetical lists of acronyms for FZ's records and videos.
Information is also given if a particular show appears in one of the Beat The Boots albums or if it is available as video too.
The sidebar on the right of each band/tour page has the full FZShows pages index, a specific band/tour index and related links if you want to read more about the particular band/tour. These related links will take you outside FZShows.
Default related links include:
- The Zappateers tracker Catalogue at the Zappateers trading community,
- FZ Gig list and Bands line-up at Charles Ulrich's The Planet Of My Dreams,
- FZ Chronology and Videography at Román García Albertos' Information Is Not Knowledge,
- FZ tour pages at Jason "Foggy" Gossard's We're Only In It For The Touring,
- reviews of FZ concerts at The Frank Zappa Tape Reviewing Society.
All these web sites (and the others linked in the specific tour pages but not listed here) have been of great help in putting together and keeping updated the information contained in FZShows. We also want to mention the always alive alt.fan.frank-zappa newsgroup and the reliable Cosmik Debris by Greg Russo at Crossfire Publications. Thank you everybody.
Finally, you won't want to miss The Official Frank Zappa Website.