Progressive Nation Tour – featuring Dream Theater and Zappa Plays Zappa: 7/29/2009

This was a pretty cool show. As a guitarist, getting to see John Petrucci and Dweezil Zappa on the same night was inspiring.

I went with my friend and bandmate, Bill (who is a keyboardist/vocalist). We got to the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium early enough to catch the first of the four acts, a band called Scale the Summit. I was unable to determine whether they were good or not, because they were so loud and distorted, I could not make out any of the music. Now I’m not one to shy away from some loud rock and roll, but these dudes were just painful. We ended up hanging out in the lobby until they were done.

Next up was a band called Bigelf. Neither of us had heard of them before, but we were both impressed. Not only did they sound great, but they had amazing stage presence. I highly recommend checking these guys out if you have not heard them.

After Bigelf, Zappa Plays Zappa took the stage, and they were incredible. Dweezil is really able to pull off his dad’s intricate and complex music, and make it look effortless. Additionally, he had a large screen behind the stage, and during several songs, they had video and audio of Frank performing and the band accompanied the virtual performance. It was very cool, and a nice nod to his dad’s genius.

Topping off the evening was Dream Theater. I was enjoying them, but the grimace on my friend’s face let me know he did not find them as interesting as I did. While he conceded that Petrucci is a “frighteningly good guitarist,” he said the singer was too screamo and he found that irritating. A fair critique. I was not impressed by the singer, but I was not bothered either.

Anyway, here are the setlists from all except the opening act. Rock on!

Dream Theater Setlist:

  • A Nightmare to Remember
  • Constant Motion
  • Beyond This Life
  • Hollow Years
  • Keyboard Solo
  • Erotomania
  • Voices
  • The Count of Tuscany

Encore:

  • Metropolis Pt. 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper

Zappa Plays Zappa Setlist:

  • Peaches en Regalia
  • Inca Roads
  • Montana
  • Village of the Sun
  • Echidna’s Arf (Of You)
  • Magic Fingers
  • Carolina Hard-Core Ecstasy
  • The Black Page
  • A Pound for a Brown on the Bus
  • San Ber’dino
  • Willie the Pimp

Bigelf Setlist (from Atlanta):

  • The Evils of Rock & Roll
  • Neuropsychopathic Eye
  • Pain Killers
  • Blackball
  • Hydra

Dweezil Zappa: 10/31/2018

I had seen Dweezil a couple times before, and I had seen his dad, Frank Zappa. Which was why the last few times he came to town, I opted to pass. But this time—Halloween Night! That was something I could not pass up on.

I had bought tickets for me and my friend Dan to go. The Diana Wortham Theatre is a very small venue, so I bought tickets way in advance. We had good seats, second row balcony center, which affords a great view of the stage and excellent sound.

Halloween rolls around, and I get a text from Dan that he is at the hospital with his mom and not sure if he will be able to make it. Of course, I told him no worries, take care of what you need to do. Thankfully, his mom was alright and released after a few hours, so Dan texted me that he was still in and we would meet up before the show.

Since it was Halloween, I sported my Captain Kirk costume. Most of the crowd was also in costume, which added to the general freakiness. We got our seats, chatted for a bit, and then the lights went down and the band took the stage. All the band members except Dweezil were in costume, which was fun. They definitely were having a blast on stage, hamming it up, and of course, playing some incredible music. They played a loooooong time, a solid three hours. And the song selection was definitely worthy of the “Choice Cuts” tour name. They really dug deep into Frank’s vast musical repertoire. Definitely got my money’s worth.

Here’s a few pictures from the show, along with the setlist.

Setlist:

  • The Purple Lagoon (Intro)
  • Andy
  • Honey, Don’t You Want a Man Like Me?
  • Fifty-Fifty
  • Call Any Vegetable
  • Tell Me You Love Me
  • Absolutely Free
  • T’Mershi Duween
  • Dog Breath
  • Dog Meat
  • Sleep Napkins
  • The Black Page Drum Solo
  • The Black Page
  • Halloween – Movie Theme Music (John Carpenter cover)
  • The Torture Never Stops
  • Valley Girl
  • Pygmy Twylyte
  • King Kong
  • Suzy Creamcheese
  • Cocaine Decisions
  • Drowning Witch
  • Sleeping in a Jar
  • Florentine Pogen
  • Zoot Allures
  • Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow
  • Uncle Remus
  • This Town Is a Sealed Tuna Sandwich
  • Keep It Greasey
  • Joe’s Garage

Encore:

  • Oh, In the Sky
  • Cheepnis
  • Return of the Son of Orange County
  • Funky OC
  • Trouble Every Day