Frank Zappa: 4/18/1980

This was my one and only time seeing the great Frank Zappa. He was playing two shows at the Sunrise Musical Theatre, and my friend Mark and I had tickets to the late show, which was starting at 11:30 pm. Zappa at midnight just seems appropriate.

The lineup for this tour was:

  • Frank Zappa
  • Ike Willis
  • Ray White
  • Arthur Barrow
  • David Logeman
  • Tommy Mars

We were pretty young at the time, and neither of us had a car, so we had to negotiate rides from the parental units. This proved somewhat challenging, but after some finagling, we got it worked out.

At the time, I liked Zappa, but was not a huge fan. I only owned one of his albums: “Roxy & Elsewhere,” but I liked the record a lot and it spent a lot of time on my turntable. But seeing Frank live, I realized just how frighteningly awesome a guitarist he was. He just came out on stage and unleashed an avalanche of intricate guitar work that frankly made my jaw drop (pun intended). And even though he didn’t play anything from the Roxy album, the show was excellent and started me down the path of really appreciating Zappa’s musical genius.

Here’s the setlist. Rock on!

Setlist:

  • Chunga’s Revenge
  • Keep It Greasey
  • Outside Now
  • City Of Tiny Lights
  • A Pound For A Brown (incl. Louie Louie, q: Inca Roads, I Love Lucy theme, Mo ‘N Herb’s Vacation)
  • Cosmik Debris
  • You Didn’t Try To Call Me
  • I Ain’t Got No Heart
  • Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up
  • He Used To Cut The Grass (with vocals!)
  • Easy Meat
  • Mudd Club
  • The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing
  • Heavenly Bank Account
  • Dancin’ Fool
  • Bobby Brown
  • Black Napkins

Grandmothers of Invention: 8/11/2012

Grandmothers_8-11-12

This was a really cool show, featuring members of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention. I had seen Zappa many years ago, and he was great, but as my musical tastes developed and expanded, my appreciation for his music grew.

For those of you who have never been to Asheville, the Grey Eagle is a small venue, basically a bar which also serves some food. But the vibe there is great. So needless to say, I had seats quite close to the stage with my friends Bill and Robert.

Musically, this band was incredible. Napoleon Murphy Brock was brilliant as the front man, chatting up the crowd, making jokes, dancing up a storm, and directing the music. They had a young guitarist who looked a lot like Frank and he was scary good on the guitar. But for me, it was Don Preston on the keyboards who stole the show. He was getting ready to turn 80 and he looked and sounded great. Not only was he all over the keyboards, playing incredibly intricate music, but he also performed magic tricks on stage, much to the delight of the audience. And if that wasn’t enough, he took out hi iPhone, opened a synthesizer app, and played a killer solo on his phone. It was impressive… most impressive.

The band returned to the Grey Eagle again the following year, and I went to see them again, convincing my brother (a long-time Zappa fan) to drive out to Asheville for the show. But that’s another stub and another story.

Here’s a video clip that my friend Robert took.