The Bizarre World of Frank Zappa
Increasingly, I find myself going to shows of artists who are now...of a certain age. However, it�s a first for me to go to a show of someone who�s...well...dead.
Technology and commerce have combined forces to take the first tentative steps towards touring immortality. There have been a number who�ve had a holographic makeover, and the latest to �come to light� is the great Frank Zappa.
I thought long and hard beforehand. Is this the thin end of the wedge, heralding the end of truly live music in theatres? Will future �concert goers� simply pull on a virtual reality headset to view equally virtual artists playing computer generated Muzak created by 12 year old techies sitting in their bedrooms? Chilling.
If nothing else, I�d get to see some of Frank�s former partners in crime, playing great music. Plus, despite reservations, I�m curious.
Judging by tonight�s attendance, many people must have still been thinking long and hard, the hall being barely half full.
The stage itself is dominated by what resembles a huge fireplace, with the equipment for three musicians squeezed in on either side of it. As it transpires, imagery and animations are projected on the sides and above the inset, with the more elaborate holographic projections taking place within the �fireplace� itself.
I had a preconceived notion that �Frank� would be �present� throughout, as if it were a concert. He isn�t, and is only there �playing� for parts of a few numbers. There�s a complete assault of the senses from the masses of animations, films and Frank related characters served up which are both interesting and mind bending, but a regular concert it is not. When we do get �Frank�, it�s...clever, but for me it�s just not quite there yet. The hologram appears ever so slightly blurry/indistinct. Frank looks a little �chunky�. Also, given the hologram was based on footage from 1974, he�s out of sync with his surroundings.
The band don�t disappoint. Razor sharp, confident. Whilst I expected them to be good, they are...spectacularly so...each and every one of them. The music itself is...fabulous.
Towards the end, Ahmet imposes himself on us all for a bit of �audience participation�. Something Frank used to partake in. Not sure he got crowd members to join in with him doing conga lines & knee slides though. For me, a slightly �uncomfortable� section of the show.
I�ve never accused Frank of being normal or predictable, and it seems he�s the same even after death. This is, largely, a celebration of Frank. The music is great, but it�s certainly not Frank in concert, and is more a very technically advanced cinema screening attempting to create a window into the wild and creative mind of the genius, the late, great Frank Zappa.
Cynics will say it�s a �money grab�, wringing a bit more out of the legacy. The flip side? It must have been a sizeable investment, perhaps suggesting more than a slither of integrity. Even having seen it, I can�t decide, and whilst I�m pretty sure I enjoyed it, I can certainly understand Dweezil�s viewpoint from his side of the fence.
S101 Cosmik Debris
S103 Trouble Every Day
S104 Penguin In Bondage
S106 Band Intros
S107 The Evil Prince
S108 Zomby Woof
I N T E R V A L
S202 Why Does It Hurt When I Pee
S203 Peaches En Regalia
S204 Stink Foot
S205 Father O'Blivion
S206 The Dangerous Kitchen
S207 Dinah-Moe Humm
S208 City Of Tiny Lights
S209 Dead Girls Of London/Ahmet Zappa/Crowd Participation
S210 Dirty Love
S211 Encore Break
S213 Camarillo Brillo
Frank Zappa: guitar and vocals
Ray White: guitar & vocals
Mike Keneally: guitar & vocals
Scott Thunes: bass
Robert Martin: sax and keyboards
Ed Mann: vibes and percussion
Joe Travers: drums
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Continue to enjoy Frank's huge body of work. It's a better day with a bit of Frank in it.