Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Zappa Plays Zappa, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall 26 July 2010

A very different gig in many ways from the ZPZ gig I attended last year. The HMV Picture House is a small standing-only venue in Edinburgh: the GRCH is a big modern concert hall in Glasgow. It wasn't sold out, though it was quite well-filled downstairs at least. I suspect some folk arrived late: the concert ran from 1930 - 2200 with no support and no interval. (Actually it started and ended about ten minutes late anyway.)

This time round there were fewer of the big crowd-pleasers and a lot of numbers I didn't know. Dweezil described this tour as having a "grooving kind of vibe", and he was obviously taking pleasure in doing material from a wide variety of albums and eras. The musicianship, I need hardly add, was impeccable all round, with special mention for Scheila Gonzalez and Billy Hulting, the former for her impeccable precision on the vocals for "Montana" (if you know the track you'll understand) and the latter for channelling his inner Ruth Underwood, and then some.

Best moments: (1) Gonzalez and Hulting duetting on "Big Swifty" - pure rock chamber music (2) Dweezil responding to an audience request by playing the first 15 seconds or so of Eddie Van Halen's "Eruption" in what is probably the greatest demonstration of guitar virtuosity I've ever seen, and all without breaking sweat.

Here's the full line-up:

Dweezil Zappa: Guitar
Sheila Gonzalez: Saxophones, Flute, Keyboards & Vocals
Pete Griffin: Bass
Billy Hulting: Percussion
Jamie Kime: Guitar
Joe Travers: Drums & Vocals
Ben Thomas: Trumpet, Harmonica & Vocals
Chris Norton: Keyboards & Vocals

And here's the setlist, more or less:

Big Swifty
T'mershi Duween
Easy Meat
Daddy, Daddy, Daddy
What Kind of Girl Do You Think We Are?
Eruption (van Halen) (excerpt)
Blessed Relief
The Blue Light
Latex Solar Beef/Willie The Pimp/drum solo
Advance Romance
Lonely Little Girl
Pick Me, I'm Clean
Little House I Used To Live In
Mud Shark
City Of Tiny Lites
Yo Mama


Florentine Pogen
Peaches En Regalia
Keep It Greasy

And here they are, recorded a couple of weeks ago on the same tour in Amsterdam, doing T'mershi Duween and Easy Meat:

And in homage to the second Z of ZPZ, here is the late and lamented Frank conducting the Ensemble Modern in "G-Spot Tornado" (with dancers). Surely one of the most exhilarating pieces one could hope to play.


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