Aimee’s been a long time Frank Zappa fan. Not so for me. Quite honestly I’ve never really had much exposure to Frank’s music beyond the times Aimee’s playing it. Even then I guess I tend to notice only the more humorous lines and tunes from his work.
Tonight we went to the Zappa Plays Zappa show at the Paramount theater. Dweezil Zappa is taking his father’s music on the road in this show–both trying to give something back to existing fans and expose a younger audience to Frank’s music.
Initially I thought this would be one of those experiences that one tolerates but wasn’t really expecting much. I was more than pleasantly surprised.
Writing any kind of formal review would be impossible for me. My lack of familiarity with the Zappa catalog for starters would make it all but impossible for me to describe something as simple as the set list.
Still, as a music fan who enjoys a reasonably wide range of music, I have to say that this was one of the most entertaining 200 minutes I’ve spent in a concert venue. There wasn’t a single time during the more than three hours of constant music I felt like leaving.
The musicianship on display alone was worth the price of admission. Sure it was rock so it was loud but it was top shelf quality through and through.
And in some ways it isn’t fully accurate to say this was rock. Zappa’s music is really a mixture of genres that includes jazz, pop, rock, classical and more. There’s often a rich musical texture behind the main thrust of any song.
In an article about the show, the rehearsals for this show are described as a “musical boot camp”. Practice definitely made perfect in this case as this was one of the tightest groups of musicians I’ve ever heard. Solo performances by Zappa tour veterans Steve Vai (guitar) and Terry Bozzio (drums) were simply breath taking.
Bozzio did about 10 minutes alone in the middle of a tune that ran through multiple rhythms and ranged from some of the loudest drumming I’ve heard to a soft section that was so quiet you could hear the heat circulation system in the hall. The solo cranked back up like some kind of charge off to war. Incredible is the best way to describe it.
Good live music is something special. The music reaches out and touches you physically. It surrounds you and reaches into the depth of your being. Tonight’s concert was a definite treat and one I’d recommend to anyone who has the opportunity to see this tour now or in the future. Dweezil’s trying to establish something more permanent with this grass roots movement to expose his father’s music to newer audiences.