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November 2006

Zappa Plays Zappa

Zpzposter

You just know a concert is going to be special if music journalist and “Post-Fish Marillion” apologist Andre Salles would drive 6 hours to go see it with me. Not to mention the fact that he endured spending not one but two nights at my house…with cats and kids in the mix. If you ever email or talk to Andre, make sure you ask him if he prefers the top or bottom bunk. My son Adam slept upstairs and gave Andre the run of his room. So he had his pick of the bunks. The real reason for the trip of course was the Zappa Plays Zappa concert. We had 8th row seats at the beautiful Orpheum Theater in downtown Minneapolis. This was billed as an evening of Frank Zappa music performed by Zappa’s own band alumni and his son Dweezil. I’ve actually held off on reviewing it because sometimes I get caught up in the moment or the event and afterwards just want to say it was the best concert I’ve ever seen. After more than a week, with serious reflection on the many concerts that I have strong feelings and memories of, I can honestly say this is probably the best concert I have ever seen. It’s at least up with the top 2 or 3. I would mention some of my favorites now, but I’m going to save that for an updated Top Ten Concerts of all-time post for the near future.

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There are many aspects of this show that were simply unbelievable and amazing…not the least of which was the choice of material. They played some of Frank’s most difficult pieces. Dweezil sounds as good as he ever has and seems to just keep getting better. The real highlight was the band. Longtime Zappa vocalist and horn player Napoleon Murphy Brock sang lead vocal most of the night. He shows no sign of age as he belts out the tunes and jumps all over the stage, capturing Frank at every turn. “Isn’t that amazing?!”

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About halfway through the over 3 hour event, Terry Bozzio and Steve Vai come out to join the festivities. That’s when I knew I was witnessing something truly amazing (bring a change of pants kids). I have seen many brilliant musicians, especially guitarists. From Robert Fripp to Phil Keaggy to Eddie VanHalen and Adrian Belew…none of them come close to what I saw Vai do at this show. I had never seen him perform live before, and he makes Frank’s music come alive. Watching Dweezil and Vai Trading solos was incredible…I was completely blown away. There’s nothing like this. Terry Bozzio has to be one of the most prolific drummers and was exciting to both watch and hear…his playing defies description. I think he and Vai should form their own band. I don’t know if they’ve played together outside of this tour, but their chemistry, not only with each other but also with Dweezil and the rest of the band is mind-numbingly amazing. That’s not to take away from the rest of the band, they are as tight as any outfit Frank ever put on the road. For Zappa fans this is a must, but I think any serious fan of music, especially jazz-rock-fusion should definitely see this show. Even fans of hard rock, prog or alternative will love it…if you think King Crimson, Mars Volta, or even Eddie VanHalen is as good as it gets, you need to check this concert out. I think you’ll be surprised.

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For a more articulate review of this show and gonzo account of his wild trip, check out Andre Salles' review here: http://www.tm3am.com/article_061025a.htm

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For pictures, soundclips tour dates and more visit: www.zappaplayszappa.com

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The Return of Jeremy Enigk

Jeremy

It’s been 10 long years since Jeremy Enigk of Sunny Day Real Estate released his brilliant solo debut Return of the Frog Queen. The world has been waiting…and now he is finally releasing his second solo album appropriately titled World Waits on October 17th.

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In the meantime you can download the full MP3 of his brand new song “Been Here Before” for free, just click here:

http://www.toolshed-media.com/ts/jeremy-enigk-been-here-before.mp3

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