Frank Zappa. Blossom. August 12

By Bill Camarata

Scene, 16 August 1984

Aug. 12

After dwelling in the world of orchestral music for the last two years, Frank Zappa has made a welcomed return to the world of rock music.

Zappa's show Sunday night was definitely not his best performance, but it was a highly entertaining one all the same. His band consisted of Zappa on guitar and vocals, Ray White and Ike Willis on guitar and vocals, Scott Thunes on bass, Allan Zavod (formerly of Jean-Luc Ponty's band) on keyboards, Bobby Martin on vocals, sax, french horn and keyboards, and Chad Wackerman (fresh from two tours with Allan Holdsworth) on drums.

Since Zappa didn't bring a percussionist this time around, the show was centered on his more straight rock'n'roll pieces. He pulled a lot of surprising oldies out of his hat, like "Carolina Hard Core Ecstacy," "Advance Romance," "More Trouble Every Day," "Penguin In Bondage" and "Honey, Don't You Want A Man Like Me?"

Other crowd pleasers were also performed, like "Bobby Brown" and "You Are What You Is," but the highlights of the evening were Zappa's many long solos. Even though he put down his guitar for a while and said he didn't mind if he ever played it again, the master hadn't lost his touch for improvisational flair.

And then there was the usual weirdness that has come to be accepted as normal at a Zappa concert. Ladies' undergarments were thrown toward the stage, a flying poodle and a rubber chicken appeared, and clowning and teasing by the band was constant. And where else can you see a standing ovation for a song titled, "Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?"

The band did two encores and finished the night with a very long version of "Whipping Post," the Allman Brothers classic. Surprisingly, Zappa only did two new songs as he usually does five or more. The set could have been longer, and it could have been improved if one side of the sound system hadn't gone out every ten minutes or so. But I did have fun.