Zappa Plays Zappa

I have been a fan of Frank Zappa and his music for many years. I like Frank’s music at any stage of his career. He has about 80 or so albums issued by himself and later The Zappa Family Trust (FZ died of cancer just before his 53rd birthday in 1993). Frank taped many if not all of his live shows which gives a wealth of music for the family to release. Rare things, etc.

Frank’s son Dweezil has been touring since 2006 with his band Zappa Plays Zappa. DZ and his band cover many of Frank’s songs and are touring to share this music with us. I’m sure he’s making some money, but the venues are pretty small…anyway, my husband and I have seen all but one of their shows in the Cleveland/Akron area. This band is phenomenal.

Dweezil is touring this year recreating the Roxy and Elsewhere live show. We attended this show in October at the Kent Stage in Kent, OH. We’ve seen them here a few times. That show was just so amazing. I always hate when the show is over! Dweezil and the band play as well as if not (dare I say it) a little better than Frank. But, the show is definitely all about Frank’s music.

A week or so ago I saw on Facebook and got an email of an a new show by ZPZ coming again to the Kent Stage. The show was in a week! Well, I jumped right on the ticket sight and purchased the best seats I could. Seventh row, center. Not bad. It is a small place. Not a bad seat in the house, but I wanted to be as close up as possible. My husband plays guitar a bit and likes to see the playing, too.

The show was billed as the “Extended Encore” and would not repeat any songs done in the October “Roxy” show. I was so excited to be going to see them again so soon! And anxious to hear what songs they would play. Whichever they chose, I knew it would be a great show. I also was excited because the band and/or Dweezil usually come out to meet the fans after the show either just coming out on stage or in the lobby signing autographs and taking pictures.

We got to the show and stopped at the merchandise table before taking our seats. I like to get me something from every show if I can. This time I got a 12 inch, red vinyl disc, single from Frank’s album Freak Out and some buttons. My husband bought some FZ picks for his pick collection.

We got to our seats and were thrilled to be so close up. I looked around at the crowd and again laughed that the crowd was about 90% male. Frank has a mostly male following I hear. I don’t know why, he plays a very soulful, sensuous guitar, but I digress.

The band came out and Dweezil thanked us all for coming on such short notice. Many in the crowd shouted, “Thank you, Dweezil!!” which is how I felt about the show, too. DZ explained that they were supposed to play in Colorado (I think), but the weather prevented it so they decided since the last show at the Kent Stage was sold out they would play here again instead. I was just glad they were there.

The band then started into “Montana”, the crowd went crazy as this is a favorite of most FZ fans. They then played another favorite, “Peaches in Regalia”. ZPZ then played “City of Tiny Lights” from his Sheik Yerbouti album. I noticed that some of the older men there seemed to know the older tunes, but not many from the 80s. I have read that Frank has fans who just enjoy his time with the Mothers or just his time when he put out solo stuff or whenever. Frank has all different kinds of music. I think there is something for everyone….

The rest of the show was a full night of fun, laughter and pure enjoyment of the music. As usual I didn’t want the show to end. But after an encore of “Stinkfoot” (which was chosen by the audience), Willie The Pimp (one of my husband’s favorites) and Whipping Post, the show was over. We heard a total of 20 tunes; which is saying a lot considering the length of some of the songs, the solos we got to hear, etc.

Dweezil announced that the band would be coming out to meet with us in the lobby after a short break. I went straight to the table and waited along with many other fans. After about fifteen minutes, the band walked out to greet us. They all sat at a table and we walked up to say hello, thank him for the shows, for doing the whole Zappa Plays Zappa project. The band that night was: Scheila Gonzalez (VERY talented multi-instrument playing singer), Ben Thomas (vocals, trumpet, guitar, a little of everything), Kurt Morgan (vocals and bass) Chris Norton (keyboards, vocals and more, who had technical difficulty during the show) and Dweezil himself.

I chatted a bit with Scheila, Kurt and Chris and then Dweezil himself. They all signed the cover of the record I purchased at the show and I took a pic with Dweezil. I was so happy. It had really been a wonderful show, wonderful time! I would highly recommend any Zappa Plays Zappa show, or listen to the original Frank Zappa recordings, both are fantastic!

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