Wolfgang’s Vault Unearths Classic Frank Zappa Show

Wolfgang’s Vault continues to add killer shows to their massive Concert Vault collection at a blistering pace. One recently added performance that you can stream and download is a rare Frank Zappa performance from 1978. You need to be a member of the Concert Vault to download the Zappa show for free, but anyone can stream the audio and video – and you should do so immediately.

On October 13, 1978 Zappa and one of our favorite bands of his played an early and late show at The Capitol Theatre in Passaic, New Jersy. Joining Frank on stage were one of the best drummers to ever pick up sticks, Vinnie Colaiuta, wacked-out keyboardist Tommy Mars, lead singer Ike Willis as well as Denny Walley (slide guitar), Patrick O’Hearn (bass), Arthur Barrow (bass), Peter Wolf (keys) and Ed Mann (percussion). Wolfgang’s Vault has posted audio AND video of the early gig straight from the soundboard and black-and-white cameras installed in the venue by impresario Bill Graham.

Zappa and his band run through 18 songs from throughout his career including Village of the Sun, Easy Meat, Dinah Moe Hum, Magic Fingers and City of Tiny Lights. Check out the Yellow Snow Suite…

Frank Zappa – Yellow Snow Suite

The Wolfgang’s Team has posted an informative essay on the historic value of this show…

Although poor quality audience recordings have circulated among fans for many years, presented here for the first time ever is a direct recording of Frank Zappa’s early show on October 13, 1978 at The Capitol Theatre in Passaic, NJ. This night is notable not only for containing two of the most memorable performances of the 1978 World Tour, but this concert was also bass player Patrick O’hearn’s debut gig with Zappa.

The concert contains a wide ranging selection of material both old and new and a good balance between Zappa’s humorous social commentary songs and his more challenging instrumental compositions. It kicks off with a standout example of Zappa’s seering guitar work on “Deathless Horsie,” which would finally see release on his Shut Up & Play Your Guitar series several years later. In terms of outstanding solos, a highly improvised “City Of Tiny Lights” featuring Denny Walley in fantastic form on slide guitar, is certainly a highlight. The same can be said of is “Pound For A Brown On The Bus,” which immediately follows. This serves as an extended showcase for Ed Mann on vibes, followed by electric piano and then synthesizer solos by Tommy Mars and Peter Wolf. Closing the set is a complete performance of the Apostrophe album classic “Yellow Snow Suite.

The two encores are also notable, beginning with a non-orchestral performance of “Strictly Genteel.” This grand finale composition to “200 Motels” is followed by “Dinah Moe Hum.” On this final encore Zappa adamantly insists on sing-a-long audience participation. When he notices a guy wearing a Rolling Stones t-shirt who is not joining in the fun, he specifically singles him out. So determined is Zappa to get this gentleman to sing along, that he vows to end the performance should he fail to participate! Following an unsuccessful second chance to engage said audience member, and true to his word, Zappa suddenly stops the performance and concludes the concert.

Head to THIS PAGE to listen to the audio and watch the video.

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