Zappa Plays Zappa – 2010-12-17 – Beacon Theater, NY

On this gridlock alert day I ventured into the city on Friday night to catch a Zappa Plays Zappa concert at the Beacon.  The traffic wasn’t too bad and I found a spot at 55th and 10th, right by Kevin’s favorite cheese-steak deli, parked the car and hoofed it up to the Beacon.  It was a exhilarating walk which prepped me for the exhilarating show ahead.

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I was never a big Frank Zappa fan, but I did have several of his albums and was able to digest, appreciate and eventually come to like some of his music.  I was especially fond of Apostrophe and Joe’s Garage but also had Sheik Yerbouti and Live at the Roxy.  Additionally, I do recall being at a Bobby and the Midnights show in the 80s at the Capitol Theater in Passaic sitting right behind the soundboard.  During intermission they were playing music that had a sick lead in it and I turned around to look and saw it was a Zappa bootleg in the cassette player rolling.  I awoke me to his great guitar prowess.  As such, in the post Grateful Dead, MP3, Internet era I have listened and searched out quite a bit of Frank Zappa music in comparison to some other of my nostalgic music from my past.  Much of the Zappa music is still tough to absorb but I have been getting some of it.

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When my brother Jay provided me the opportunity to see Zappa Plays Zappa at the Beacon several months ago, I pounced on the opportunity.  Great googley-moogley!    They were doing Apostrophe.  We had nice seats in the right orchestra around 10 rows back and it was a pretty intimate feeling at the Beacon with the Band.  They opened with a jam highlighting the horns and then started right into doing Apostrophe.  It was really well done and the band was tight and great sounding.  It was very complex music and they plowed through it with confidence and grace.  Dweezil handled the guitar parts all with tremendous proficiency, coming out of his rig like it was built in his DNA.   A very talented shredding guitarist.  After the Apostrophe album they play for about another hour of assorted songs with a nice 30 minute encore.  A very interesting night of ultra-tight music  which is in great contrast to the type of music I am accustomed to in our jamband environment.  The show was really good but I’m not sure I would pounce again at the opportunity to see it when they roll around next year.  Nevertheless, it was an experience that was quite worthwhile.

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