Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Frank Zappa - You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 4 CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



3.53 | 94 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Reviewer
3 stars A rather hodge-podge collection, but the high points make this worthwhile. While it doesn't work as well as Volume 1 in terms of surveying Zappa's whole live career, it comes pretty close, and it never feels like just another 80's live album like Volume 3 sometimes did. There are some weird skits, some exercises in era-splicing, and some eye-opening surprises, and all of these good aspects make me overlook the less interesting moments.

One thing that this album also has in spades is a lot of extended instrumental workouts, and these don't always thrill me. "Let's Move to Cleveland-Solos (1984)" and "Pound for a Brown-Solos (1978)" just seem completely redundant to me, and I wasn't really clamoring for another version of "The Black Page," either. I do get some jollies out of the great guitar playing in "Stevie's Spanking" and "Truck Driver Divorce," though; I don't remember how similar the solos here are to the ones in the studio versions, but even if they're identical (which I highly doubt), the energy and power shown in them make them pretty breathtaking. There's also a nice rendition of "Filthy Habits" from 1988, and it's nowhere near as tedious as the original sometimes was.

The skits, as is usual for Zappa, are of mixed quality. "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" features Ike Willis and Walt Fowler doing a disturbingly good imitation of the announcers for an Atlanta Braves baseball game, and capturing all of the hopeless ennui that came with rooting for the Braves in the late 80's. "Church Chat" is a fairly dumb anti-Church rant, and while I do admit that I crack up more than a bit at the line, "There is no hell, there's only France," it's not one of Frank's better bits. "Tiny Sick Tears" is a hilarious parody of Jim Morrison's Oedipal ramblings during performances of "The End," and "Smell my Beard/The Booger Man" is a leftover from the Roxy era where the whole joke just seems to be that it mentions boogers.

The rest of the music is of mixed quality, but good on the whole. The highlights come from unexpected places, and they give the album the "revelatory" aspect that's really the key to making albums like this worth it. The first disc features two tracks from Thing Fish, and I love both of the performances here. I always basically liked "Brown Moses," so it's not shocking to me that I find enjoyment here, but I sure wasn't expecting such a great rendition of "The Evil Prince," which I'd almost forgotten even existed. The singing on this track is great, full of what actually sounds like something resembling real emotional power. Who knows, maybe all I needed to appreciate this fully was to have it broken out of its original horrid context.

My other favorite of the album comes from the Bongo Fury era: the original version of "The Torture Never Stops," with Captain Beefheart on vocals. Originally, the track was far bluesier than it later ended up (and it had almost none of the denseness in the sound that the studio version later would), and while I hated Beefheart's singing on BF as anybody, I really think he sounds perfect in this context. Plus, he gets in a lot of fantastic harmonica soloing, and the whole product just reinforces the notion that Zappa should have been involved in more blues performances in his life.

The first disc doesn't really have many other standouts, though people who like the song more than I do will be glad to have a performance of "Montana" that comes from both 1973 and 1984. Most notably, the disc has abbreviated versions of several tracks from Zappa's past, and none are really helped by the shortening. I like the version of "My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama," and the modified lyrics to "Willie the Pimp" amuse me (I can't help it, the line "Trying to buy some pussy with a third-party check" kills me every time), but I'd rather hear the originals. The second disc features nice versions of "Outside Now," "Disco Boy," "Florentine Pogen" and especially "Caroline Hard-core Ecstasy," as well as a version of "Teen-Age Wind" that's nowhere near as good as the original one. And finally, the album ends with a series of 50's/60's covers, some of which had appeared on previous albums ("The Closer You Are," "The Man from Utopia," "Mary Lou"), and some of which hadn't. They're fun and goofy and all, and they give an extra sense of diversity to the album, but they're not really necessary.

Overall, then, it's not spectacular, but it's another solid entry in the series. A Zappa fan who hasn't heard the best stuff from this album is a sad Zappa fan indeed. Don't get it before Vol 1 or Vol 5, but definitely get it.

tarkus1980 | 3/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this FRANK ZAPPA review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives