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Frank Zappa - You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 2 CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



4.53 | 200 ratings

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3 stars This is one of the best examples of a live album where the historical importance outstrips my actual enjoyment of it. This is a recording of two concerts Zappa did in Helsinki on the same day in 1974 (the best parts of each concert were used in compiling the album), and it's gone down as an absolute legend in Zappa's history. Its two most prominent historical aspects are (a) that the guitar solo in this album's version of "Inca Roads" is the one that got used on One Size Fits All, and (b) the call from a member of the audience for the band to do "Whipping Post," which ended up leading to the band making that a regular part of its live shows in the 1980's. I guess the latter has kinda gone down in history as Zappa's equivalent of a fan yelling out "Judas!" at Bob Dylan's famous 1966 concert, and as such it's lead to people attaching a lot of importance to this show on the whole.

I definitely don't like it as much as I do Roxy, though. First of all: I don't at all get the point of the TWENTY FOUR MINUTES of "Dupree's Paradise" that sits near the beginning of disc 2. It's got some bits of a skit buried inside it at some point, and there are some decent jazzy bits here and there, but mostly it just sits there as a giant lump of boredom that keeps going and going and going. It's one of the least entertaining lengthy pieces I've ever heard in my life, and definitely one of my least favorite Zappa tracks, even if it has a few moments (especially near the beginning) where it almost threatens to get interesting.

There's other material here, loved by others I'm sure, that doesn't thrill me a lot. I've never been a huge fan of "Montana," which turns into a very long guitar solo that only sorta entertains me, and even this version, with the band changing the lyrics to reflect the "Whipping Post" request, doesn't make me jump up and down. I'm also a little disappointed with how "Village of the Sun" is done on this album; doing it at a rushed tempo makes it lose a lot of its charm, and it almost sounds like the band is just trying to get it over with. Oh, and "RDNZL" (which would later show up on Studio Tan) continues to strike me as somewhat dull, even if it has some good aspects.

The rest of the album is quite nice, though. "Echidna's Arf (Of You)" and "Don't You Ever Wash That Thing?," even without the overdubs of Roxy, still sound totally awesome, confirming their positions as among Zappa's best tracks. "Cheepnis" suffers a little bit more from lack of overdubs (and without the great spoken introduction), but the fun melodies and rhythmic shifts remain as awesome as ever. And the other Roxy track in the lot, "Pygmy Twylyte," actually improves from before, as it's graced with some of Frank's best soloing on the album.

Aside from a really nice performance of "Inca Roads" (which has some power and roughness to it that I would have liked to have heard in the One Size version), and a mid-length jazzy jam called "Approximate" (which I like quite a bit), the rest of the album consists of various shorter songs, and they're mostly a hoot. Apostrophe is represented by "Stinkfoot," which preserves most of the charms of the original, and the rest is either from much earlier albums or is new material. There's one new skit ("Room Service") that's quite amusing, a new song they'd never played before ("Satumaa (Finnish Tango)") and a couple of new short interludes ("T'Mershi Duween," "Building a Girl"). And finally, there are older surprises like "The Idiot Bastard Son," "The Dog Breath Variations," "Uncle Meat" and, as the finale, a two-minute teaser of "Big Swifty." It's from these shorter tracks, by the way, that a large chunk of the overal favorable rating comes.

So basically, I'm not incredibly thrilled with the album, but I think it has a lot of charm, and it works as a nice complement to Roxy. It'll never be one of my very favorite live albums, largely because of the lengthy agony of "Dupree's Paradise," but it's nice enough.

tarkus1980 | 3/5 |


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