REVIEWS: 1 JUNE 2006 - Zappa plays Zappa MANCHESTER, UK

Been to a Vai show? Review it here. Please post in the appropriate thread for each show!
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Jeroen
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Did you attend this show at the Manchester Apollo in Manchester?

Please post your reviews here!

Jeroen :)
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bodderz
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What a show!

The night began with a short film of a zappa concert, about 30 mins in length. After the crowd had been warmed up Dweezel and his band appeared. The entire set from start to finish was breathtaking and it really did justice to Frank. However from the start it looked like problems were occuring when sound guys were running across the stage all the time, then the big shock came - a power failure in the building caused zappa to loose his guitar signal! It looked like he couldn't play for the rest of the show, but guess who was there? Yes Tom Nordick the greatest techy in the business discovered the problem and whilst Zappa resorted to playing straight into his amp, fixed it after a short interval. It was all handled superbly and within around 10 mins the show continued. After this interval Mr Vai took to the stage and the crowd went wild. This was a fantastic set from Steve and he certainly did a fitting tribute to Frank. He stayed on until the end of the show and did an amazing solo when everyone jammed with 'Cosmic Debris'.

If you havn't seen this show already, you must!

Btw one question though, how come on ticketmaster it said that some other guitarists from the turtles (mark knopfler) were going to appear as special guests??? Where these dropped in favour of vai or did they pull out?
Last edited by bodderz on Thu Jun 01, 2006 3:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Ryan Brothwell
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Yes, I certainly did attend this prestigous event! Below is a brief description of my arrival, and interpretation of the show:

I arrived with my friend Simon; after listening to Steve Vai all of the way there of course. My dad parked just outside of the venue and we stepped out of the car. To our surprise Nepoleon Murphy Brock was stood signing autographs. So quickly we ran, clutching our tickets in hope that he woud sign them. He did! :D Can I just say what a great personality "Nappy" has! He is the nicest and funniest person you would ever meet.

After our "Nappy" encounter, we waited anxiously for the doors to open. When they finally opened, we found our seats and sat down.

The lights darkened. The projector initialized. We were in for a treat! We were privilidged to view some rare footage of Frank at the Roxy. The experience was truly fenomenal! Words can't describe the experience!

After approximately thirty minutes, the elusive band walked onto the stage and kicked into some Zappa classics. I was so amazed with Dweezil's fret work, he certainly has been studying his fathers music very carefully indeed. He has definately progressed as a musician.

Unfortunately there was a slight technical error with Dweezil's pre-amp system. He was not picking up a guitar signal at all. Therefore we waited for Steve Vai's trusty assistant to eradicate the problem.However, he could not! Dweezil had to go about it the old fashion way; he had to plug the guitar straight into the amp. The time of which elapsed whilst this problem was being was resolved was quite high, so we wondered if all of the songs would be able to be played, whilst fitting with the venues time designation.

However, Dweezil carried on smiling as always! After a song he came up to the microphone to communicate with the audience, and recieved a nasty electric shock from the microphone......... It definately wasn't Dweezil's night. He carried on and quite frankly he ROCKED! Also the technical error was resolved; that ment he could use that similar Frank Zappa guitar tone.

When Vai contributed it was just fenomenal! He walked onto the satge with "FLO" and was ready to perform. Vai performed the black page, sofa, peaches en regalia, cosmic debris, zomby woof and probably some others of which I can't recall at the moment. Come on it's 1 am! Vai's solos were extraordinary. Just as I like them; including whammy abuse, wah abuse and sprinkled with some pinched harmonics for good measure.

The final song was "Cosmic Debris" and was performed brilliantly! I didn't want the show to end... but obviously it has to.

I hope you enjoy reading the above. I will post more when my brain is in gear and I can recall more important parts.

Enjoy,

Ryan
BobsterLobster
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I'm going to be slightly more critical than most reviewers here...
we were treated to a lengthy film clip of concert footage featuring Frank Zappa, there was amazing chemistry and atmosphere on stage. All the performers were really into the moment.
So when Zappa Jr. and his band came onstage, sorry guys but the charisma and presence in no way compared to what we'd just been watching. To me, the sound and musicianship was bland and flat in comparison. Technically, everybody was great but you could tell that months of playing such demanding work had really taken it's emotional toll on everybody.
Napoleon Murphy Brock did a brave job of filling Frank's singing duties, but his wackyness felt a little forced at times. At least he was trying to enjoy himself though... everybody else looked like they wanted to be at home watching TV. Apart from the great sax player who was hidden away at the back... she looked like she was having a blast.
I think the concert would have worked much better with Napoleon literally taking centre stage, instead of Dweezil who looked like he was half-heartedly trying to be the source of authority for the band. It didn't work. Dweezil is a fantastic guitarist, but he is low on charisma and presence. He isn't much of a communicator and hardly moves. Not very extrovert. Napoleon should have had his spot so the audience could have focused on his singing and showmanship more. There was an interesting moment which had apparently been introduced for the first time in Manchester when a film clip of Frank came up while all the musicians were on stage. I wondered how it must feel for Dweezil to have his late father towering over him both literally and figuratively.
The lighting wasn't impressive... most of the performers were in darkness, especially interesting characters such as the keyboard/trumpet player, the sax/keyboard player and the expressive bassist. This didn't help the band to have much of a visual impact.
And then... ouch. That power problem. To be honest, I'd become quite bored by this moment anyway, so I went up to the bar to queue for a drink while they sorted Dweezil's guitar problem. I queued for quite a while, when I got back to my seat the problem was still ongoing. I can tell you that many people wanted their money back by this point. Especially with Terry Bozzio's absence. I'm not impressed that his double-booking was only announced very recently... he was sorely missed tonight. Was the sax/keyboard player different as well? And what's the deal with Ahmet? How come some venues get him and others don't? It seems a bit shambolic. At least Vai didn't let us down.
What a way to rescue this disastrous gig, Vai was what we all needed to reassure us that we hadn't wasted our time.
At the risk of gushing, Vai's love, open-heartedness, joy and humour are so evident in his personality and his playing, it's such a pleasure to watch him both as a guitarist and as a human being. Vai was the only player who seemed so comfortable with the challenging technical demands that he could transcend them and express the original spirit behind it all.
I'm quite used to photographing many bands in the public eye without putting anybody on a pedestal, but Vai really brings out the fan in me... I was so touched to be able to shake his hand right at the end of the concert. He's an inspiration.

My photos from the gig can be found here: http://www.filmmagic.com/ItemListing.as ... 46&evntI=0

Bob

http://EyesOpenMusic.Blogspot.com
http://www.EyesOpen.co.uk
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R1FSR
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Image

:wink: 8)
Ryan Brothwell
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To be quite honest Bob I agree with Dweezil's stage presence. It can't be compared to Steve's, you can just feel the emotion radiating from his guitar, and you can see that physically every note carries such expression by his body language.
POEBLO
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Hi
I am not going to go into detail about the techi stuff..... I am 37 and was first introduced to Zappa at the tender age of 15...... I have been obsessed since that time.
For me last night in Manchester was wonderful. So what if Dweezil hasnt got the same stage presence as his dad..he was clearly trying to deliver his dads music in the hope its never forgotten.
I think he will learn by experience as the tour goes on and if he does this again I will certainly be buying a ticket.
How emotional was it ... when father and son played together.....
I hope he makes a success from this and it can only get better.
FREAK OUT ..............
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R1FSR
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Hi
I was fortunate enough to be sat on the front row
ok they had some tech problems...so what..the band carried on without Dweezil for 10 mins and it was great.
Dweezil also got a electric shock from his Mic , you could actually see the blue arc to his lips.
Chungas revenge where the band played along with Franks lead on a huge video screen..that was something really touching.
As much as i enjoyed Steves performance (wich was outstanding) this
was Dweezils gig...and he pulled it off with ease .
In fact the whole band was excellent ..all awesome musicians.
If ..and i hope..they do this again ill be there for sure.

As usuall big thanks to Mikey..Gail Zappa..and of course Steve.

Steve if you read this i hope you enjoyed the Book. :wink:



ill add some photos soon as i can
Last edited by R1FSR on Fri Jun 02, 2006 3:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
BobsterLobster
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Hey Richard, I was sat at the front as well... you should have said hello!
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R1FSR
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hey Bobster
i was the other 'photographer' we had a chat while waiting for the passes...glad you got sorted .
When i say photographer i use the term loosly more snapshots
compared to yours.
BobsterLobster
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Oh, that was you!? I get so confused by these forums, I thought your username belonged to another photographer I know! Nice to chat to you, anyway! Have you got the photos up yet?
BSBoy
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Amazing show, one of the best concerts I've been to. Great set, amazing musicianship, amazing sound... :D

If any of the band read this, I apologise on behalf of the audience for the idiots in the crowd hurling abuse during Dweezil's technical hitch. So there was a problem with the amp? Big deal, Shit happens!! It certainly didn't bother me, it was nice to hear the band run through some other stuff while the guitar tech sorted Dweezil's amp.

8)
Last edited by BSBoy on Fri Jun 02, 2006 8:29 am, edited 2 times in total.
Rapollo
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Greatshow in the end. I've gotta say the band was the tightest band I've seen in a long time. Again phenominal solo by Steve, I really wish I had remembered to take my camera... :oops:
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R1FSR
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Review from the Manchester evening News

Review: Dweezil Zappa @ Apollo


ZAPPA: TALK about brave. You're the son of one of music's most iconic figures: Frank Zappa, satirist, composer and social commentator. Oh yeah, and guitar hero.

And you kick off your tribute to one of the most eclectic musicians ever to tread the earth with footage of him in 1973 playing to assorted "freaks".

But it soon became apparent as Dweezil Zappa ripped into his guitar that he and his band possessed the musical chops to pull this outrageous concept off.

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Assisted throughout by the highly-animated, highly-talented Napoleon Murphy Brock, Dweezil and his band displayed the sort of virtuosity that doubtless made some musos in the audience tearfully throw their own instruments in the wheelie bin when they got home.

The question was always going to be: could Dweezil pull off the unique sound of his father's guitar? He didn't disappoint, with a display of fretboard histrionics with that distinctive Zappa tone.

Opener Hungry Freaks Daddy set the pace followed by the bodily-functioned humour of Let's Make the Water Turn Black. Then the audience was treated to time-signature playfulness with King Kong.

Unfortunately, Dweezil's ability to play notes not found on most guitar necks - is this really the same instrument Hank Marvin plays? - at lightning speed took its toll on his guitar rig; no sound.

Distinct

But the band played on - virtuosity has distinct advantages. Then, when telling the audience the problem could not be solved and he would have to bypass his effects, Dweezil got an electric shock off his mic. Rock star bruised ego? No chance.

With a new biting tone from his Gibson, Dweezil and band launched into the "hit" Don't Eat the Yellow Snow. Further treats were in store as "stunt guitarist" and Zappa alumnus Steve Vai brought his other-worldly talents to proceedings, melting fret on The Black Page, the song that landed him the Zappa gig at the tender age of 18. And who else could play with so much fervour that they end a blistering solo by drooling over their guitar neck? It was a shame that during Dweezil and Vai's guitar duels that Vai's guitar was low down in the mix. However, this did not distract too much from such delights as Peaches en Regalia, one of Zappa's most accessible tracks, and Montana.

To top it all off, Dweezil established himself as possibly rock's most polite man at the end of proceedings by shaking hands with seemingly most of those who had dug deep to experience Zappa live, the present day composer whose music refuses to die.
Zongadude
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bodderz wrote: Dweezel

(...)Tom Nordick

(...)Btw one question though, how come on ticketmaster it said that some other guitarists from the turtles (mark knopfler) were going to appear as special guests??? Where these dropped in favour of vai or did they pull out?
Don't get upset but I had a great healthy laugh when reading your review. Because you seem to have changed every person's name in there. So let me translate for you what you really meant ;)

Dweezel = Dweezil
Tom Nordick = Thom Nordegg

and my personnal favorite:

Mark Knopfler was never a member of the Turtles, it was Mark Vollman ! :) And he was a singer, not a guitarist. Mark Knopfler is in fact the guitarist in Dire Straits. The rumour said Mark Vollman and Howard Kaylan, both ex-singers from the Turtles could appear at some shows. Why they haven't yet ? I have no idea.

Thanks for not taking this post personnaly. No offense intended, just a bit of fun. ;)
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