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You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore - Vol. 4
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock, Metal
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A Hermit | Southwestern Pa. | 02/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Since the all-knowing, all-caring folks at Amazon.com are seemingly refusing to post my review of Volume 3 in this series (I wrote a good review of Volume 3, submitted it, and waited, and waited, and waited. With no results, I wrote another. And waited, and waited, and waited again. Still, nothing.), I'll press on ahead, and, this time, submit a review of Volume 4.
This edition follows the same premise of Volume 1, in that it spans Zappa's whole live career, without any apparent underlying theme. Where Volume 2 is only from the 1974 Helsinki Concert, Volume 3 is focused on the vocal abilities of the 1984 touring band, Volume 5 contrasts the original Mothers Of Invention (1965-1969) with the 1982 touring band, and the first disc of Volume 6 is focused on sexual themes, with the finale (disc two) being odds and ends to wrap it all up, this is a pot-pourri going back to the spring tour of 1969, spanning forward through the 1988 "Broadway The Hard Way" tour. Some real gems are included here, most notably, the '84 band's version of "The Evil Prince." The original, from "Thingfish," features Napoleon Murphy Brock singing this lengthy selection, in a sinister, chilling voice during that particular version of "The Torture Never Stops." I didn't feel there was room for improvement. Ray White sings it here, with the full band accompanying him, a far more complex arrangement than the studio version, and it is to be heard to be believed. Awesome band, contrary to what some detractors may think. The "Pound For A Brown Solos" are flowing with sweet-sounding keyboard arrangements, very nice, "Brown Moses" shows that Zappa hired some fantastic vocalists for his tours, and Disc One ends with the first version of "The Torture Never Stops," from the "Bongo Fury" sessions, Austin, Texas, 1975. This version is signifigantly different from the one everybody's familiar with. It's gritty and bluesy, the 1975 line-up of The Mothers, with Captain Beefheart singing, a perfect vehicle for this particular delivery of this number.
Disc Two begins with Zappa's "sermon" about Hell, and he tells the French audience, "THERE IS NO HELL, THERE IS ONLY...FRANCE!"
This kicks off a lengthy guitar duel between Zappa and Steve Vai, in the song "Stevie's Spanking." This is what live shows used to be made of. Too bad, look at what's out there these days. Things really have gone downhill.
Once again, you are treated to different performances over the years, some really old Mothers gems, "Are You Upset?" having gotten its title from the question Zappa asked a heckler in the audience during the recording of this piece. They lampoon The Doors in "Tiny Sick Tears" with a part of Zappa's monologue being modeled after the Oedipal section of "The End," only here there is no mother, just an embarrassed father. Really tacky, but funny, nonetheless. "Carolina Hardcore Ecstasy" just shines, it is so well done. And the set ends with a medley of old Rock-n-Roll songs from yesteryear. You don't have to like that kind of thing to see just how much fun the band had playing this sequence, and its inclusion is all part of the experience of Frank Zappa on stage. He never limited himself to one genre, and along with Volume 1, this is the most variety you will find in this series."