theslime | DUBLIN | 04/19/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"High point of the disc is a rousing King Kong, which has zappa's amusing introduction. Some real fine blowing by the horn section. Then a bonkers it can't happen here, loads of 'noise' including radio transmission, very out there. These two take up most of the 40 or so minutes. Also there is a 'waltz' version of you didn't try to call me, it's good. Big leg emma is ok, then you have various covers of different tunes like baby love, hound dog, bristol stomp. Moderately enjoyable tunes. Sound quality is reasonable for a bootleg...it has better sound than freaks and motherf***ers for instance. If you've never heard Frank Zappa's music, this is not a good place to start, get an official release. But king kong and it can't happen here are treasures, making this cd worthwhile for zappa fans."
Troubled show, but good sound
theslime | 12/23/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is the first disc in the first volume of the BEAT THE BOOTS series (in which Zappa collected some his more notorious bootlegs and released them himself, packaging, errors, and all). Its actually one of the more worthwhile ones that I've heard. The packaging is amusing -- handled with some care, with a rather grotesque but well-drawn cover, and a painstakingly detailed Zappaesque story on the back.It documents the Scandanavian branch of the 1967 Mothers tour. This ill-fated leg off the tour is famous because Zappa, taking a detour in Italy and drinking some tap water, had horrible gastro-intestinal problems. This was in addition to the already awful conditions the band was performing under (see the amusing "Where's Our Equipment?" on YCDToSA vol.5). Considering the date, the sound quality is excellent. It runs at a disappointing 37 minutes.While, as another reviewer has noted, Zappa seems decidedly uninvolved in this particular performance, its still quite interesting. The Mothers run through a song suite which contains both a snippet of Stravinsky's PETROUSHKA and the Supreme's BABY LOVE. The recording seems to cut here. NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO has a few bars of Tchaikovsky's 6th during a monologue, which leads into a few unnotable covers like HOUND DOG and BLUE SUEDE SHOES. The highlight of the disc is a pretty inspired performance of KING KONG. Bunk Gardner and Ian Underwood are in top form. IT CAN'T HAPPEN HERE is the closer -- just as bizarre as usual.Not a bad disc at all. Fans of the early Mothers lineup should definitely consider this one."
Footnote to the Dublin review
ghengisadonis | United Kingdom | 07/02/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"No, the sound quality isn't top-notch, and there's another reason why this album isn't highly-rated. Zappa was unwell on this particular night (he had gastro-enteritis, I think) and spent much of the concert offstage. (It's been speculated that Ian Underwood played some of the guitar parts). So those looking for Zappa solos will be disappointed. The slightly flat vocals during `You Didn't Try To Call Me' will also disappoint (I know it's not supposed to matter in the case of a semi-humorous song, but still...) even if they fit the ensuing medley of song-parodies - which includes an obscurity, `No Matter What You Do' (with an amusing talkover section), and a snippet from Stravinsky's `Petrouchka' which had to be deleted from some issues of the CD (copyright etc).
`King Kong' is what you buy the CD for. And it's an unusual arrangement, closer to the studio version than the standard live one as it's in 3-4 time (rather than 12-8) and doesn't have the composed middle-section familiar from albums like `The Ark'. The theme is stated by Bunk Gardner on clarinet, who leads off the solos with an exquisite two-part affair. Underwood follows, on alto sax - desperate and distraught-sounding, and beautifully so - then some spare and thoughtful keyboard work from Preston. Zappa stays out of the action, apart from conducting, and a few guitar licks during Bunk's solo. Which is just as well, anything he came up with would seem like an anticlimax in comparison to the other three soloists...But after Don's solo, Zappa and his baton take control, and the madness begins. Deafening synthesizer shrieks, voice samples, radio scanning, much indecipherable babble in foreign languages, a quick chorus of `It Can't Happen Here' and a gargantuan synth solo from Preston take us through to the end of the show, and album."