Local Wire

Zappa Plays Zappa

This is not Frank Sinatra Jr. embarrassing his dad by warbling "My Way" for the Geritol geezers, nor is it Mercer Ellington working hard to do the Duke proud and missing the mark. And this is not a mixed bunch of ex-sidemen doing a songbook while a disembodied star with sideburns does karate kicks on a giant screen, although the late Mr. Z does make a few 2-D appearances. This is Dweezil Zappa's earnest, machine-tooled re-creation of numbers that stretch from The Mothers era in the '60s, which remains profound in spite of all that followed, through his father's last-gasp, Synclavier constructions. Frank Zappa was too big and made too much great and goofy music over too many years to be encapsulated in a single performance, and it's a measure of his intelligence and audacity that there are individuated audiences who would be entirely gratified to hear only one small section of his work, whichever one they are best or first acquainted with. But Dweezil can't do that, so he's picked some incredibly complex tunes ("G-Spot Tornado"), some of the dumb and funny stuff, some of the mildly snarky songs ("America Drinks and Goes Home"), some of the teen rockers ("My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama"), and some of the standards ("Peaches en Regalia"). It's an homage, a love letter, and an act of unbelievable athleticism by DZ and the veteran players, all rolled up into a single concert — and his father would dig it.
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Henry Cabot Beck