I went to see the Bizarre World of Frank Zappa show in Boston last night. I was psyched when the show was announced and jumped on tickets, but as the shows began I read a couple things on social media that made me a little nervous just days before this show. Luckily, as it turns out I didn’t agree with them anyway.
Ahmet is a weird dude, and so was his dad. But it was obvious that some people were turned off by his antics, and some of the social media commentary reflected it. In my opinion though, I thought it was awesome. Some people might not, but I recognize that FZ fans are also a naturally jaded bunch, so there’s no pleasing them all anyway. And it seems like EVERYONE has an opinion on how Frank and his music should be honored (and for some reason they also all seem to have an opinion on Zappa internal family politics).
First off, the band was tight. There’s something about hearing the vocals of Frank, Ray White, and Bobby Martin (the latter two both still have excellent voices) that really made it fit like an old glove. The playing was on point! Some of Frank’s prerecorded guitar work was just phenomenal. And the band were such an accomplished group who knew the music and played it with obvious heart. There was plenty of ripping jams much of it demanding technical precision, and an excess of unbridled buffoonery.
For me I think the key was that I didn’t go into with a standard live performance expectation. Because it is, and it isn’t. It was a visual, audial, and eyebrowial live showing.
Do Dweezil and Co. play awesome music in Frank’s spirit? Yes. So did these guys. Is there some eyebrows present at a ZPZ show? Sure, but this shit was a step above.
If you liked the more avant-garde edge of Frank’s stuff, and some of the cringey weirdness of his shows (think some of the dance off and audience participation, but thankfully no panty sniffing party) then you’ll love it. If you enjoy spotlighting the funnier side of Frank’s music, you’ll love it. And if you liked some of Frank’s art, then this show is a visual smorgasbord. I laughed my ass off throughout. Sure, Ahmet’s antics could have been half as long, but you can’t tell me his dad didn’t have fun with some of the same kinds of shit.
I felt like the whole night was a homage to Frank’s sense of humor, his music, his creative spirit, and most importantly his ideas on art in general as it hit you with multiple mediums at the same time. I just felt like it had a lot of Frank’s spirit present for the eyes, the ears, and the eyebrows.