Zappa plays Zappa
July 24, 2007
The legacy of Frank Zappa stretches far and wide, evidenced by the multi-generational following that crammed into Moonlite Gardens at Cincinnati’s Coney Island for Zappa plays Zappa on July 24.
Indeed, there were enthusiasts from Frank’s early beginnings standing alongside curiosity seekers and children not even conceived when Zappa’s son, Dweezil, was born. A heightened buzz filtrated through the air, matching the stifling humidity that encapsulated the storied facility that housed big band jazz orchestras during it’s heyday. Dweezil Zappa squinted as he surveyed the surroundings, conveying, "This is a very special place. Take care of it. Now, we’re going to ruin it with this next song!" With that, the Zappa plays Zappa ensemble tore into "Dirty Love" from 1973’s Over-nite Sensation LP.
Zappa was in fine voice, expertly recreating all of his father’s quirky mannerisms and emphasizing the substance inside of the style. An overhead screen projected the late Zappa Sr., rapping and soloing on guitar as he handed over the ceremonies to his onstage son to great effect. Whether they reached back to "City of Tiny Lites" from 1979’s Sheik Yerbouti or the title track from Joe’s Garage, Act 1, the band found the perfect balance of bawdy humor and staggered time signatures.
When Dweezil strummed the opening chords to "San Ber’dino" from 1975’s One Size Fits All, the Gardens denizens erupted in a sing-along chorus, smiling and dancing in perfect synchronization to the powered rhythms of Zappa plays Zappa’s percussion-heavy group. Teasing the audience, Dweezil finally launched into a defining take on "My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama" from 1970’s Weasels Ripped My Flesh project.
After returning to the stage to a resounding standing ovation, Zappa plays Zappa treated the Garden’s patrons to a video performance of Frank Zappa ripping through "Cosmik Debris" from 1974’s hit album Apostrophe before again handing off the guitar shredding duties to his son and company onstage. It was an enlightened special effect, and made for one of the summer’s more technically challenging yet oddly inspiring concerts as Zappa plays Zappa invaded and serenaded an engaging fanbase in Cincinnati.