As this audience-member-generated video attests, Zappa Plays Zappa thoroughly destroyed Toad’s Place on Sunday night. The band, which was formed in 2006 by Dweezil Zappa as a vehicle through which his late father’s inimitable music could be delivered and introduced to new audiences and younger generations, performed Frank Zappa’s Roxy & Elsewhere album in its entirety — in celebration of the record’s release 40 years ago — along with several other magnificent songs.
At the beginning of the show, Dweezil made the following remarks to the audience: “How many of you have never heard this record before? … Here’s what’s important about this. This record was made 40 years ago, but before it was a record, it was a live concert that just had new songs performed in the show. So, the people that saw that concert … were seeing songs they’d never heard before. So, that’s the same as the people here tonight who have never heard this record before. You get that same experience from 40 years ago. But here’s the crazy thing. There’s nothing that sounds like this music. So, really, this is your ticket to ride into the future, all of you. This music is from the future.”
That’s an excellent way of describing Frank Zappa’s music. As one who loves that repertoire and has been luxuriating in it for years, it’s been wonderful to know that Frank Zappa’s music is alive and well in the hands of extraordinarily talented musicians who adoringly do it proud every night.
What was equally wonderful on Sunday was to see a club packed with fans of all ages — from those who were Frank Zappa’s contemporaries to those who hadn’t yet been born when the Roxy & Elsewhere album was released in 1974.
It gives me great pleasure to report that Dweezil is doing a masterly job of what he set out in 2006 to do.
— David Brensilver