Sportpaleis Ahoy, Rotterdam, The Netherlands – May 24, 1980
Disc 1 (53:59) Tuneups, Chunga’s Revenge, Keep It Greasy, Outside Now, City Of Tiny Lights, Teenage Wind, Bamboozled By Love, Pick Me I’m Clean, Society Pages, I’m A Beautiful Guy, Beauty Knows No Pain, Charlie’s Enormous Mouth, Cosmik Debris
Disc 2 (53:35) You Didn’t Try To Call Me, I Ain’t Got No Heart, Love Of My Life, You Are What You Is, Easy Meat, Joe’s Garage, Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?, Encore Break 1, Dancin’ Fool, Bobby Brown, Ms. Pinky, Encore Break 2, I Don’t Wanna Get Drafted, The Illinois Enema Bandit
Frank Zappa toured throughout 1980 promoting his Joe’s Garage project that was released the previous year and not one to rest on past glories the set features a slew of as then yet unreleased music. For his European tour in the spring his touring line up was scaled back with no horn section and with a new drummer. The concert featured here was the second date on the tour and was recorded for a radio broadcast. The show has been available first on vinyl as Personality (Prince Records FZ 1413) and then on compact disc under such titles as Boot The Beats (Living Legend LLRCD 110) and Ahoy Rotterdam June 24 1980 (Take It Or Leave It T9407), all titles were incomplete. For this new release Godfathers present the entire performance in perfect sound quality. All instruments and vocals are well balanced with a bit of audience audible making for a wonderful listening experience. Two sources were used to present the entire concert, the seams are so good if you did not know where they were at you could never tell.
The second source is used for the entire tuning section that begins the first disc and the band start with Chunga’s Revenge, a superb instrumental with a blistering guitar solo from Frank that has an aggressive angry feel to it that garner much applause. After his solo he addresses the audience and introduces the musicians and with a “Let’s Go” they go right into Keep It Greasy, an obvious ode to anal sex. Arthur Barrow’s bass playing is incredible, he assaults his frets with mastery and ease creating a solid funk style rhythm. The dream like feeling brought by Outside Now is perfection again features another incredible Zappa guitar solo that seems to cling in the air to great effect.
City Of Tiny Lights is sluggish but again Frank saves the piece with a great solo that seems to inspire the other musicians who pick it up and make for a strong finish. The band plays a couple songs that would be released on Tinsel Town Rebellion the following year, Bamboozled By Love and Pick Me I’m Clean. They then break into a large chuck of side two of the also then unreleased You Are What You Is beginning with Society Pages. I’m A Beautiful Guy sounds like cheesy game show music but perhaps the highlight of the suite is Charlie’s Enormous Mouth, its lyric is very witty with keyboard accents perfectly inserted in various places.
The second disc begins with two tracks from the first Mothers Of Invention record. You Didn’t Try To Call Me featuring the doo-wop tinged with funk that is quite enjoyable. The second source is used for the next three songs starting at the 1:42 mark during I Ain’t Got No Heart, all of Love Of My Life and for the first 2 minutes of You Are What You Is. There is also a small patch during Easy Meat that is so miniscule it’s not even worth mentioning. The main set is concluded with Joe’s Garage and Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?, they both seem to bring out the best in the band as Joe’s Garage is simply wonderful. The tongue in cheek Why Does It Hurt When I Pee? is not only dealing with a hilarious subject but the music is hard rock avant garde at its best with a tinge of European tradition thrown in. Frank again introduces the band members and Ray White’s name is introduced numerous times, one can only wonder if he was making a jest at having such a small touring band.
The band is quickly brought back for an encore, Dancin’ Fool again features Ray White getting some props and when I heard the Yowza line I had to laugh out loud as I had not heard that in some time. Bobby Brown also from the Sheik Yerbouti record features some interesting lyrical content, both songs utilize the small band to their advantage. Ms. Pinky does not have the heavy guitar but does not suffer without it, Frank’s ode to self love aid is a classic and features a Tonight Show style ending that garners a huge ovation from the audience. I Don’t Wanna Get Drafted gets a pre official release airing and The Illinois Enema Bandit, featuring one last killer Frank guitar solo, closes the set to rapturous applause, certainly much deserved. The outro features commentary from a radio announcer.
The packaging is typical tri fold sleeve adorned with live shots of Zappa and his band as well as accurate liner notes. This version of the show was lovingly assembled by fans and with the intention of providing the most complete version of this concert and deservedly so, the performance and sound quality make this a fan favorite. The Don has done a wonderful job on this title and is the definitive version of the Rotterdam 1980 gig.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)