Je Suis Une Légende (Cosmic Top Secret Laboratories CTS-012 1/2)
Parc du Penfield, Brest, France – March 19th, 1979
Disc 1 (54:46): Intro., Persona Non Grata, band introduction, Dead Girls Of London, I Ain’t Got No Heart, Brown Shoes Don’t Make It, Cosmik Debris, Tryin’ To Grow A Chin, City Of Tiny Lights, Dancin’ Fool, Easy Meat
Disc 2 (47:13): Jumbo Go Away, Andy, Inca Roads, Florentine Pogen, Honey Don’t You Want A Man Like Me?, Peaches En Regalia, Montana, Dirty Love
Je Suis Une Légende documents the March 19th, 1979 Frank Zappa soundboard from Brest, France. The extent of Zappa’s live performances that year were in Europe from February to April 1st, and Brest occurs by the tour’s end. The tape first appeared on vinyl in 1988 on Brest (shogun 13040 a-d), Live in Brest France (Part 3) and 79 Brest Zappa Pt 3.
The only previous compact disc with this tape is Brest (Moustache Magic Music MMM-03-31/32), released in 2003. This also has the February 12th Apollo Theater, Manchester show divided so that each disc has half of each show.
It is one of the most widely circulated Zappa shows. Copied from a band member’s reel-to-reel, Cosmic Top Secret utilize the best available 2nd generation tape. Some call this recording “dark” and even “dull,” but that is because the lower frequencies are emphasized. Rather than “dark,” it sounds much heavier than one would normally expect from a Zappa tape.
Zappa starts the show with a long, ten minute long guitar solo, playing “Revenge of the Knick-Knack People” from Läther and ending with the heavy power chords from “On The Bus” from as yet released Joe’s Garage (the piece would be recorded after this tour, from April to June and would be released in September). Some sources claim he also plays “He Used to Cut the Grass” from Joe’s Garage but it’s hard to hear the melody.
After the long band introduction they get into the scorching “Dead Girls Of London.” It’s interrupted near the beginning when someone throws a beer can onstage. Zappa warns them that, if there’s one more can thrown they will end the show. He then asks some “schmuck” to tell the audience in French so the get the message. It must have worked since there are no more interruptions.
“Brown Shoes Don’t Make It,” one of Zappa’s masterpieces and considered by the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame as one of the greatest 500 songs, is played just like on Tinseltown Rebellion. He makes several mentions of the “secret word,” introducing each member of the band as “and on guitar we have….” Also in this song, and in the following song “Cosmik Debris,” are several mentions of Thomas Nordeg’s $500 belt buckle.
“City Of Tiny Lites” Denny Wally plays one of his best ever slide guitar solos, sounding very menacing and disorienting. It’s followed by Zappa playing the solo from “Filthy Habits” and a very short keyboard solo. The closing verses are embellished by synthesizer and electric piano before it segues into “Dancing Fool.”
Vinnie Colaiuta’s drum are all over the place in that song, changing rhythms at will. Zappa ends the song with a smarmy impersonation of a pick up in a bar as the song cheekily segues into “Easy Meat.”
Easily the highlight of the night is the challenging “Inca Roads.” Every tour this is on has its own characteristics. Zappa plays a blistering solo which has a strong middle eastern sound to it, and at times threatens to morph into the “Sheik Yerbouti Tango” at times.
The set ends with “Peaches En Regalia.” The encores are standard for the tour featuring a solo-less “Montana.” Tommy plays interesting riffs while Zappa tunes up for “Dirty Love.” Frank thanks the audience for being on guitar for the evening, and wishes them good night.
Je Suis Une Légende is one of the Europe 1979 soundboards which really needed a definitive silver release. CTS utilize big digi-packs for their packaging and have managed to produce one of the most gorgeous looking Frank Zappa releases.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)