Live At Leroy Theater (Godfather Records GR 498/499)
Leroy Theater, Pawtucket, RI – October 27th, 1976
Disc 1 (58:51): The Purple Lagoon, Stinkfoot w/ Mexican Hat Dance, The Poodle Lecture, Dirty Love, Wind Up Workin’ In A Gas Station, Tryin’ To Grow A Chin, The Torture Never Stops, City Of Tiny Lights, You Didn’t Try To Call Me, Manx Needs Women, Titties ‘n Beer
Disc 2 (53:25): Black Napkins, Advance Romance w/ In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida excerpt. Encore 1: The Purple Lagoon, Dinah-Moe Humm, Muffin Man, The Purple Lagoon. Encore 2 :What Kind Of Girl Do You Think We Are?, Stranded In The Jungle, The Purple Lagoon
In October 1976 Frank Zappa toured with vocalists Ray White and Lady Bianca (who contributed strong gospel influences), Eddie Jobson from Roxy Music on violin and keyboards and the O’Hearn/Bozzio rhythm section. With a scaled back band, there was a fluid quality to the arrangements with a great deal of spontaneity. Godfather use the Lampinski tape for Live A Leroy Theater, making its silver pressed debut. The sound is in excellent stereo and, like his other recordings, does well in capturing the atmosphere of the event.
Zappa played two shows on October 27th in the Leroy Theater. Lampinski seems to have taped the first show, based on the available known setlist. This tape is valuable not only for being a hot performance but for capturing the brief time Lady Bianca was on tour. She only lasted a month and left because she felt uncomfortable singing some of the highly sexual lyrics. Lady Bianca was in the band when the tour started in Miami on October 16, 1976, and quit sometime between November 11th-16th ’76. (The last tape with Bianca is Quebec November 11th and the first without her is Toronto November 16).
The tape starts off with the band jamming on “The Purple Lagoon,” a melody they would play several times throughout the show. Zappa comes onstage, introduces the band and complains about how cold it is in the theater, again something he would do several times throughout the show. “Stinkfoot” contains some exotic guitar playing throughout.
“Wind Up Working For A Gas Station” is referred to as a song about “higher education.” Later on, “The Torture Never Stops” is stretched to twleve minutes and is taken at a much more relaxed pace with a laid back hippy quality. This stands in contrast to the explosive “City Of Tiny Lights.” Bianca sings on the following “You Didn’t Try To Call Me” and has a little role in the mephistophelian “Titties N Beer.”
“Black Napkins” is the soloing tour-de-force of the set. Expanded past eighteen minutes, Bianca starts it off with her jazz singing. Jobson follows and replaces Napoleon Murphy Brock’s saxophone with the violin, creating a gorgeous dreamscape which Zappa picks up on the guitar. Lampinski can be heard on the tape complaining about the cold and explaining to his friend that Zappa played this song alone on the previous tour.
“Advance Romance” follows. And again Bianca sings the song and it’s a great ten minute long improv but it was only in the set for a couple weeks. O’Hearn starts off the solo and Zappa eventually joins. It is very loose with a reference to “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vidda” and closes the show.
When Zappa comes back on for the encore he again complains about the cold and tells the audience how familiar they look, as if he cold have gone to high school with them. “Dinah-Moe Humm” and “Muffin Man” are the first encore and the second is “What Kind Of Girl Do You Think We Are?” and “Stranded In The Jungle” with “The Purple Lagoon” closing the show. Overall this is a fascinating and fun show to listen to emphasized by the wonderful sound quality of the tape. It’s great to see this on silver disc and this is worth having.