Viva Zappa (Godfather Records GR532/533)
Palasport San Lazzaro, Padova, Italy – October 13th, 1984
Disc 1 (55:42): Zoot Allures, I Am The Slime, Cocaine Decisions, Nig Biz, Outside Now, More Trouble Every Day, Penguin In Bondage, Hot Plate Heaven At The, Green Hotel, Advance Romance, He’s So Gay, Bobby Brown, Keep It Greasey
Disc 2 (47:13): Alien Orifice, Bamboozled By Love, Sharleena, Lets Move To Cleveland, Joes Garage, Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?, Closer You Are/Johnny, Darling, No No Cherry, Illinois Enema Bandit
Frank Zappa toured extensively in the latter half of 1984 including a six week tour of Europe. The show in Padova, Italy occurs right before the tour ened with three shows in Rome. Several audience recordings are in circulation for this date and an incomplete soundboard tape (which starts in the middle of “Nig Biz”).
On Viva Zappa, Godfather use the best sounding audience tape only. It is very well balanced and clear with no significant audience interference. The tape starts off with Zappa speaking about the Saturday night in Padova before introducing “Zoot Allures,” the most common opener which segues into “I’m The Slime” instead of “City Of Tiny Lights” as it did in other shows.
What follows is a bizarre show, with some strange and deranged solos. The songs run together with little breaks between except for seamless segues. It produces a strange stream-of-consciousness effect.
Something happens to Ray during “Advance Romance.” He fails to sing an entire verse and also messed up the reprise of the vocals at the end of the solo. From this point there is a lot of laughing about Ray White and “brown-out” (and the obscure verse: “I tell all the girls they can wipe my heinie.”)
“Bamboozled By Love” has the interesting counter-melody of Yes’ “Owner Of A Lonely Heart.” The set ends with fifteen minutes of “Let’s Move To Cleveland.” It shows the depth of talent in Zappa and the band that they can move from jazz to blues to melodramatic 80s style hair metal at the drop of a hat during the long improvisation.
The encore set returns to the oldies “Joe’s Garage” and “Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?” (with much laughter. “No No Cherry” brings some big band swing to the show and leads into the final encore “Illinois Enema Bandit,” a heavy Chicago electric blues.
Viva Zappa is a great release on the Godfather label and one of the very few boots to appeaer from Zappa’s European tour in 1984. The only other one that has been released in the past couple of years is Tiny Is As Tiny Do (Guitar Master-002/003). It is packaged in the trifold gatefold sleeve with attractive graphics utilizing photographs from the show.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)