Frank Zappa – Delicious Watermelon For Easter (Guitar Master GM-009/10)

Delicious Watermelon For Easter (Guitar Master GM-009/10)

Congress Centrum, Hamburg, Germany – February 28th, 1979

Disc 1 (75:04):  Instrument check, Treacherous Cretins, Introduction, Dead Girls Of London, I Aint Got No Heart, Brown Shoes Dont Make It, Cosmik Debris, Tryin To Grow A Chin, City Of Tiny Lights, Dancin Fool, Easy Meat, Jumbo Go Away, Andy, Inca Roads, Florentine Pogen

Disc 2 (64:14):  Honey Dont You Want A Man Like Me, Keep It Greasey, The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing, For The Young Sophisticate, Wet T-Shirt Night, Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?, Peaches En Regalia, Yellow Snow Suite, Pound For A Brown, Watermelon In Easter Hay

Delicious Watermelon For Easter (Guitar Master GM-009/10) utilizes a very good to excellent soundboard recording of the February 28th 1979 Hamburg show.  There is a tape flip in “Easy Meat” at 2:53 and a tape change in “For The Young Sophisticate” at 1:33.  Nothing significant is missing from the show however and all of the songs from the evening’s set is included.

A review of the show states: 

This is one of those ’79 shows that it is a good idea to track down and own. It is an orgy of extended Frank guitar solos, with a bonus Monster song thrown in at the end, complete with a little Rock Lobster for dessert

From the get go, things are sounding good with my nomination for one of Frank’s best opening selections ever, “Treacherous Cretins”. Once the ominous arpeggio quickly silences the ready-for-action crowd, Frank steps forward with a restrained yet forceful solo. With both Vinnie and Artie playing relatively reserved roles, Frank cautiously explores the Treacherous vamp, slowly escalating his solo to a controlled yet exhilarating peak.

We get none of the “where the hell are we now” frenzy of many of Frank’s other ’79 solos (see SUNPYG), but instead are treated to a reserved yet thorough exploration of one of Frank’s darker themes. As the solo slowly builds in intensity, Frank and company flirt with the wilder regions of improv, but pull themselves back out of respect for the boundaries of the Treacherous theme. Truly, this is one of Frank’s more accomplished solos.

From here on out, things manage to stay interesting. “Brown Shoes Don’t Make It” finds Frank ad-libbing the line- “The answer is the same in every language”- in response to the “What would you do, Frankie?” query- a short little addition which brought a smile to my face. Denny almost makes it through “Tryin to Grow A Chin” without a flubbed lyric, but trips up on the final verse. “City of Tiny Lites” surprises us all with a lengthy and surprisingly good for this tour Frank solo.

“Easy Meat”- the second of the expected ’79 highlights- finds Frank’s solo starting off rather weakly. Attempting to build his solo on an improvised theme, Frank toys with this theme for approximately a minute, failing to get anything interesting going. Fortunately, he realizes that he is going nowhere, takes a short breather, and then starts up again with a frenzy of metallic notes. Ugliness prevails, and the solo is redeemed.

The third of the three expected highlights more than meets expectations, as Frank’s “Inca Roads” solo is an eight minute tour-de-force. Forsaking any thought of slowly building a solo upon an improvised theme, Frank simply starts soloing the instant we enter solo territory, attacking the guitar with an abandon that is in complete contrast with the deliberateness of his opening solo. Vinnie and Artie manage to stay around for the ride, but it is obvious that they are playing catch-up through most of this. Frank has his blinders on, and amazingly enough, manages to keep focused for the duration of the ride. This is another amazing “Inca Roads” endeavor.

The show proceeds as normal from this point on, with an always enjoyable “Wet T-Shirt Nite” popping up, and some typical “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow” audience participation helping to vary the landscape. Frank has one last surprise in store for us, however, with an encore “Pound for a Brown” helping to end the night. Like it’s Halloween ’78 cousins, this “Pound” is a veritable solo fest, with Eddie, Petey, Vinnie, Tommy, Artie, and Frankie all getting a chance to solo.

Ed’s percussion display is rather short, Pete’s solo is reminiscent of his YCDTOSA Volume IV display (though nowhere near as satisfying), and Vinnie’s solo is, well, a drum solo. It is only after Vinnie’s solo, however, that things get truly interesting. The “Five-five-five” vamp starts up once Vinnie finishes, and over this, Mars’ gets to take his somewhat short solo.

Frank eventually steps forth, though by this time the vamp is much calmer and more percussion oriented. Frank solos for awhile, before Arthur gets his chance to shine, throwing in some nice “Rock Lobster” quotes for good measure. This eventually leads back into a Frank solo, which concludes this Monster with a heavier dose of “Five-five-five” action. As the ultimate teaser, and perfect show closer, Frank segues into “Watermelon in Easter Hay”, which is used as the closing vamp for this must hear ’79 show.

Track this one down and enjoy.


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