Zappa Plays Zappa
December 12, 2006
The Tabernacle
Atlanta , GA



I can't believe I didn't put in to cover the Zappa Plays Zappa show until the last minute. I wasn't going to go. I was going to rest up for my big trip to San Francisco. At the last minute, curiosity got the better of me and I decided to do it. I cannot possibly tell you how glad I am that I did. This was phenomenal. It may have been the best show of the year. From a musical standpoint it certainly was. Overall, I'll have to think about it some more. Still - it was unbelievable!

I've been a Zappa fan since childhood. When he died, I felt crushed. I never thought I'd get to hear these songs live. When I heard about Zappa Plays Zappa, I had mixed feelings. First off, there's no way that Dweezil can take the place of his father or even do the legacy justice, right? Well, I was wrong...very, very wrong.

It only took the first couple of bars of the opening song "Andy" to know it. It was perfect, gorgeous and everything I ever could've wanted (Oh, that glorious guitar sound!). "Andy" then segued into "Call Any Vegetable"! I was giddy with excitement by this point. I stood on the back of the floor at a nearly packed Tabernacle to watch this show. "Idiot Bastard Son" was cool enough but I lost it when "Florentine Pogen" started. Now this is music! I'd actually forgotten how awe-inspiring, melodic and incredible much of this music is. Vocalist / sax player Napoleon Murphy Brock was perfect and Dweezil was better than perfect. The other guys (and girl) were exactly what was needed. Audience favorites "I'm The Slime" and "Don't Eat The Yellow Snow" (minus the "Nanook Rubs It" bit) kept me going but it was an inexplicably unreal "Inca Roads" that made me feel overwhelmed. The marimba, the guitar, the bass, the drums...everything was there and exact! I felt joy and happiness. I felt humbleness from a musical standpoint. I felt exhilarated. Then it got even better!

Zappa band vocalist / drummer Terry Bozzio joined the band on a positively obscene "ginormous" drum kit to sing lead on "I'm So Cute" and "Trying To Grow A Chin". I never expected I'd hear these live...much less with the original singer. Oh, it rocked!

Then they called up another special guest. For the first time, Denny Whalley showed up on this tour to join in on Bongo Fury 's "Advance Romance". His slide work sounded exactly like 1975 all over again. Terry then took back over the spotlight for "Punky's Whips" and a jaw dropping "Black Page". The drum solo section was crazy enough. Then, could it be? Steve Vai himself wandered onstage to join in for "The Black Page" part 2. The highs kept getting higher. "Peaches En Regalia", "Montana" and especially "Zomby Woof" gave Vai the chance to be Vai. Just like every other time I've seen him, I couldn't help but wonder how he got those sounds out of his guitar. The main set ended with Dweezil leading the band (minus guests) through a perfect rendition of Zoot Allures ' "Black Napkins."

During the encore, "Oh No" (one of my favorite Zappa melodies) devolved into "Son Of Orange County" which wound up in a drum solo that become a duet. Joe Traverz (the regular drummer) started out. Apparently, he decided to play a joke on Terry Bozzio and play Bozzio's Baby Snakes solo note for note. Terry came out laughing hysterically, then JOINED IN and hit every beat and mannerism perfectly with Joe. It didn't even sound like 2 drummers. That may sound pointless but from a musician's standpoint, it's all the more mind boggling.

I was a bit surprised by "Trouble Every Day" but it was a good kind of surprised. It's kind of sad that this song is still so appropriate 40 years later but it speaks both to Frank Zappa and the human condition. Dweezil and crew closed out with the introductions as Vai vamped on "Token Of My Extreme". I was blown away. I can't wait for the promised DVD from this tour. At 3 straight hours with no intermission, Zappa Plays Zappa threw down the gauntlet. And when Napoleon Murphy Brock introduced Dweezil as "the new captain of the ship", no one disagreed. Who'd a thunk it?

If you like Zappa, you must see Zappa Plays Zappa.


Photos and review by Chris McKay /



Zappa Plays Zappa Set List For Atlanta on December 12, 2006:
(Click the links below for very brief YouTube clips from this show!)

1. Andy
2. Call Any Vegetable
3. Tell Me You Love Me
4. Pygmy Twylyte
5. Idiot Bastard Son
6. Cheepnis
7. Florentine Pogen
8. I'm The Slime
9. Pound For A Brown
10. Don't Eat The Yellow Snow
11. St. Alfonzo's Pancake Breakfast
12. Father Oblivion
13. Inca Roads
14. I'm So Cute (With Terry Bozzio)
15. Tryin' To Grow a Chin (With Terry Bozzio)
16. Advance Romance
(featuring Denny Whalley and Terry Bozzio)
17. Punky's Whips (With Terry Bozzio)
18. The Black Page Part 1(With Terry Bozzio)
19. The Black Page Part 2
(With Terry Bozzio and Steve Vai)
20. Peaches En Regalia (With Steve Vai)
21. Montana (With Steve Vai)
22. Village of the Sun (With Steve Vai)
23. Echidna's Arf (Of You) (With Steve Vai)
24. Zomby Woof (With Steve Vai)
25. Black Napkins


26. Oh No / Son Of Orange County
(With Steve Vai and Terry Bozzio)
27. Trouble Every Day
(With Steve Vai and Terry Bozzio)
28. Introductions / Token Of My Extreme (Instrumental)
(With Steve Vai and Terry Bozzio)