Archive for the ‘The Zappa Band’ Category

[ATTENDED: September 4, 2021] King Crimson

This show was originally scheduled at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, which would have been an amazing place to see King Crimson.  The sound would have been incredible, and it’s only 30 minutes from my house.  When this was first rescheduled, it appeared that they’d be playing at the Count Basie in Red Bank, which would have been fine–great sound, but a further drive.  Then it wound up at PNC Bank Center, which has less great sound, but is a nice venue and is very easy to get to.

A few days before the show I heard an ad on the radio that said this was King Crimson’s final tour. I hadn’t heard that before.  And maybe if they had originally played in 2020, they might have done another stretch into 2021…who knows.  Anyhow, an article recently said that yes, this was probably the final tour, but they didn’t want to make a big deal about it.  So it’s possible that this will be my final King Crimson show (five times in eight years is pretty good–especially for King Crimson).

The last few times King Crimson has played two 90 minute sets.  But this time they had the Zappa Band opening for them.  Which meant that they’d do only one set.  Sadly, for the same amount of money.  But oh well.  What this meant was that they did a 90 minute set that almost felt like a greatest hits (of the last few tours) package.

I decided to splurge somewhat for this show–not paying for a VIP, sorry Robert–but I was reasonably close and more or less in the middle.

The back row has remained consistent throughout these tours: Tony Levin (bass, Stick, keyboards this time, too); Mel Collins (saxes, flutes); Jakko Jakszyk (guitar, vocals), and of course, Robert Fripp (guitar and more).  From this vantage point I could see everyone very clearly, which was ideal.  A very obnoxious couple sat down next to me but there were, thankfully, two empty seats on the other side of me so I slid over and was able to sit between the heads of the two people in front of me for an unobstructed view.  The obnoxious couple left mid set…huh. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 4, 2021] The Zappa Band

When this tour was announced, I was pretty pleased to see that The Zappa Band was opening for King Crimson.  I’ve been a fan of Frank Zappa’s music for years, but I never saw him while he was a live and I’ve never seen any of the various posthumuous offerings that have come around.

I’ve often thought about going to see Dweezil play his dad’s music but I haven’t (looking at the setlist, there’s quite a lot of good stuff there).

But this was an “official” Zappa project, and better yet they were going to be playing where I was planning to be.  Although this lineup isn’t exactly chock full of great Zappa names, everyone in the group has a connection of some merit.

The Zappa Band’s lineup features Zappa alumni Ray White (lead vocals, guitar), Mike Keneally (guitar, keys, vocals), Scott Thunes (bassist) and Robert Martin (keyboards, sax, vocals), and ZPZ alums Jamie Kime (guitar) and ZAPPA archivist Joe “Vaultmeister” Travers (drums, vocals).

I recognized Ray White’s voice immediately (he’s been on 20 plus records).  The other voices were actually quite close approximations to the original.  But really the most amazing thing was hearing  these really complicated and fast pieces done live (and perfectly).

I was pretty delighted to hear “Zomby Woof” a nonsensical song that I’ve always liked.  And I would have been thoroughly disappointed if they hadn’t played “Peaches en Regalia.”  It was somewhere during this song t hat I realized that none of the people on stage was Dweezil Zappa.  I was fairly certain this was his band, but it clearly was not.

I have listened to most of Zappa’s albums many times, (but he has about 1,000 releases).  So I was surprised when I didn’t recognize some songs.  I was even more surprised to find that “I Ain’t Got No Heart” was on Freak Out, and album I particularly like. (more…)

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[POSTPONED: June 22, 2020] King Crimson / The Zappa Band [moved to  2021]

indexI have seen King Crimson four times and have been blown away by each show.  Even hearing many of the same songs doesn’t dampen my enjoyment since the songs are so amazing to see live.

Given the fickleness of Robert Fripp, it’s always possible that the band will break up at any moment.  Given that, I will see them every time they come close, and the fact that they were coming to new Brunswick (super close!) was like a personal invitation.

Normally there is no opening act.   I don’t know if the addition of an opening act meant less King Crimson time.  But the opening act was The Zappa Band.

I’ve been a big fan of Zappa’s work for years, although I never saw him live.  I’ve considered going to the various posthumous shows, but they all seem kind of cheesy.  The Dweezil show is supposed to be okay, but I feel like I;d have to have a real lull in shows to go out to see him.

However, having them open for a show that I was already going to was the best of all worlds.  Especially given the current lineup:

The Zappa Band’s lineup features Zappa alumni Ray White (lead vocals, guitar), Mike Keneally (guitar, keys, vocals), Scott Thunes (bassist) and Robert Martin (keyboards, sax, vocals).  I mean, that’s practically the Zappa band without Zappa right there.  It seems like Dweezil is not even part of this show, which is interesting.

I didn’t know if the end of June would be a safe time to see a show, and clearly neither did KC or State Theatre, as this show was postponed in early April.

King Crimson, originally scheduled for June 22, has been postponed. We have been closely following the developing news on COVID-19 and the current response recommendations from our Federal, State, and Local officials. The health and well-being of our guests, artists, and staff are our top priority. Ticket holders will be contacted as soon as we have a new date. Current tickets will be valid for the rescheduled date, once announced, and if you are unable to make the new date, we will discuss alternate arrangements. Due to the high volume of changed or cancelled performances, we ask that you please wait for State Theatre to contact you in regard to your tickets.

I hope when the show is rescheduled, that The Zappa Band opens.  That sounds like a blast.


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