an intensive report of a concert
This story begins a long way back...
For now, we'll start it in 2001. In April of this year, I purchasedmy first Frank Zappa record, Son Of Cheep Thrills. I played it forthe first time whilst solving a jigsaw, which was my favourite hobby atthe time. After it had finished, half an hour later, I thought: Hey, where'sthe music? and played the album again. And again.
When I went to bed later that night, I couldn't remember anythingof the music I'd just been listening to. I thought harder, and could comeup with something; the ever-returning yelp "Dis-co Boooo-hooooyyyyy!" Iplayed the song again, and again, and again... and made the resolutionthat I should really try to find out more about this Zappa guy.
That was not easy. Mainly because of my bad memory. Whenever Igot on-line, I'd begin checking my mail, then the news, then the Primusbullboard, then I'd log off before I'd done my search. It all acceleratedwhen I saw a television show, a game show in which famous people neededto answer questions about music. They had one game round where one teamwore masks on their faces, and had to ask questions to the opposing teamtrying to find out who they "were". This time a familiar face was on. "Hey,Frank Zappa!" my dad said. To which I reacted with "Hush!" and relocatedmyself so I sat right in front of the telly.
One of the Frank Zappas asked: "Have I had any hits recently?"to which the opponents answered "Nooooo..." The host then said: "You can't,because you're dead."
The team hadn't noticed that remark. I had, and sat in front ofthe television, broken-hearted. Not even the video of Brown Shoes Don'tMake It they played afterwards could cheer me up. I immediately loggedon, and found out all I could. The great Frank Zappa had passed away in1993 of prostate cancer, aged 52. He had spread the genes in 4 children,all answering to the most wonderful names. I especially enjoyed the nameDweezil. When I read some more about Dweezil, I learnt he had voiced Ajaxin the cartoon series Duckman.
I used to watch Duckman. My sister was a big fan of theshow. And one day, back when I was a little 13-year-old, when we were watchinga taped episode, we noticed a strange name in the credits. So we playedback the tape and paused it in order to be able to read it. Of course,there was this one big grey horizontal line running through the middleof the name, making it harder for us to read. But eventually, we decipheredit...
-"Dweeeee-ziiiil..." Who the heck is called Dweezil?"
-"Dweezil of course!"
-"That's not too weird... There's a Frank Zappa you know...
It's been too long, and I don't remember who said what. But I recallnone of us made the link between these two Zappas.
Shortly after I found out all I wanted to know about Frank Zappa,I passed my secondary school-exams. My neighbours gave me a CD-voucherworth 25 guilders. I took it to the Free Record Shop, and wanted to buyanother Frank album. Unfortunately, they were all overly expensive. Upto 40 guilders, back then some 20 US dollars, now some 20 euros, for about37 minutes of music. So I looked for the cheapest I could find. It stillcost more than the voucher was worth, but I got it anyway. It was HaveI Offended Someone?
Initially I regretted it, after listening to Bobby Brown,and a completely different version of Disco Boy. But after a fewweeks I played it in full, and heard the most wonderful songs. From thatpoint, I was definitely a Frank fan.
In late 2001, I found an album by Dweezil, Automatic. Ifound it slightly too expensive to risk buying it.
But in early 2002, I found a cheap record store where they hadit at a lower price. So I bought it... and really liked it! And I becamea Dweezil fan on top of being a Frank fan.
I didn't realize what a Dweezil fan I was, until I went to a CDfair, somewhere in 2003. I had brought approximately 20 Euros, and hadone sole aim: getting a copy of Frank's Joe's Garage. In the first stallI checked, there was a copy of My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama.It looked interesting. Of course anything with a handsome fellow on thecover looks interesting. So I planned: If I can't find Joe's Garage,I'll get this album. I continued my search, and didn't find Joe's Garage.So I went back to the first stall... and My Guitar was gone! Foulterms sprang into my mind.
For two years, I searched for this album. Eventually I found acopy through the Internet, all the way in Ruinen. It cost 10 Euros, a bargain!But having it posted to me would cost another E 5,50, and that was morethan I wanted to afford; so I went to pick it up. It cost 4 hours to getthere, and another 4 hours to get back home.
I think I played it only twice. Didn't like the album. But, I hadit!
In May 2005, my dream came true: Dweezil and brother Ahmet werecoming to The Netherlands, to play Frank's music! It was the one thingI was hoping for! And when I heard of the possibility of getting a VIPticket, I was over the moon with joy! Attending the sound check was prettycool, but a meet and greet with the band... that was just IT!
I was going to meet Dweezil! And Ahmet! And a lot more people whosenames were unknown at the time! Woooow.....
Then the first patient wait came. We didn't know when the ticketswere going on sale...
A month after the announcement, mid-June, we heard the sales werestarting on Saturday, July 2nd.
On that day, I woke up at 9 AM, because sales were starting at10, and there were only a limited amount of VIP tickets, and I desperatelywanted one. At 9:45 I got on-line, searched for the ticket master, andat precisely 10 AM clicked the link to buy the tickets.
Alas! I had no Ticket master account yet, and had to get one beforebuying the ticket! Nerves... When I initially clicked the link, it ws unavailablebecause there were too many people on it, so I had to hurry! But I managed!Whew!
(For weeks on end, I was checking if the tickets were sold outyet. They were sold out in 6 weeks.)
This is my ticket. It cost E 135, plus E 4,50 foradministration/service, plus E 5 for the credit card use. E 144,50 in total.That's a lot!
In order to afford it, I had to make sacrifices.
First I needed to get the money. I got a newspaper round duringmy summer holidays. So instead of visiting museums in London or lying inthe sun in Antalya, I got up every working day, Mondays to Saturdays, at5 AM for TWO MONTHS. At 6:30, I'd be done with my job and read the newspaper.In total, I had 1 week of actual HOLIDAY without working during my summervacation.
One positive side effect of this job was the weight loss involved.When school started again friends were telling me I'd got so much thinner.Negative sides were the amount of injuries I had to sustain, the dogs,drunks, and other early morning adventures. Once I cycled through a usedtampon. Yuck! The stench was unbelievable.
One day I found a red-and-wite plastic wrap blocking me from 5addresses where I had to deliver papers. A corpse had been found there,which I didn't know at the time. Wild stories about shooting were goingaround. But it turned out to be a guy who had been stabbed to death. Everyday after that, I cycled past an improvised altar, filled with flowers,reminding me of this horrible occasion.
But my holiday was not the only sacrifice. It also meant I hadto miss a lot of sleep. Every Sunday I slept till 1 PM, but on weekdaysI was exhausted through the day, too sleepy to do much with the rest ofit, and unable to go back to bed. A day lasts real long if you get up soearly.
Going to bed early was a necessity. Though I usually fell overby 20:30, I usually stayed up until 9 30 PM, or 10 if there was a nicemovie on TV. That was another problem. I missed about every good moviethat was on the air, I had to tape the last half of most films.
There was still more. I also had to sacrifice the concerts I wasgoing to. After all, it was a big show, and expensive too. So no Zappanale,which occured during my newspaper round. no Steve Vai, too expensive andtoo close to 10 November, and no Yngwie Malmsteen, Rosa Ensemble or Joe'sGarage Live.
All this was worth it for me. I wanted to meet Dweezil very bad.Since I heard of the concert, I have been fantasizing about meeting him,thinking of what I was going to say and stuff. I had a huge list of questions,wanted to tell him about the thesis I was writing, my study, my Galleryof Great Guitarists...
I dreamt around this time about meeting Dweezil at the concert.He was wearing the same T-shirt as I was: a green shirt with the words"School of Heavy Steel - Make Way For No One" and a picture of a truck.At this point, I decided I was going to wear this tee.
Barely a week after I bought this ticket, disaster began to strike,slowly but painfully.
One of the confirmed special guests for the show, Mark Volman,posted a message on the Zappa forum about the tour being postponed. Ohdear...
The tour was organized by the Zappa Family Trust (ZFT). They havea bad name when it comes do actually doing the stuff they announce. I wasalready seeing ZPZ in the same ranking as Dance Me This, the Roxymovie, the 200 Motels DVD and Trance-Fusion, other ZFT-projectsthat have been announced but haven't happened yet. I suffered visions ofmissing out on my summer holidays for nothing.
For two months, the Zappa fans were left in the dark about whatwas happening. In early September shows in Switzerland and France werecancelled. Oh dear...
It wasn't until mid-September that the shows were officially postponed.Reasons why were supposed to come later.
The official postponement of Amsterdam came not until October.The concert was moved to May 15th, which raised some eyebrows since that'sthe birthday of Ahmet, one of the performers.
The official reasons for postponement were never given. The Belgianmedia were talking about "unknown videos that had been found, and thatthe sons wanted to incorporate in the show". This was given in 2 languages,and both versions slightly differed from each other.
On the Zappa forum, Mrs Frank, Gail, occasionally pops up to announcea new release. When asked about the postponement, she replied it partlyhad to do with people not being available, and partly with lacking ticketsales.
I was relatively lucky. Since I get free travel as a student, andI have a sister living in Amsterdam, I didn't need to book hotels or whatever.Some people did have to, and have lost a lot of money due to this. Otherpeople couldn't come at all on the new date, or saw their date being cancelledaltogether.
Naturally, this caused a lot of frustration among fans, and I wasone of them. For months I have had some very cruel remarks on my web site.Also I made some nasty cartoons about the tour hectic. Here's one:
Angry Bonny
It was based on one of the funniest drawings of DonaldDuck, where he is really, really very pissed off. That picture was madeby Carl Barks, which is why this gag is dedicated to this comic artist.
Around this time, I hit a deep depression. College problems werecausing havoc with my mood and personae, made worse by personal problemsand the ZPZ problems. My Dweezil-fanhood diminished to 0, due to his advertisingfor H&M, Microsoft, his marriage, the release of another Joe's andof course the whole tour affair. I really regretted the purchase of thisticket. My E 145 seemed to be wasted. I expected a cancellation of thetour any day.
Somewhere in December, my ticket gained some value. Steve Vai,Terry Bozzio and Napoleon Murphy Brock were confirmed special guests. Beinga big fan of Bozzio after I've seen him live in 2003, and being very fondof Vai's playing and having missed out on him in October, and being ableto meet these two legends with my ticket, was something that really tickledmy fantasy.
I discovered another Zappa fan I was going to college with, who'dalso attend the concert. He called me a groupie. When he asked me why Ibought a VIP ticket, I couldn't answer him. I really didn't know.
In January I bought a chocolate bar. Not an ordinary chocolatebar, a Chocolonely bar. This bar can only be bought in The Netherlands,in a limited amount of stores, and it's the only chocolate bar brand inthe WORLD that is guaranteed not to have been made using slaves. Slaveryis unfortunately still not banished. The sex slavery is an industry everybodyseems to know about. But to learn that the delicious chocolate, symbolof youth and innocence, is usually made by slaves, was a shock. I wantedto spread the word to the Zappa family. And because the concert was May15th, the birthday of Ahmet, I had the perfect occasion to give him thischocolate bar.
I bought the bar in January, and the concert wasn't until May.I had a chocolate bar lying around for months, without eating it. For twomonths it went well. But in March, my inner strength turned out to be toolittle. After one rough day of boring work (documenting my CD collection)I just ate it all. I felt so weak...
In February, the odds that ZPZ was going through, were going moreand more likely. And in April, when I had my birthday party and when thesun started shining, I started feeling a lot better. Around this time,the rehearsal videos of ZPZ were put on-line. They sounded very good! Theband then played at the Jammy Awards, with Chick Corea. When I heard theMP3 made from that show, I was not too sure about the quality of the band.Inca Roads was played unusually slow, which sounded rather annoying,and the unison lines in the song came out contrapuntal.
In May the stress started. ZPZ was rapidly approaching! The eventI had been looking forward to for a year was taking place!
I did everything to look my best, after all you may never knowwho you meet. So I stopped eating the almighty delicious chocolate, hopingI wouldn't suffer as much acne as I was doing at the time. That was troublesome.I ate chocolate sprinkles for breakfast every day, and on difficult days,I could eat one large bar all by myself. But, from the 17th of April (EasterMonday) to the 15th of May, I did not eat any chocolate. More about thisexperience soon.
In the days before the event, I began preparing everything. I wrappedAhmet's birthday presents (chocolate bar, and a pack of balloons), putmy clothes in the right place, made a copy of my Sebastiaan Snavelhoutdrawing as I knew I was going to meet the original, and brought all myDucky guitarists to show to Dweezil. For a while I even considered copyingmy Dweezil Quackas, but I found it would be too much work.
This is one of them. I made it on September 5th,2005, Dweezil's birthday. One of the problems I had with it involved Dweezil'seye colour. From the cover of Having A Bad Day I couldn't tell whatcolour they were, so I chose a greenish grey. From pictures and interviews,I found any eye colour from brown to blue. My VIP meeting would be theideal occasion to check them out myself.
Finally, the big day came. I put on my black pants, my Donald Ducksocks, black heavy shoes, and of course my green shirt with the truck.In my hair I put my blue sting clasp with little lights in it. I put myZappa T-shirt, a white old shirt with Zappa portrait in black, along withpresents, Ducks, my agenda, a pen, a pencil, my copy of Tolstoi's AnnaKarenina which I was reading at the time, and my ticket, in my linen bagwith home-painted dragon on it. I put on the ugliest coat in the world,a brightly coloured Mi-Tony jacket. My sister and I went to Amsterdam together,she took me to her house. Then we went for a walk through her area, founda photographer where we bought some film for my APS camera. APS is a systemthat uses oval-shaped films. It's hard to get an APS film with 400 ASA,with a high light sensitivity, and I was happy I got one in spite of thehigh price of it.
I promised I'd treat my sister to the snack bar, because we hadlittle time. We went to the Febo just across of the scene of action, theHeineken Music Hall. After finishing my fries, I joined the queue.
The number of VIPs alarmed me. HMH advertised with a "limited"number of VIP tickets, but what is limited? I expected there would be 10to 20 people max. But there were a lot more than that. 60 in fact.
When the doors opened, a little over 17:30, I was one of the firstto go in. They took away my ticket and gave me a purple bracelet instead.It's one of them plastic bands, with a plastic lock that's impossible toopen. They put it on my right arm, which meant I couldn't take it off myselflater.
After some waiting at the bracelet table, I saw Sebastiaan. Hesaw me too, and waved at me. I waved back. A guy came along and openedthe door to the concert hall. I was one of the first to walk in. The bandwas on stage, playing the last few bars of Edchina's Arf (Of You),one of my favourite Zappa songs. I walked straight up to the front of thestage, and stood right in front of THE DWEEZ. I moved a little to the left,because the microphone stand and the monitors were blocking my sight. Igrabbed my camera and started shooting.
This photo was made towards the end of the session.Dweezil is playing the guitar. On the drum kit, we can see Joe Traversthe Vaultmeister peeping past the monitor. Also we can see bass playerPete Griffin from the site, and percussionist Billy Hulting.
After Edchina, upon noticing people walking in, Dweezil asked us:"Did you guys win a contest or anything?" "No we paid for it!" repliedsome guy. "Good, we hope it'll be worth your investment." One of the bandmembers noticed Marcel, a guy wearing a T-shirt of the band of Dweeziland Ahmet, called Z. It's a very recognizable shirt, black with a brightlycoloured picture with a large black Z in the centre. "There's a guy witha Z-shirt over there..." "Good!" replied Dweezil.
Steve Vai and Terry Bozzio are on stage, but Napi isn't. Terryplays us the Black Page. I can't remember whether it was the solo or theduet with Joe.
"You'll just have to prevent it's a surprise..." joked Dweezil.After Black Page 1 the band played Black Page 2. It sounds fantastic! AfterBlack Page, Bozzio left. I realized I forgot to take his picture, and feltstupid.
After this says Dweezil: "Let's see, what else can we play to entertainyou with?" Several people shout song titles. The Adventures of GreggeryPeccary causes Dweezil to say something, but I didn't catch what itwas. Most of it provokes no reaction. At Cheepniz Dweezil says:"We're going to save that for tonight." At Bamboozled By Love: "You'llhave to give us three or four more tours before we can play THAT!"
DZ: "OK, how many of you bought their ticket last year?" The ticketswere sold out in August, so a massive Yay! arises from the crowd, and allraise their hands. Dweezil apologizes for the delay, and, finally, givesus the all-important reason why: "There were these things, you see."
One guy just over to my left said: "Thanks for playing on my birthday!"DZ: "It's your birthday? Congratulations!" I move towards this person andshake his hand. He tells me "Hi, I'm Rick. Actually my birthday was November10th (the original date)".
Dweezil has an idea. He says: "We will probably not be playingthe next song tonight." Scheila Gonzalez starts the intro to Eat ThatQuestion. It was a superb rendition with great soloing by Steve Vai.It seemed to last forever! At the theme towards the end, me and severalothers, among them Rick, were headbanging. Then Steve Vai went away.
Then there were some more requests coming from the audience. UponAndy, a suggestion which was fortified by several audience membersincluding myself, Joe Travers bursts out into Mandy. Theband then proceeds to play St. Alphonso's Pancake Breakfast as sungby Joe Travers, because Napi is not on stage. After a few lines he appearsnear the stage, and Joe sings "And we'll start the song again with Napoleonbecause here he is!" Napi didn't want to cooperate, though. He decidedto give his voice a rest. So Pancake started again, with Joe singing.
After that, Dweezil joked: "One day Gloria Estefan will come outand sing with us. And that'll be the end of the world!" Joe Travers burstout into an Estefan song which I fortunately didn't recognize. Now I learnthow to pronounce Estefan, to which I am most grateful, but I don't thinkI'll be using it very often.
After Pancake, Dweezil decided to play another song they won'tbe performing that night, Imaginary Diseases, "which has been unearthedfrom the vault by Joe Travers". "Thanks Joe!" exclaims some guy. "That'sright..." says Dweezil. A beautiful, emotional rendition of the Zappa songI didn't know at the time. I enjoyed every second. This alone was worthall the effort I spent in getting there.
After Imaginary Diseases, the band leaves the stage. The60 VIP-guests are told to queue for the meet and greet. I find a placein the front of the queue, about the 4th I think. Some lady, apparentlythe tour manager, tells us to get a move on and keep stuff to sign at hand.
Though it was supposed to be a meeting with the band, only Dweezilwas prepared to shake hands. Later I heard Steve Vai came out too and signedsome stuff, but that was brief so quite a few people missed him altogether.
This was it. The moment I'd been awaiting for so long. The firsttwo people in queue, one of them is Sebastiaan, get a nice chat. But thenthe tour manager tells us to hurry up. I grab my agenda, and my camera.Realizing there'll be no time for a photo of the two of us, I quickly snapThe Dweez.
The lady behind Dweezil is the "tour manager" thattold us to get a move on.
Unfortunately, my list of questions got cut short to:
-"May I have your signature?" (I hand him my Monet-agenda and Dexter'sLaboratory-pen.)
-"I have my own pen right here." (shows a big black fibre pen)
(signs, gives me back my agenda).
-"Thank you!"
-"Not at all, thanks for coming!"
And that's it. I began to feel slightly gutted. Then I saw Sebastiaan,and gave him a present (Donald Duck comic book) and the copy of the SebastiaanSnavelhout-drawing, which he seemed to like. "Please colour it yourself!"I told him. We talked a little more. We discovered we were in differentVIP-groups and we wouldn't be sitting in the same box. Then we were chasedaway by the tour manager.
After a while, Seb went to his box, and we said goodbye. I go upto the "purple" box, which wasn't easy to find. I sat myself as far tothe front as possible, grabbed my Tolstoi book from my bag, read it andwept.
Some more people walked into the box. "I'll sit next to you!" saidMarcel, the guy with the Z-shirt. He, too, is both a Dweezil- and Frankfan. He has seen Dweezil two times before. We talked some about Zappa albums,notably Dweezil's Confessions which I was trying to get my handson. At 10 to 8, I remembered I was supposed to meet the members of theZappa forum downstairs. I went down to see if there were any. There wereway too many people. I took a look at the merchandise. All too expensiveto my liking. I went back up again. Then I noticed the drink dispenserand, forgetting my non-chocolate diet, I took a cup of hot cocoa. It wasway too sugary. But amazingly, it made me feel better. Suddenly I realizedthe band was going to play a film before the concert. And from where Iwas sitting, I couldn't see large parts of the stage, so I relocated myselftowards the other end of the box.
Before and during the show, there were ladies prancing about withdishes full of snacks. All of the snacks I tried, were disgusting. Alsothese ladies sometimes tended to walk in front of you. I also found theywere very distracting, and was quite annoyed by them.
The film started. I wanted to grab my agenda to write down thesongs they played. And I found I misplaced my agenda. My agenda! My note-bookwith signature from Dweezil! Oh no! I look around to see if I can findit. I can't. In my bag I find a piece of paper, to write the play liston.
The movie played. Fragments of the yet to be released Roxy DVDFrank-fans have been waiting for since 1975!
The band played Montana, with Napoleon Murphy Brock singing.Then, a lengthy rendition of the instrumental Dupree's Paradise,which I mistakenly considered to be Pedro's Dowry. During this video,which lasted at least 20 minutes, the audience grew very impatient. A lotof them were standing. Luckily I had a box seat with a very comfortablechair and free drinks close at hand. After Dupree, Frank tuned his guitar.During this tuning, the band comes up. Frank disappears and the band playsHelp I'm A Rock. I always considered this the most Primus-like Zappasong, with the shouted singing, the clear and aggressive bass playing andprominent drums. It was possibly the weakest musical point I heard thatnight, as it put out a weak statement.
Then came a slightly messy sounding Hungry Freaks, Daddywhich was very enjoyable all the same, and I started singing along. Andthen it was Let's Make The Water Turn Black! More enjoyment! I musthave been very annoying to listen to that night, from this point on I sangalong with every song.
After these songs, Dweezil talked a little to the audience. Heappeared to be very nervous, said it was the first show of the tour andthanking us for coming three times. The band then bursts out into FlorentinePogen. After that came Pygmy Twilite, Idiot Bastard Sonand Cheepniz. In Cheepniz, Napoleon used this cool effect on hisvoice. Also, Frunobulax was rapidly approaching Amsterdam, Netherlandsinstead of the nuclear power plant.
Then Dweezil was telling us about the usage of young band members,who have been transformed into Zappa Robots. The next song was dedicatedto them, and they could show what they were worth.
To my utter shame I did not recognize this Zappa classic. Laterpeople told me it was King Kong. All members of the band had a chanceof soloing in this song, starting with Napoleon on sax. Then came ScheilaGonzalez on sax, who excited a lot of people later in the tour, but notme that night. In her solo she incorporated the Pink Panther theme, whichshe played again a minute later. At the first appearance it was ratherfunny, but at the second playing it was more of an Oh No experience. Thencame Aaron Arntz on keyboard, who was wonderful! At one point he playedsomething that sounded classical, then switched to ragtime. Sweet!
Also very impressive were the bassist Pete Griffin, rhythm guitaristJamie Kime, percussionist Billy Hulting and of course drummer Joe Travers.A bunch of great musicians playing wonderful music!
After King Kong, the band played something lighter. Theyplayed Don't Eat The Yellow Snow, followed by St. Alphonso'sPancake Breakfast as sung by Napi, and the ever-wonderful FatherO'Blivion.
Dweezil then announced the last song before the interval, one ofhis favourites. Of course they were all favourites, but this one standsout. It was Inca Roads, with some lovely soloing by The Dweez.
During the intermission, I found my agenda back. I had put it bymy side after the video. Then I sneaked out to the Internet zone, whereI logged onto the Zappa-forum and told the members how it was: fantastic.Then I got alarmed by loud music. The band had started without me! I walkedin, and heard the great Terry Bozzio, not only drumming, but singing I'mSo Cute! I sat in my original place, next to Marcel, and enjoyed thiswelcome change of vocals. Napi's fantastic, but Terry's singing live wasas enjoyable as the record version. I'd seen Terry before and was stunnedby him, but seeing him sing and drum at the same time was nothing shortof magic! After I'm So Cute came one of my early favourites, Tryingto Grow A Chin. I loved the cute little descending notes at the endof some of the lines, and of course the chant at the end. The little notesdidn't come out that well, they were played by the guitar but hard to hearfrom where I was sitting.
This beauty was followed by City of Tiny Lights, anothersong I love very much. Dweezil soloed some more.
Then a vocal introduction by Joe to the next song, Punky's Whips.Another gem, shining better with Terry saying "Oh Punky!" in that funnylittle voice of his.
A lengthy introduction to The Black Page follows next. Ina rehearsed interview, Dweezil asks Terry how the song came about and howit had got its name. It was then performed as a drum duet between Joe andTerry. Beautiful, but to be honest, I preferred the solo version. Thencame the Black Page part 2, at which Steve Vai came on stage!
Peaches en Regalia next. Before it, Dweezil told us it wasanother one of his favourites, and at performances of his father, he fellasleep to it on the red padding Frank used. There was also some friendlybanter between Vai and Dweezil. Vai tells us he was one of Dweezil's teachers.When he first taught him, Dweezil could hardly play a single note, butafter a week of hard practice, his playing improved much. "And now lookat him!" Vai said lovingly.
Peaches was as beautiful as ever. And after Peaches, the band brokeinto Montana. Initially I thought "Not that again!", but when SteveVai and Dweezil played a guitar duel, I really braced myself for the fantasticplaying. Bozzio left the stage somewhere around here, but Dweezil toldus he'd come back.
Then the most horrible thing happened. A guy who had been usingcocaine wanted to give a demo of his band to Dweezil, and threw the CDat him. It hit Dweezil's guitar, and from where I was sitting, it lookedlike it shattered.
Silence. My heart started beating a lot faster. Knowing the almightyFrank would have been able to stop the show there, I feared this was goingto happen. But fortunately Dweezil asked him politely to leave. "Pleaseleave... You did it to yourself, man. Please leave," he said. The man wasremoved. And in order to break the silence, Steve joked: "Hey, that's oneof MY CD's!"
Then came the much loved Village of the Sun, of course followedby Edchina's Arf. I didn't mind hearing that again, I loved it!After that came Zomby Woof, which had about the most hair-raisingguitar solo from Steve Vai I could ever imagine. His acrobatics are justincredible!
"The next song will be our last song for this evening..." whichwas greeted with a Boo! from the audience. "The next song is a very emotionalsong..." Dweezils voice trembled. He started rubbing his face. Then theband played Sofa #1, a beautiful instrumental. During and afterthe song, Dweezil was sobbing slightly. It was the cutest, most darlingthing I've ever seen.
Dweezil introduced the band. Napi thanked Frank, our "sponsor".Dweezil corrected him: "I wouldn't say he was our sponsor, sooner our inspirator".The big lights hit, like a smile from the Frank in the sky, and I got alump in my throat. The band took a bow, and left the stage. I was standingin my seat and moved to the front of the balcony. Then came an encore!
Dweezil switched to a Fender Strat that I think was light blue.Or possibly white.
First, we were invited to sing along if we knew the words to thenext song. Wasn't it allowed before then? Oh dear! I remained standingduring the encore, as some annoying orange young lady VIPs who I hadn'tseen during the sound check, were standing and moving along rather distractingly.The band played Camarillo Brillo, followed by the Orange CountyLumber Truck with a solo by Vai, and a very lengthy Trouble EveryDay. During Trouble, there was this great percussion sequence fromTerry, Billy and Joe. Well, great is an understatement. It was thrilling!And Steve Vai had another duet with Dweezil, which was very, very cool.As good-bye, the band played an instrumental rendition of Token Of MyExtreme, at which some members on the standing audience were singingalong. The lump in my throat got bigger. Then the show ended.
After the show, I went to the Internet corner, and whilst listeningto Primus, I logged onto the forum on my web site, PackardGoose. I wrotedown the play list and an extensive review. Then I was chased away. I movedto the Bijlmer station, from there I took the metro to Amsterdam Amstelstation. There I phoned my sister at midnight, asking if she could pickme up. Back home, I told her all, and logged on again to finish my review.Then I went to bed.
The day after, I filled my second film. That was a 200 ASA, sothose photos wouldn't turn out too great. I had my pictures developed asquickly as I could. Then I had a hearing class again, and ended towingalong 3 LP boxes with 26 vinyls to it. I was so sore when I got home.
I was walking in the clouds for days on end. It was beautiful!But at times I realized how miserable the meet and greet was. I summedup for myself what I wanted to ask him again. I still needed to know whenhis new album was out, when the Roxy DVD was out, what his favourite foodwas, and all about Greggery Peccary I could come up with. I didn't getto get my picture taken with Dweezil. Nor did I get to shake his hand.And I forgot to look at his eyes completely! And I didn't introduce myself!How stupid!
I then made myself the following resolution: I had to meet Dweezilagain.
 A few days later, Dad made the suggestion to go to the Brusselsconcert, for which I can't thank him enough.
On the Zappa forum, I announced my plans, and said transport toBrussels was going to be a problem.
Not for one forum member, Luc, who lives in Mol. He invited meto come to Mol and travel along with him. I could stay over with him, even.That offer I eventually turned down. My mother was yelling I might runinto a pedophile (I'm 23, so I'd have nothing to fear, but she wouldn'thear of it). I bought a ticket on-line, and Dad offered to take me to Moland pick me up the same night.
The newspaper-round lady phoned me in panic. There was someonegoing on holiday I needed to replace. I said "OK, but I'm in Brussels onTuesday 30th", and so I replaced this guy. The round was a long way awayfrom my home, and I cycled over 10 kilometres, some 7 miles every day.On Tuesday, I slept late, skipped college, and at around 3:30 PM Dad andI were off. Luc and I had agreed to meet at the station in Mol at 16:45.We were about an hour early, so we went to a second hand shop, and searchedthe place thoroughly. Then we were waiting at the station. I had broughta thermos flask of tea, which unfortunately was leaking. I had to keepit straight up all the time. Also I brought my agenda again. And my photocamera, loaded with a 200 ASA film.
Luc was a loveable fellow, another Zappa-head who didn't know anyother big fans. He had grown a Zappa-styled moustache for the occasion,and joked: "If the news is making a report about this concert, they'llinterview me because of the beard."
If there's such a thing as psychic powers, Luc has them. Indeedthe één news was making a documentary on the concert, andthey asked him for an interview. And I happened to be standing behind him!So Luc's goatee got me on television! Thanks Luc!
Before the concert, I joined a very, very long queue in order toget my ticket. Then we walked inside. We agreed to meet by the exit afterthe concert. At one point I lost them, so I sat on the floor and drankmy tea. Yummy. Then I gave my flask to the good people at the wardrobe,and made my way to my seat.
As I was searching for my place, an "ouvreur", a young, handsomefellow came up to me to help me. I showed him my ticket, and then he talkedto me. Unfortunately, he was a French-speaking Belgian. Belgian-Frenchis completely different from the French we learn at school, and since ithas also been a while since my French class, I couldn't really understandwhat he was saying. He asked me if I was Flemish. I lied and nodded. Hethen took me to some guy, who did speak Dutch. He didn't tell me what wasgoing on, but my ticket was replaced. I ended up closer to the stage thenmy initial seat. There was a nice guy next to me. Unfortunately, he, too,was French-speaking and I didn't understand very much of what he was saying.It took him 5 minutes to get me to understand he's seen Frank live, in1975 at the same hall, Forest National. Luckily, a lovely young man satdown on my right. He was called Tim, Flemish, and he translated some ofwhat the Brussels guy next to me said. Thanks Tim!
Let's be brief about the play list. It was EXACTLY the same asin Amsterdam, including Pink Panther theme and ragtime in King Kong,solos and duets in the same places and all that. Frunobulax was approachingBrussels, Belgium in Cheepniz. Dweezil was wearing the same clothesas well. Considering the series were advertised with "every show beingdifferent", that was a bit of a downer.
The acoustics in the hall were miserable. I heard an echo all thetime. During Bozzio's first song, he was ununderstandable for the firstfew lines. He was turned up, but remained soft. Also the guitars were toosoft.
But the band was tight! Whereas in Amsterdam, Dweezil appearedto be a tight ass apart from having one, all the banter with the crowdwas obviously planned and rehearsed. At the sound check he was making jokesand rather loose, but at the show he was very nervous. In Brussels, Dweezwas unleashed. All his solos were astonishing, and he nearly got me totears in Inca Roads.
Brief concert moments:
After someone exclaims it's his birthday, Dweezil dedicates FlorentinePogen to him: "We'll play this song just for you, because it's yourbirthday!" Pogen had a nice Dweezil solo. After Cheepniz, the crowdwent nuts! Causing Dweezil to say: "I like you guys already!" Scheila'sKing Kong solo in Brussels was a lot better than in Amsterdam. InFather O'Blivion, there was a great percussion solo. Also, Dweezilwas shaking his butt during the song, which I found very amusing. Rightbefore Inca Roads, Dweezil let us guess which is the next song,and hints "A space ship just to land in the Andes'. He made us say thesong title several times in unison. In Inca, Aaron had a cool solo. Dweezil'ssolo was the summit of the two evenings. It got him a loud applause, somepeople were standing up even.
In the intermission, I walked to the front. I couldn't see Lucor the friend Ivan who was driving us, but I took some pictures from thestage.
The French speaker on my left was freaking out during the firsthalf of the show, but after the intermission he didn't return to his seat.Strange...
In City Of Tiny Lights, Dweezil walked up to Terry, putone foot on the platform, and ripped one helluva solo. We all had to sayBlack Page in unison. After Edchina, Dweezil noticed a boy who fellasleep, and told us he used to fall asleep to Peaches. "The next song mightwake the little one up again, it's Zomby Woof!" At Sofa, Dweezil is sobbingagain, though not as badly as in Amsterdam. It got me a lump in my throatall the same. At the encore, all the audience was standing up. It was acompletely seated audience.
After the show, Dweezil signed something for some guy. More andmore people were coming up to get stuff signed, and Dweezil kept on bendingover and taking stuff from the audience. did. I went forward to get anothergood snapshot of Dweezil. Then I found out I was out of film. Drat. I founda piece of paper that looked like a ticket, so I picked it up.
I went into the crowd that had formed, to get a handshake fromDweezil. But I got so mashed in the crowd (which was painful) that I whippedout a piece of paper to get another signature from DZ. One guy said, uponwalking away, "Thank you for signing my driver's license!" Dweezil lookedbewildered. Also some guy said: "One question please: Why nothing fromJoe's Garage?" DZ: "Because if we wanted to play one, we'd have to playthem all, and there was no time!"
After getting mashed, squashed and choked, I got to the front!I stared into Dweezil's haemorrhage pants, which I loved. From a distanceit looked like a tea towel pattern, but it was very different. Dweezilfinally grabbed my paper. He didn't recognize me. As he was signing mypiece of paper, I asked him: "When is your next album out?" Which I alreadyknew at the time. Dweezil: "The next album... is out in about 2 weeks,actually, it's called Go With What You Know." He gave me back my ticket.I looked at his eyes. They seemed grey to me
Note he writes Dweezl.
Also he was running out of ink, right at a time whenthere were a lot of people mashing to see him, and a guy from backstagewas apparently needing him. Dweezil made some stressed signing. Poor fellow!The white stuff is somebody else's address, which I decided to erase.
Later I heard Dweezil had mashed his finger that very day. I hadn'tnoticed, neither from his playing, nor from the close encounter.
It took me some time to get back to Luc. Apparently he and Ivanwere looking for me whilst I was mashing. On the way back to the car, Itreated them to demer.
In Mol, Dad was waiting for me already. We went home, and reacheddestination at 2 AM, and I didn't go to bed until 3 AM.
It's now June 25th. It's been nearly a month since Brussels. Mymemory is slightly fading, and the order of events may be distorted. Bynow, Ahmet is turning to the 'vacant' position, Dweezil's album is releasedand apparently fantastic, Terry Bozzio has popped his biceps on his rightarm. The American leg of the tour is almost over. I'm about to stumbleinto a black hole.
Recently I purchased Baby Snakes CD. Now I have all albums Zappareleased in his lifetime. I also got Imaginary Diseases, and I think Dweezil'sversion of the song was nicer. And I finally found a copy of Confessions,an album by Dweezil that I'm enjoying tremendously.
May there be a tour CD and DVD! All this wonderful music I heardshouldn't be lost.
A hearty Thank You goes to Dad, Luc, Tim, Ivan,
Scheila Gonzalez, Aaron Arntz, Pete Griffin, Jamie Kime, BillyHulting, Joe Travers,
Steve Vai, Terry Bozzio, Napoleon Murphy Brock,
Dweezil Zappa and
Frank Zappa