Dweezil Zappa (Zappa Plays Zappa)
Queen Elizabeth Theatre
June 15, 2010
By Charlene Tupper
Dweezil Zappa, the infamous son of Frank Zappa, continues the legacy of his father (who passed away in 1993) and continues to play live concerts of his dad’s music night after night around the world. Tonight, Dweezil and his band played a two hour set of his father’s music in Vancouver, which ranged from some of the last songs he recorded in the early 90s to those that were bootleged and very rare. Dweezil even had a few of his own gems up his sleeve. The theatre was almost sold out and filled with people all ages, including younger children.
The style of music he plays is hard rock/ heavy metal, however, more instrumental then vocal, with a range of instruments including guitar, bass, drums, percussion, keyboards, saxophone and even a harmonica. You may recognize him from his short stint on MTV which ended in controversy after he insulted the music station on the Howard Stern Show. He has starred in a few hit movies like, The Running Man with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Pretty In Pink, but his love of music brought him to start a project called “ What the Hell Was I Thinking?”, a 75 minute show with seven other musicians, including some well known guitarists, to broaden the spectrum of music for a younger audience and expose Frank Zappa’s music to the world, both young and old. He wanted to share his father’s legacy with the fans and help new crowds get exposed to the music.
The Vancouver show was about two hours, filled with catchy tunes and instrumental solos and breaks. Each song was like a story, making you follow the “ups and downs” that the song carried. It was almost as if you felt the emotions the song was streaming into you. The show started late, however, Dweezil explained to the audience, they were having “bus troubles” involving their luggage. The bus leaked water all over their luggage, or as Dweezil said, it “peed” all over the luggage, leaving a horrible stench within the bus. However, the band didn’t let that get to them and walked on stage to an almost full theatre filled with screaming fans ready to hear Frank Zappa’s songs.
You could look across the audience and see fans – young and old – all wearing “Zappa plays Zappa” t-shirts, or maybe you heard the stories of fans who got their shirts signed by Frank Zappa himself. Everyone there knew all the words to the songs and the band certainly played a bunch of them – including “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy” and a teaser of “Ship Ahoy” since after all, Dweezil “had the right guitar for the job in his hand.”
Dweezil also played a rare, bootleged song that was only released on a special CD many years ago called “Blessed Relief”. The audience loved this one, screaming with joy and raising their hands high in appreciation. Later in the set, Dweezil started talking about “Blue Waffles”, which he refrained from giving details due to younger viewers in the audience. Someone from the audience screamed “I have that video on my iPhone,” which caused Dweezil to laugh while replying “ Why, why have that on your phone?”
Dweezil and the other seven band members had their own moment for a solo, but my favourite had to be the drums. It was filled with clean beats and was well executed.
Dweezil Zappa would have made his father proud last night. The audience was dying for more, but sadly all great things come to an end. Because of Dweezil, Frank Zappa’s legend has never come to an end and lives forever in our hearts.
Thank you for the “Blessed Relief”.