Remembering Frank Zappa: Live At The Capitol Theatre 1978

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On December 4, 1993, the world lost one of the most creative minds of the 20th century, not to mention a passionate activist. Frank Zappa’s composing was groundbreaking, his satire stinging, his influence immeasurable and his guitar work among the very best.

He was also astronomically prolific. From his 1966 debut album, Freak Out!, with the Mothers Of Invention to his iconic solo records like Hot Rats and Joe’s Garage, Zappa put out over 60 albums, studio and live, while he was living with roughly another 50 arriving posthumously. He was also a fierce advocate for free speech and other civil liberties. To put it quite simply, the world will never see another like Zappa.

Today marks 26 years since the iconic artist died. To remember Zappa, JamBase takes a look at a concert from the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, New Jersey on October 13, 1978. The show is an example of Zappa at the peak of his powers. The personnel for that night goes as follows: Frank Zappa (guitar, vocals,) Denny Walley (slide guitar, vocals), Ike Willis (guitar, vocals), Patrick O’Hearn (bass), Arthur Barrow (bass), Tommy Mars (keyboards), Peter Wolf (keyboards), Vinnie Colaiuta (drums) and Ed Mann (percussion).

The show kicks off with “Persona Non Grata,” which, according to Zappa fansite You Are What You Is, was later incorporated into the “Sinister Footwear” suite from the 1984 album Them Or Us, before heading into the Grammy-nominated “Dancin’ Fool” that would appear a year later on the 1979 semi-live album Sheik Yerbouti. “Easy Meat” came next with “Bamboozled By Love” before “Sy Borg” from Joe’s Garage. “Suicide Chump” and “Little House I Used To Live In” followed.

Zappa gave drummer Vinnie Colaiuta a chance to shine on his own “Zeets” ahead of Sheik Yerbouti cut “Yo Mama,” which remained unfinished giving way to “Magic Fingers” and “Black Napkins.” Two favorites and the classic pairing of “Camarillo Brillio” and “Muffin Man” came next. Zappa and company would close out the evening with the classically-tinged “Strictly Genteel.” Check out the entire show via Frank Zappa on MV below:

Setlist:

  • 0:00:00 – Persona Non Grata Incomplete
  • 0:13:37 – Dancin’ Fool
  • 0:17:00 – Easy Meat
  • 0:23:37 – Bamboozled By Love
  • 0:31:06 – Sy Borg
  • 0:35:47- Suicide Chump
  • 0:45:25 – Little House I Used To Live In
  • 0:52:17 – Zeets (Drum Solo)
  • 0:56:00 – Yo Mama Incomplete
  • 1:06:18 – Magic Fingers
  • 1:10:19 – Black Napkins Incomplete
  • 1:26:40- Camarillo Brillo
  • 1:30:10 – Muffin Man
  • 1:35:05- Strictly Genteel