Watch Frank Zappa’s Halloween 1981 Concert In New York City
Frank Zappa leads off a week of revisiting memorable Halloween live concert performances available in the JamBase Live Video Archive. For several years, Zappa celebrated Halloween by playing shows at The Palladium in New York City. The since-closed venue hosted Zappa on October 31, 1977 and again in 1978, followed by additional concerts at The Palladium on October 31, 1980 and on Halloween in 1981.
Zappa’s famed Halloween 1981 performances were part of a five-show, four-night run ending with a concert on November 1. Zappa played early and late shows on October 31, featuring the band he debuted earlier at the start of the tour. Joining Zappa in NYC in ‘81 were veteran band members, guitarists Ray White and Steve Vai, percussionist Ed Mann and keyboardist Tommy Mars, along with freshly added bassist Scott Thunes, drummer Chad Wackerman and keyboardist Robert Martin.
Both the 8 p.m. and midnight concerts on October 31, 1981, were videotaped and compiled into a special that aired on the new-at-the-time channel MTV. The band played several songs from Zappa’s September 1981 album, You Are What You Is, including “Beauty Knows No Pain,” “Charlie’s Enormous Mouth,” “Teen-Age Wind,” “Harder Than Your Husband,” “You Are What You Is,” “Mudd Club,” “The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing,” “Dumb All Over,” “Heavenly Bank Account,” “Suicide Chump, “Jumbo Go Away.”
Those came alongside Zappa classics such as “Black Napkins,” “Montana,” “Easy Meat,” “Strictly Genteel” and “The Illinois Enema Bandit,” among others. Additional highlights include the Vai showcase, “Stevie’s Spanking,” and a blistering. 11-minute “The Torture Never Stops.”
Watch highlights of Frank Zappa’s Halloween 1981 early and late shows and stream a playlist consisting of officially released audio of both complete sets below: