Happy Birthday Frank Zappa: Live In Paris 1980


While the world lost Frank Zappa just over 24 years ago, JamBase still wants to take the opportunity to celebrate what would’ve been the legendary composer/guitarist’s 77th birthday. Frank’s influence continues to be heard in many bands’ music and his son, Dweezil, continues to carry his father’s flag.

One of the few pro-shot Frank Zappa concerts found on YouTube features FZ’s June 11, 1980 performance at Palais des Sports in Paris, France. The show was broadcast on French TV later that year and re-broadcast in 2007. The band for this show featured Zappa along with guitarists Ike Willis and Ray White, keyboardist Tommy Mars, bassist Arthur Barrow and David Logeman – one of the smallest units in Frank’s history.

Played just a year after the release of Joe’s Garage, the evening’s setlist only included a handful of tracks from the Rock Opera including the title track, “Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?” and “Keep It Greasey.” The 26-song performance is delightfully guitar-heavy and contains a number of impressive solos. An interesting moment occurs in the middle of “Pound For A Brown,” when Frank advises the crowd the band is going to perform something for a mystery guest. Turns out that guest was Pierre Boulez, one of the most distinguished composers and conductors in the world. Watch:


Frank Zappa at Palais des Sports

  • Chunga's Revenge
  • Keep It Greasey
  • Outside Now
  • City of Tiny Lites
  • A Pound for a Brown on the Bus  
  • Cosmik Debris
  • You Didn't Try to Call Me  
  • I Ain't Got No Heart  
  • Love of My Life  
  • You Are What You Is
  • Easy Meat
  • Mudd Club
  • The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing
  • Heavenly Bank Account
  • Suicide Chump
  • Jumbo Go Away
  • If Only She Woulda  
  • I Don't Wanna Get Drafted  
  • Joe's Garage
  • Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?  
  • Dancin' Fool  
  • Bobby Brown
  • Ms Pinky  
  • Stick It Out
  • The Illinois Enema Bandit  

[Originally Published: December 21, 2015]