Dweezil Zappa performed a couple of shows in our area playing in Ardmore PA at the Ardmore Music Hall on 05/04/16 and in New York City NY at The Gramercy Theatre on 05/06/16 in support of his latest solo album, Via Zammata. The 2016 tour ended in Boston MA on 05/07/16.
Via Zammata is Dweezil’s first solo album in nearly a decade and this show was dedicated to his work as a solo performer. I did not know what to expect going into this show as Dweezil has been touring for the last 10 years as “Zappa Plays Zappa”. Not to take anything away from his tireless dedication to his father Frank Zappa, but this show was a nice surprise. I have never seen Dweezil Zappa perform his solo work live on stage.
Nine tracks off the new album were performed live and sounded great. Highlights from the album (for me anyway) was the instrumental “Funky 15″, “Rat Race” sounded like a leather jacket at a drag race (real cool, man…). Then there is “Dragon Master”, a song dedicated to the classic era of heavy metal in the 80’s. This song got its start way back in 1988 in Sweden when his father Frank wrote the words for the song and suggested that Dweezil write the music for it. Dweezil did play a version of the song in the 90’s and it has now been officially released on his latest album.
Other highlights of the show have to include the opener. “My Mother is a Space Cadet” was the first single that Dweezil ever recorded back in 1982. He co-wrote the song with his sister Moon Unit and Stevie Vai at the age of 12. Pretty cool. He also performed “Freedom” by Jimmy Hendrix.
Dweezil has been a part of the “Experience Hendrix” National Tour for quite a long time now. That show is always awesome and is loaded with all-star talent.
Other surprises went back to his days with Z that included “Kidz Cereal” and “Boodledang”. So, ‘Does Humor Belong in Music’ ?? I think so. The funniest song of the evening had to be the encore. The “80’s Medley” took close to a half an hour to perform and was the perfect blend of (an estimated) 130 plus songs (non-stop) of everything you have ever heard in the 80’s. That was stage magic. I have never seen anything like it. I have read on Dweezil’s bio that there is a non-stop medley that has grown to 200 songs. Only Dweezil Zappa and the band know the exact number for sure. Amazing!
The name of the band may have changed but the band remains the same. There will not be a lot of time off for Dweezil Zappa as “Dweezil Zappa Plays Frank Zappa” gets ready to hit the road in July. The band will also be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Frank Zappa’s first album, Freak Out. Looking forward to another great show this summer.
(Photos are from The Ardmore Music Hall)