Frank Zappa - Halloween In The Big Apple: 1977 Radio Broadcast from The NYC Palladium CD


Performed while promoting his Zoot Allures album, Frank had taken to the road with a band that can only be regarded as an all-star line up. Guitarist Adrian Belew would join Talking Heads, King Crimson, and eventually launch a successful solo career. Bassist Patrick O'Hearn and drummer Terry Bozzio would later spearhead the alternative act, Missing Persons, with Bozzio's wife Dale; and keyboardist Peter Wolf eventually became one of the most successful producers of the 1980s, scoring chart hits for Starship, Lou Gramm, Big Country, and many others.

Zappa is eager to show off the excellent musicianship of the band, allowing each member to excel and letting different players share the lead vocals. On "City of Tiny Lites," he showcases Bozzio and Wolf, whose fills and runs provide an appropriate backdrop to Zappa and Belew's sweet guitar licks. Like a great stand-up comedian, Zappa could take very normal, mundane situations and turn them into the theatre of the absurd. Frank lets loose on the instrumental showcase, "The Squirm" delivering a memorable guitar solo intro behind the organ chords of Peter Wolf. Then things get fun again, with "Big Leg Emma," another brilliant parody. In it, Zappa sings: "There's a big dilemma about my Big Leg Emma. She was my stand-in date, until she started gaining weight..." Zappa leads the crowd directly into "Audience Participation Time" where, in his best game-show host voice, he plucks a girl from the audience and totally embarrasses her. "Janet, standing here," he says in his host voice, "is going to deliver some discipline to another audience member." Next up is "The Black Page #2," one of the most progressive pieces played during the show, with intricate time signatures throughout. Of course, Zappa encourages the audience to dance, which is like asking someone to bop to the Mahavishnu Orchestra. "Jones Crusher," a sped-up boogie song about a lady whose womanly muscle control Zappa compares to a vice grip.

Track Listing

  1. Intro (Flakes)
  2. San Ber'dino
  3. Tryin' to Grow a Chin
  4. City of Tiny Lites
  5. The Squirm
  6. Big Leg Emma
  7. Audience Participations
  8. The Black Page #2
  9. Jones Crusher
  10. Camarillo Brillo
  11. Black Napkins