Dweezil Zappa brought his show to The Plaza Live in Orlando last Saturday, as part of his 50 Years of Frank tour. Last year marked the 50th anniversary of Freak Out!, Frank Zappa's first album with his band The Mothers of Invention. The show (and tour) is Dweezil's way to pay tribute to this album and to the prolific career of his late father, who released more than 60 albums in over 30 years.
The current lineup of Dweezil's band include: Ryan Brown on drums, Kurt Morgan on bass, Chris Norton on keyboards, David Luther on vocals, sax, keyboards and guitar, multi-instrumentalist Scheila Gonzalez, and Cian Coey on lead vocals. (It's also fair to include Dweezil's Gibson Roxy SG as an obligatory member of the band.)
It's definitely a daunting task trying to condense more than fifty years of music history in one night. Montana, Apostrophe, Black Napkins, The Illinois Enema Bandit, and Muffin Man were just a handful of what Dweezil and company had in store for the night. The encore included Michael Winslow (of Police Academy fame) channeling his inner Hendrix on stage, while the band played Cosmik Debris. It was a perfect night for all the hardcore Zappa fans in the audience. The sound was impeccable, and the trip down memory lane was unforgettable.
In recent years Dweezil's career has been immersed in legal drama, after the Zappa Family Trust has been trying to prevent him from using his own family name to perform and preserve the music of his father.
The full name of the tour is 50 Years of Frank: Dweezil Zappa Plays Whatever The F@%k He Wants. And he should. He must. In a way, it's a good thing that constraints can make us more creative. Hopefully all the absurdity can be worked out soon, so he can continue to freely maintain the legacy of the Zappa legend.