Review Summary: Old man Zappa would be proud...
If Frank Zappa himself happened to peer down upon his son rocking out with original Zappa alumni and Dweezil’s own recruited accomplished musicians alike, he would inevitably shed a tear. “Zappa Plays Zappa” is two straight unadulterated hours of live, flawless and expertly executed choice-cut cover music from one of the most accomplished, influential and endearing musical artists the world has ever seen. As you might already know, Zappa Plays Zappa is Frank Zappa’s first born son, Dweezil’s tribute to his late father, and an absolutely finely executed one at that. “Zappa Plays Zappa” gives a compelling look into the legend’s immense and almost incomparably prolific catalogue with top-notch performances, out of this world production and some of the most overall righteous jams music culture has ever witnessed.
To put it simply, “Zappa Play’s Zappa” brings the goods. From Frank’s early instrumental classics like “Peaches En Regalia” to his satirical works “I’m The Slime” and “Cosmic Debris,” everything any die-hard Zappa fan could ask for is present and in heavy abundance. This massive, two-hour, 2 DVD set chronicles Frank Zappa’s whole career and deploys former musicians that performed with the deceased legend which include Steve Vai, Napoleon Murphy Brock and Terry Bozzio among others. The old is mixed with the new, giving the overall vibe of the DVD a sort of nostalgic bliss and while the songs are merely covers of Mr. Zappa’s own work the compositions themselves never fail to offer interesting and unexpected twists and turns. For instance, one of the DVD’s standout performances, “Montana” features blistering fret board licks traded back in forth between Dweezil and Steve Vai, which climaxes into the classic harmonic line of “I’m pluckin’ the ole’ dental floss!”
While the DVD gives all the performers ample time to do their thing, Dweezil seamlessly steals the show. Drop all pre-conceived notions you might have of the guy, as Dweezil, to put it bluntly, is no joke. A simple Youtube search of the performance of “Inca Roads” would be enough to prove that point alone, as Dweezil weaves his way through five minutes of six-string phrasing fluency that would have even his father shaking his head in bewilderment. Other standouts include the infamously difficult, dual parted, “Black Page,” which features Terry Bozzio ripping endlessly on his signature massive drum-kit. There simply isn’t a dull stretch throughout the DVD, a feat made all the more impressive when taken into account the amount of preparation it must have taken to present such an extraordinary show in such a precise and cool fashion.
Fans and those unfamiliar with Frank Zappa’s music alike owe it to themselves to check out “Zappa Plays Zappa,” as it offers everything the late legend was known for, from the crisp, mind-bendingly tight performances to the goofy, sarcastic satire. Dweezil certainly deserves a lot of credit for putting such a great production together and no fan of music in general should miss out on this glorious slab of audio and musical performance bliss.