This is a reprint of a review of a previous edition.
Regardless of its "official or unofficial?" status, this is - make no mistake - the single most entertaining, historically-important and musically satisfying Zappa DVD currently in circulation.
Clearly some copies appear to have acquired audio defects - mine hasn't - but arguably these are worth enduring. If you're a Zappa fan you need to acquire it anyway. But if you're a newcomer, this is more likely to convert you than any other DVD on these pages.
Look what you're getting here:
Two hours of the delicious-sounding 1988 band - the "Broadway The Hard Way" line-up: the big band with five horns, a synclavier, and an Ike Willis/Bobby Martin vocal frontline.
A wide-ranging repertoire including the then-topical tunes, a few of the more serious-minded covers (Ravel's Bolero, the Beatles' I Am The Walrus), such failsafe crowd pleasers as Black Napkins, Watermelon In Easter Hay and Packard Goose (the '88 arrangement of this, complete with classical-musical quotations, is exquisite)...
And, best of all, visual evidence of the band doing what it did best.
First, the free improvisation - a fabulous version of Big Swifty with solos or mini-solos from about half the band, and the synclavier/sampler being put to good use throughout.
And secondly, the humour. It starts with Frank using Ike as a ventriloquist-dummy during Find Her Finer and accelerates into a fiesta of "secret word" spontaneous lyric-changes. I can't tell you what they're joking about but, if you're reading this, you're probably the sort of person who will find it as amusing as the band themselves (Ike's infectious laughter during the Torture Never Stops Medley makes it all worthwhile, and that's before Frank has played his solo).
Whatever may have gone wrong in production, you have to bless the company that made this available - it certainly puts the Barking Pumpkin release schedule into perspective