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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Let the buyer beware, 24 July 2005
This review is from: You Can'T Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 3 (Audio CD)
The reviews below are obviously true for the guys who wrote them, but experienced listeners will read them with more than just a raised eyebrow: not only would most serious Zappaphiles NOT agree that the '84 band was FZ's best ever, they generally maintain that it was his WORST; and that's the reason why the hard core fanatics have heaped more scorn on this release than on any other entry in the YCDTOSA series (vols 3-6 have all suffered their fair share of abuse over the years). Speaking just for myself, the reason why I don't like this period so much is that FZ wrote inexplicably tacky and simplistic arrangements for this band, despite insisting as always on a frighteningly high level of musicianship from his sidemen. Older songs such as "Dinah-Moe Humm" and "Keep It Greasey" were reduced to fairground music by this point, any rough edges sanded off ("Keep It Greasey", which in the studio featured jaw-droppingly complex rhythmic accompaniment, is played here in the most basic 4/4). The unfortunate likelihood is that at this point Zappa's serious attention was almost fully diverted away from rock by the synclavier, and his tours and albums were more or less just to pay the bills.
It's not all gloom, though, and I still think this album is a lot better than the fanatics would have you believe. Some of the material, at least, has been well selected: "Sharleena", with Dweezil and Dad duelling it out on guitar, is an excellent start, and the rocked-up "Bamboozled By Love" is that extreme rarity, a song which actually benefits from its '84 arrangement. At the opposite end of the album, "Cosmik Debris" is also quite strong, featuring yet more of the "hi ho silver" tomfoolery which crops up several times throughout the set. (The "Bobby Brown"/"Keep It Greasey" performances are worth listening to purely because of this same messing around - it's true, I'd defy anyone not to crack up when Frank starts to lose it.)
The good news about the '84 band is that the combination of Ike Willis (absent in '82) and Ray White (absent in '88), along with Bobby Martin and FZ himself, made for some vocal harmonies to die for. Some of this band's strongest vocal showcases are (rather perversely) reserved for other albums in the series, but here we have a cracking version of "Advance Romance", buzzing with an energy that's largely missing from the more routine '82 and '88 recordings; "Carol, You Fool" and "Chana in de Bushwop" are also essential listening for fans of FZ's beloved doo-wop stylings. (These two songs, along with "Ride My Face to Chicago" and 1982's razor-sharp "Nig Biz", are not released elsewhere - there's a reason right there for buying this album! "Hands With a Hammer" is a Terry Bozzio drum solo from '76; great stuff, but it's unlikely that anyone will be buying this just to hear that.)
Less interesting are the pointless "In France" (identical to the studio version, but without Johnny "Guitar" Watson to spice up the mix) and "Honey, Don't You Want a Man Like Me" - the latter another example of a song crippled by a dumbed-down arrangement, though to be fair it's still worth hearing for the "new lyrics" which FZ introduces here (again, silly but fun). The three Joe's Garage songs add nothing to the originals - but they're entertaining enough, I have to admit. That just leaves "Drowning Witch", one of Zappa's best-ever compositions, here spliced with an '82 version (the piece was so difficult to play that no single perfect rendition was ever recorded). Here, the common complaint is that the two guitar solos are not among the best ones he played on this song; but those of us who don't have access to dozens of live tapes for comparison can forget about that, they're still good.
The remainder of the album is not from the '84 tour, and there are two real gems included. "Dickie's Such an Asshole", the mislaid masterpiece from the Watergate era, almost justifies the purchase of this CD on its own, and "King Kong" (a hybrid mammoth compiled from at least four different shows in '71 and '82) is extraordinary and will reward repeated listening. The fragment of the original "Zoot Allures" which appears here was rendered redundant by the subsequent release of FZ Plays the Music of FZ. Finally, the four-song You Are What You Is sequence (from "Society Pages" onwards) is a real pleasure for me, though many people didn't like it; in fact that sort of sums up this album: I like it, plenty more people hate it, which is why I have to finish as I began, on a note of caution. If, like the reviewers below, your interest in Zappa is relatively superficial (i.e. you like the quirky humour but zone out during the instrumental bits), you can buy this CD confidently and will enjoy disc one in particular. If your interest is more serious, you may want to listen to it first. Four stars is on the generous side (3 1/2 would be more like it), but there is plenty to enjoy here.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The food aint too shabby and they........., 16 Aug 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: You Can'T Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 3 (Audio CD)
A Fantastic collection of Zappa material. If you are just starting to explore the world of Frank Zappa, this is the perfect companion to go with Strictly Commercial. With the best band that he assembled, it shows what a fantastic composer and performer he really was. And I defy anyone not to laugh at the 'Hi Ho Silver' episode from Ike Willis on 'Bobby Brown' and 'Keep It Greasy...'
Instantly listenable due to tracks such as 'Joe's Garage', through lyrical gems such as 'In France' and on to 'Chana in de Bushwop', it keeps you interested and dying to find out more.
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7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to Zappa, 12 Jun 2002
By 
C. P. Stokes (Calne, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: You Can'T Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 3 (Audio CD)
This is just an absolutely outstanding collection of songs by Zappa. The band that is featured the most is the 1984 tour band, which I personally feel is the best lineup that Zappa ever assembled. A lot of the tracks are edits of the same tune from different venues, bands and years. The incredible thing is that you can hardly tell where the joins are unless you pay really close attention. I couldn't pick out an outstanding track as they are all excellent. Get this album and listen to the Bobby Brown / Keep It Greasey edit and tell me that you didn't laugh as well.
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific "real song" Frank Zappa live, 6 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: You Can'T Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 3 (Audio CD)
This is a superb live showcase of the "commercial" side of Frank Zappa - "normal" songs, solos that (by and large) don't outstay their welcome, yet with enough experimentation to keep things interesting. The tracks are delivered with the skill you'd expect from FZ-assembled line-ups, and all have a great live edge to them. The otherwise unreleased track "Chana In De Bushwop" is worth the price of admission alone.
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You Can'T Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 3
You Can'T Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 3 by Frank Zappa (Audio CD - 2006)
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