This page lists all the pieces (performed live) that I've classified as medley or suite and all the songs/themes in there contained.
|Alphabetical list of songs included in medleys / suites: A - C | D - G | H - M | N - R | S - Z|
|List of medleys / suites:|
Note / disclaimer
Due to the peculiarity of Zappa performing habits, it's quite impossible to come to a objective definition of what in his shows is a medley / suite and what is not.
I list here some of the more common items usually defined as "medley" or "suite", while other are my elaboration. Sure you may want to add more or to remove some or you have better title for some of them, I'll be happy to hear your opinions.
As a rule, a medley enter in this list when, in one (or more) specific tour, one or more of the songs contained in the medley itself were only played inside that medley and all the songs contained were only played in that sequence. But there could be exceptions... Eg: Cocaine Decisions and Nig Biz has been played always together, but they are not included in this list!
Medleys / suites are listed by alphabetical order, not counting initial articles (that are not removed, just ignored). Songs are listed by alphabetical order, initial articles are removed or postponed.
The Adventures Of Greggery Peccary is fully released only as a studio version (in Studio Tan and Läther). Partial live performances were delivered by "The Grand Wazoo" band in 1972 and by the The Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Orchestra in 1975.
In the sixties the Big Medley consisted usually of this sequence: Let's Make The Water Turn Black / Harry You're A Beast / Orange County Lumber Truck / Oh No / Orange County Lumber Truck reprise (the full medley is released on AOTT).
During the "Moi reunion tour" in 1970 the band played an abridged version of the medley with only Oh No / Orange County Lumber Truck.
Zappa resumed the full sixties medley during the "10th Anniversary Tour" in 1974 with the Orange County Lumber Truck reprise replaced by the long version of Oh No as it was usually played in 1974 (the second part of this Oh No long version is known as Son Of Orange County but actually contains only a little quote of the original Orange County, used as bridge for the usual segue to Trouble Every Day as released in Roxy & Elsewhere).
Lastly, in 1988, again the full medley with Oh No (with the Orange County bridge) followed by Theme From Lumpy Gravy (this version of the medley is available in Make A Jazz Noise Here).
For a detailed account on the full structure of the two main versions of Bogus Pomp (by The Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Orchestra in 1975 and by The London Symphony Orchestra in 1983) check the song entry at Information Is Not Knowledge.
Bogus Pomp is fully released only as studio version in the LSO album. Parts of it can be heard also in the 200 Motels soundtrack: original parts are under the titles Centerville, Redneck Eats, Dance Of The Just Plain Folks and in the "Sealed Tuna Sandwich Suite"; there you can also listen to the parts derived from Holiday In Berlin (Semi-Fraudulent/Direct-From-Hollywood Overture and Touring Can Make You Crazy).
Some of the original material of Bogus Pomp is shared with Progress, a unique live performance from October 1968 in London, and went released on Ahead Of Their Time and in the Mystery Disc: Prologue, Like It or Not (Piece One in the Mystery Disc), The Rejected Mexican Pope Leaves The Stage and Undaunted, The Band Plays On (both included in Piece Two in the Mystery Disc); while Progress?, The Jimmy Carl Black Philosophy Lesson and Holding The Group Back (with a different edit on the Mystery Disc as Don Interrupts and Jim/Roy) represent the part derived from Holiday In Berlin.
Partial live performances of Bogus Pomp were delivered by the The Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Orchestra in 1975, while this suite is not present in the recording of the only live show with the London Symphony Orchestra.
Note that from when Muffin Man made is first rudimentary apparition during the Bongo Fury tour in spring 1975, Camarillo Brillo, performed live since May 1973, was played alone just one time and in a very partial version (Copenhagen, late show of Feb. 29, 1976). Muffin Man was played without Camarillo only in very few shows in Oct. 1976.
The medley is unreleased, but all the music contained is from Zappa's long time favorite pieces, often quoted during other songs.
1974's Dog Meat has been released as video in The Dub Room Special! and a different version from the same band is available on YCDTOSA2. The 1992 Ensemble Modern performance is contained in The Yellow Shark.
This suite includes unreleased lyrics in the Holiday in Berlin part. The complete suite as performed in Nov. 1970 at the Fillmore East in NYC can be heard in both Freaks & Motherfu*#@%! and Tengo Na Minchia Tanta from the Beat The Boots series.
Note that the Duke improvisation was often introduced by The Hook.
The order of the suite was: Steno Pool - Bebop Tango - Cucamonga.
The 1972 version can be at last heard in Imaginary Diseases, while a version of the 1973 incarnation, with Ponty on violin, is available in Piquantique, from the Beat The Boot series.
In the 1973 tour Farther Oblivion was played both as stand alone number or as a follow up to the Yellow Snow Suite. In a few cases in the 1973 European tour the band played only Join The March And Eat My Stach (from the Yellow Snow Suite) followed by Farther Oblivion (this version can be heard on Piquantique). After Jean-Luc Ponty left the Mothers, they didn't play anymore Farther Oblivion (or at least it is not on any of the available tapes), but we have a couple of time, in late 1973, the segue Bebop Tango - Cucamonga, while Bepop Tango became a very common stand alone number until the end of 1973.
The medley had is first nucleus during the '81 tour with The Closer You Are/Johnny Darling performed as a stand alone item; in the last few shows of the tour made is first apparition also The Man From Utopia Meets Mary Lou, but the two little medleys were played as separate items. In the '82 tour while The Closer You Are/Johnny Darling was still played as a separate item, in another part of the same show No No Cherry (also played as a stand alone number) could be followed by The Man From Utopia Meets Mary Lou. In 1984 The Closer You Are/Johnny Darling/No No Cherry was the usual sequence (with Little Girl Of Mine added sometimes as first song, starting from the middle of the European leg). In 1998 the sequence was always The Closer You Are/Johnny Darling/No No Cherry/The Man From Utopia Meets Mary Lou.
The full sequence would have: Mr Green Genes/King Kong/Chunga's Revenge/Mr Green Genes reprise.
Different fragments of The Groupie Opera as performed in late 1970 can be heard in Freaks & Motherfu*#@%! and Tengo Na Minchia Tanta from the Beat The Boots series, while parts of the 1971 version are released in Fillmore East, June 1971 and in YCDTOSA1 (The Groupie Routine). A short video excerpt from a 1970 Fillmore West performance is available in The True Story Of 200 Motels.
Note also that some of the themes of The Groupie Opera (and other related songs like Rudy Wants To Buy Yez A Drink and Would You Go All The Way) where played also during the late 1976 tour and in one show in Sept. 1977 (with Flo & Eddie as guests), but of course in these case was missing the connective texture given by the Flo & Eddie groupie dialogue (Do You Like My New Car).
The poodle extravaganza started during late October '75 shows, with Zappa, during the Stink-Foot ending riff, introducing Dirty Love as a song that "deals with the subject of the relationship between the dog and your mama" (Waterbury Oct. 29). At the late Halloween show in NYC the dog is already a Poodle. The story starts growing in Philadelphia (Nov. 3) and the recording of the Nov. 28 Milwaukee show is the first on which we have the famous incipit: "In the beginning God made the light". From then Zappa kept performing the Lecture until Nov 76. Later the medley was only played a few times in the '77 North American tour (you can see the Halloween '77 Lecture in the Baby Snakes movie). The complete medley has been released only in FZ:OZ.
Note that on the two albums where it appear, FZ reformatted the play with various track titles. These are the titles used in the Mystery Disc: Don Interrupts, Piece One, Jim/Roy, Piece Two (and Agency Man). On Ahead Of Their Time: Prologue, Like It Or Not, The Jimmy Carl Black Philosophy Lesson, Holding The Group Back, The Rejected Mexican Pope Leaves The Stage, Undaunted The Band Plays On (and Progress, Holiday In Berlin, Agency Man).
and that's the way we'll call that variable funky improvisation, even if other memorable performances, as the one in New Jersey in November '73 with Irma Coffee guest on vocals, has nearly nothing to do with the released version. Note also that the Pygmy Twylyte theme reprise, after the impro, was closely tie up with the beginning of The Idiot Bastard Son.
Later, first in August '74 and usually from the fall European tour, the funky impro is usually placed at the end of the proper Pygmy and often is followed by another funky number, with a more defined text structure - a true routine, that would close the entire medley (and sometimes the whole show). We all know (YCDTOSA2) this funky routine as:
The first known recorded performance of Room Service is available as video in The Dub Room Special!
The complete six songs suite is only available as studio recording (it was the entire side 2 of the You Are What You Is double album), while the four songs 1981 version is available on YCDTOSA3.
The complete suite is only available in Sweet Cheese/Fire! from the Beat The Boot series. Fragments are contained in Playground Psychotics and in the You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore serie.
During 1968 and 1969 performances The String Quartet nearly always includes as closing section a long improvisation that may contains themes from:
A quite short version of The String Quartet from the sixties can be heard in AOTT, while a more lengthy version is contained in Our Man In Nirvana from the Beat The Boots series. A complete version from the 1970 band can be heard on Tengo Na Minchia Tanta (BTB), while PP contains only some Pound For A Brown excerpts and the Sleeping In A Jar segment from the late 1971 band.
The 1988 band played Norwegian Wood and Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds with the original lyrics only one time, in Detroit on February 27, 1988.
During the 1973 tour with Jean-Luc Ponty the suite had this development: Don't Eat The Yellow Snow, Nanook Rubs It, St Alfonzo's Pancake Breakfast, Father O'Blivion, St Alfonzo reprise, Mar-juh-rene, Father O'Blivion reprise, Join The March And Eat My Starch and was always followed by Farther Oblivion.
A part the studio version in Apostrophe (') (that reflects the way the suite was performed in late 1974: Don't Eat The Yellow Snow, Nanook Rubs It, St Alfonzo's Pancake Breakfast, Father O'Blivion), only the 78/79 version of the suite (Don't Eat The Yellow Snow, Nanook Rubs It, St Alfonzo's Pancake Breakfast, Father O'Blivion, Rollo) is fully released: performed by the 1978 band in Saarbrücken 1978 (BTB) and performed by the 1979 band in YCDTOSA1. An edited (by Zappa himself) version of the 1973 performance was widely available on boots, having Zappa broadcasted it on radio in few occasions and has been officially released on OSD.
In one show of the European 79 tour was only played a short version of the suite, including only the title track and Nanook. Note also that Don't Eat The Yellow Snow was used as opening song for a few March '80 shows, with a partial and instrumental version of Nanook Rubs It following as background music for band introduction.
This page created on December 2005 and latest revised on July 13, 2008
Touring Can Make You Crazy