February 25, 2010 – 2:04 pm

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

Hollywood Bowl 1972 [no label, 2CD]

Live at the Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA, September 10, 1972. Very good audience recording.

It was truly a sad day when Frank Zappa died on December 4, 1993. He was 52. But thanks to tomes such as The Real Frank Zappa Book and Neil Slaven’s Zappa: Electric Don Quixote, the wit, the humanity and Zappa’s common sense approach to rock ‘n’ roll [which includes the music and the lifestyle] can still be appreciated.

If the American music industry had any sense, they’d have treated him as a national treasure. Who else can tell it like it is? In his anthropology of the rock and roll band, “Keyboard players project an aura of frustration because they are not guitar players. (In fact, many musicians are convinced that in order to get The Blow Job after the show, they have to play LEAD GUITAR.)… Most of the people who play keyboards in rock bands are not really skilled musicians. They’re usually there to play droning string synthesizer pads or punches, fills and mannerisms taht aren’t very demanding, providing the chordal accompaniment while the guitar player goes ‘weedly-weedly-wee’.”

On choosing members for his band, he said: “I don’t give musicians a ‘questionaire’ when they join the band about where they’ve been to school or what kind of technical information they possess - I’ll hear during the audition whether they can play or not. For the ones who pass the audition, as soon as I find out what they don’t know, I attempt to devise ‘language’ that will describe my musical intentions, in shorthand form…”

In the early ’70s, Zappa recorded the jazz-styled Waka/Jawaka and The Grand Wazoo. He said: “I had recorded with a twenty-piece band on the Grand Wazoo album, and I decided I wanted to tour with it - just six or eight dates, not really a money-making proposition. So we did a short tour - the Hollywood Bowl, the Deutschlandhalle in Berlin, the Music Hall in Boston, a couple of shows at the Felt Forum in New York City, someplace I can’t remember in Holland, and the Oval Cricket Ground in London.

“At the press conference arranged by the promoter of the London date, I discovered the depths to which the British will sink in order to sell a concert ticket. During an interview, a young girl entered the room, handed me a bouquet of flowers and walked away. This resulted in quiet questioning by the other reporters who were waiting in the back of the room to talk with me. She told them she was the girlfriend of the guy who had knocked me off the stage, and that she had brought the flowers as a gesture of remorse. I found out later that the promoter had hired her as a publicity stunt.”

Of The Grand Wazoo Orchestra, Zappa said: “The Wazoo has probably earned its place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (something he never did in his lifetime), for the simple reason that it is the only ‘new’ group in rock history which has known from the start that it will not be as successful as the Beatles, and has also known throughout its history the exact time and place that it will split up: after the Boston show, in the dressing room, on September 24.”

Because he took on the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), Zappa became better known for his outspokenness, but he never saw music as something one could pigeonhole. With The Grand Wazoo Orchestra, he played jazz, orchestra music and music that could have been scored for a variety of movies. It’s doubtful he differentiated between free jazz and trad jazz (just listen to Disc Two’s The Adventures Of Greggery Peccary/New Brown Clouds) and, in spite of (or is it because of?) Zappa’s stringent rehearsals, the Wazoo Orchestra come out sounding fresh, challenging and maybe with a tongue stuck firmly in the cheek.

So here they are, the very first live performance by The Grand Wazoo Orchestra. Thanks to tranehead for sharing the lossless tracks on the Dime site. As tranehead commented: “The fidelity on this is incredible for this vintage… you can actually hear FZ’s onstage cues to the band at certain stages. Must have been recorded very close to the stage.”

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality MP3s - sample rate of 192 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Disc 1 (61:56)
Track 101. Soundcheck and intros (17.0MB - visit the html page to download the track)
Track 102. New Brown Clouds 1 (8.2MB)
Track 103. Tuning/FZ explains… (2.1MB)
Track 104. Big Swifty/New Brown Clouds 2 (11.8MB)
Track 105. FZ explains… (1.2MB)
Track 106. Approximate (13.7MB)
Click here if you reside in North America
Click here if you reside outside North America
Track 107. FZ explains… (1.1MB)
Track 108. For Calvin (And His Next Two Hitch-Hsikers)/New Brown Clouds (theme) (5.7MB)
— (original cass. side switch)—
Track 109. New Brown Clouds (solo cont.) (5.2MB)
Track 110. Think It Over/New Brown Clouds (theme)/Think It Over (FZ ’slide guitar’ solo)… (19.6MB - visit the html page to download the track)

Disc 2 (50:36):
Track 201. FZ introduces… (1.5MB)
Track 202. “Low Budget Dog Meat” incl. Dog Breath Variations, Uncle Meat (12.0MB)
Click here if you reside in North America
Click here if you reside outside North America
Track 203. FZ explains… (2.4MB)
Track 204. The Adventures Of Greggery Peccary/New Brown Clouds 3 (10.9MB)
Click here if you reside in North America
Click here if you reside outside North America
Track 205. Penis Dimension/Variant Processional March (9.7MB)
Bonus track
Track 206. The String Quartet (featuring Don Cherry) (33.5MB - visit the html page to download the track)
Copenhagen October 3, 1968 (SBD version) 1st gen. “from Don Cherry Source”? [this was on the end of the second CD]

Frank Zappa, Tony Duran, Jerry Kessler, Dave Parlato, Jim Gordon, Tom Raney, Ruth Underwood, Ian Underwood, Bruce Fowler, Malcolm McNabb, Tom Malone, Earle Dumler, Glenn Ferris, Sal Marquez, Ken Shroyer, Mike Altschul, Joanne McNabb, Jay Migliori, Ray Reed, Charles Owens

Click on the link to order The Grand Wazoo and other Frank Zappa albums.

  1. 21 Responses to “FRANK ZAPPA - HOLLYWOOD BOWL 1972”

  2. hey bigo, thanks!!! after i fix the tags, i’ll play it.

    i was playing grand wazoo a couple weeks ago.


    By Ed Saad on Feb 25, 2010

  3. I was actually AT this show. I recall Tim Buckley opened. The Doors also were there, minus Jim of course… A very unusual concert, not at all what I was expecting. But, then, I grew to know, not to expect anything from Zappa, other than a dedicated musician bent on top notch performance. THANX for this posting!
    (BTW, If you haven’t seen Zappa Plays Zappa, do so, Frank’s son, Dweezil & his band is amazing)

    By Timmy on Feb 25, 2010

  4. hey tim, i saw zappa plays zappa here in b’ham, al at workplay theatre 7.24.08. no opening band, and the tickets apparently weren’t selling that great at first cause they were buy 1 get 1 free a week before the show. i’ll tell you it was one of the best shows i’ve been to. they played all the hits! two in particular were cheepnis and muffin man. unfortunately, steve vai wasn’t there, but i saw him here too march 05 at the boutwell auditorium ballroom. killer show. he had billy sheehan and tony macalpine with him and eric sardinis opened up. he was great.


    By Ed Saad on Feb 26, 2010

  5. I saw Frank back in ‘81
    He was amazing
    Thank you Big O and please post more FZ!!

    By Hulkzilla on Feb 26, 2010

  6. I am so thankful for this site and the music you provide. But I must say that I could really do without the comments section. Some of the comments seem idiotic and seem to be made by the same few people. I do save the section that includes a write-up about the show being featured but I wish i could download the outline of the show and leave the comments behind. Any help with this would be appeciated.

    By bill on Feb 26, 2010

  7. I was at this show too! AND I taped it, but mine’s nowhere near the fidelity of this recording, so much appreciated.

    It was an odd evening, the whole huge Wazoo orchestra completely unexpected, especially after the recent Flo & Eddie comedy act that comprised the prior album & tour (more or less). This was definitely one of those no-way-to-be-prepared-for rare musical adventures that only a Frank Zappa would have the smarts & drive to pull off. And it certainly proved how much more Frank had to give musically than with the Mothers.

    And especially odd were the closing comments of an “has-he-lost-it?” Ray Manzarek. After the Doors had played an engaging jazzed-rock set with Charles Lloyd guesting, RM informed us that “We used to be four, but one of the guys had met with a little accident, but he’ll be back the next time we play the Bowl”

    Which as it turned out, may be why that would be their last show together.

    ** And Bill, no one’s holding a gun to your head to read the comments. I for one, appreciate the tidbits of personal connection with the music people like to communicate.

    By lowendbill on Feb 26, 2010

  8. uh okay…there they are.

    Sorry to peeve Bill.

    By FrankD on Feb 26, 2010

  9. at further risk of peeving Bill further, I need to ask Lowe End Bill - can you share the Doors and whoever else opened?

    By FrankD on Feb 26, 2010

  10. God, I miss FZ!

    By Walter on Feb 27, 2010

  11. Peeve on, FrankD! But let us remember that Bill has the right to comment that no one should be able to comment.

    Tim Buckley, popular 60’s folksinger past his commercial peak, opened the show. I wasn’t and still am not familiar with his music, but he had a large following.

    My recording of the the Doors set has been widely circulated… to my embarrassment. The problem is that my new girlfriend wasn’t happy about having a tape recorder between us and so flirted throughout the show. What could I do? Ignore a hot girlfriend coming onto me? NO way, buddy!!! Anyways, too much of it was recorded for my comfort. There’s NO WAY I could possibly have imagined that I was preserving for posterity music that anonymous strangers would be clamoring to hear 30, 40 years later.

    Anyway, true story. So it goes… hope you understand.

    By lowendbill on Feb 27, 2010

  12. Sorry to upset the party. I deserve all that was thrown at me. I guess I’m a little jealous that I don’t have the stories to share. Keep the stories flowing so he music keeps on going.
    Thanks BigO for the music and all the people who share.

    By bill on Mar 2, 2010

  13. Hey.. a little historical precedent… the previous Bill-Bill tussle woulda pleased Frank NO END… nobuddy coulda been a BIGGER supporter of.. ‘ANYOnE gotta right to make any asshole comment you want.. even to complain AGAINST comments altogether.. that’s FRANK in A frikkin NUTSHELL… i propose that this comments thread has turned out as a TRUBUTE to out free speech musical pied piper!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    We all win…!
    Doccus Rockus Maximus

    By doccus on Mar 3, 2010

  14. It’s always great to get more Zappa. Thanks for another show that i’ve been looking for.

    By Matt on Mar 4, 2010


    By BLUEFOOD on Mar 6, 2010

  16. “…smells funny”? yukyuk. That’s gotta be a Frank line.

    I want to clarify: I didn’t think there was any tussle. Bill had an opinion. I and others disagreed. And Bill very graciously retracted his position. His civility - rare in this period of American decivilization - deserves respect. I take my hat off to you, bill.

    Further, as much as we all have varying degrees of appreciation for Zappa’s music and pronouncements, he dropped some pretty stupid mental turds as well. “I’m convinced nicotine has nutritional value” (paraphrased from his autobio) is the desperate rationalization of an addict. Had someone slapped some sense into his skull, he might still be around to enlighten, offend and infuriate.

    By lowendbill on Mar 6, 2010

  17. I would give anything to have been at this show. I’m very thankful for the upload, but I’d also do anything to have it be great quality. Certain tracks (approximate) are almost white noise.

    By Troy Evans on Sep 12, 2010

  18. We wanted to see the old crazy and demented Zappa and were surprised he was performing with a jazz band. A very sparse crowd agreed. Not that he was bad, it was just not what most people wanted to see. Most of the crowd headed for the door after less than an hour.I’d never heard of Tim Buckley, but he put on a spirited, although limited show. The Doors were particularly sad without buddy Jim, but they put on a good show. something was missing. At the end Ray Manzarek promised Jim would be back at the next show. It never came to pass.

    By Old Zappa on Jun 23, 2012

  19. Me I loved billy the mountain … my brother in law be me a tape in 72 when I was 12 changed my life for the better …. I lidtend to that 8 track tape till it fell apart if bin trying yo finds it ever since now here and billy are yeah….

    Joann from az

    By JoAnn sikes on Jan 27, 2014

  20. I was at this concert, how can I download this?
    This is the show where Frank picked on a horn player named Charlie I think if I remember right. Please let me know how to get this, I have clicked all over the page…
    BTW, I live north of Berdino, and Cocamonga past Palmdale, up west of Mojave. Where the turkey farmers run! Haven’t found Jonny Franklin yet, but the wind does blow..

    By Greg chick on Mar 24, 2020

  21. I got the 2nd. track #102, to download. Nothing else will play or anything….. [email protected] is my e please help if you can

    By Greg chick on Mar 24, 2020

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