Frank Zappa Edinburgh Playhouse 14th February 1977
“Welcome to our first Edinburgh concert !” Frank Zappa coming on stage in Edinburgh to a massive roar from the Scottish crowd.
This was Zappa’s first visit to Scotland. He played Glasgow Apollo one night, and Edinburgh Playhouse the next. I attended the Edinburgh concert; I had actually bought a ticket for his concert at Hammersmith, but then when he added the Edinburgh date, I decided it would be easier to make the trip north of the border, rather than go to London. In those days there was a late night train from Edinburgh to Newcastle (it doesn’t run now), which meant you could go to a gig at the Playhouse, run round to Waverley station (you had to be quick to catch the train) and be back home in the early hours of the morning. I’d been a big fan of Zappa and the Mothers since I first heard “We’re Only in it for the Money” and “Lumpy Gravy” in the late ’60s. Now those were the coolest of cool lps to carry to school under your arm; I remember having to order my copies of “Lumpy Gravy” and “Uncle Meat” from a local record shop (Bergs) and waiting ages for them to arrive. I was also a big fan of the “Hot Rats” album (another iconic sleeve). I’d been wanting to see Frank Zappa live for ages, and was so excited that I was finally getting the chance to do so. The set was a mix of material from throughout Zappa’s career including the magnificent “Peaches en Regalia” which is my favourite track on “Hot Rats”, back to the start with the Mothers cooky “Big Leg Emma”, full on Wah Wah on “My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama” and an amazing solo on “Black Napkins”. That night I realised that there was much more to Zappa than nutty songs, political statements, doowop, and childish toilet humour; that Frank Zappa was actually an excellent guitarist. Ran into my friend John who was studying in Edinburgh at the time. Had to run to catch the train home, totally knocked out that I had actually seen a genius and one of my all time heroes live in concert.
Setlist: The Purple Lagoon (intro.); Peaches en Regalia; The Torture Never Stops; Big Leg Emma; City of Tiny Lites; Pound for a Brown; Jones Crusher; My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama; Tryin’ to Grow a Chin; Broken Hearts Are for Assholes(with “Little Deuce Coupe” ); Dong Work for Yuda; Manx Needs Women; Titties ‘n Beer; Black Napkins; Dinah-Moe Humm; Camarillo Brillo / Muffin Man
The Zappa Band: Frank Zappa — guitar, vocals; Ray White – guitar, vocals; Eddie Jobson – keyboards, violin; Patrick O’Hearn – bass & Terry Bozzio – drums, vocals. It was great to see local hero Eddie Jobson playing violin with Zappa, it was only a few years earlier we were all dancing to him playing “Hava Nagila” with the excellent Fat Grapple in Sunderland Locarno.
A strange thing. My ticket shows that I had a seat in the front row of the stalls. Now in my memory I can picture myself sitting upstairs in the circle. I’m sure I would have remembered if I was in the front row. All I can think is that my seat was right at the side of the stage and a poor view and that I wandered upstairs and found an empty seat. But hey who knows.
John’s memory: “I can remember going to the show and had a ticket fairly near the front.I did not know much of his material except for the vintage Hot Rats which had been a popular “cool” album in the early 70’s.I went mainly based on his reputation and the fact that he did not play very often. I remember really enjoying the gig and thinking he was an exceptional player , despite not being familiar with a lot of the material. I think Eddie Jobson was in his band at the time. The set included Peaches en Regalia and the highlight of for me was City of Tiny Lites.”