1975: Known as "Why doesn't somebody get him a Pepsi?", this is essentially performed as on YCDTOSA Volume IV. Unfortunately, however, on that release, Frank chose to fade out the song after the vocals, and did not include the monster jam that typically followed. While the part of the song we know is performed the same nightly (apart from FZ's fills), the remainder of the song typically includes a truly inspiring jam. Frank riffing the blues, Denny's wicked slide, nonsense vocals by Brock and Beefheart. This foray into blues improv more than makes up for the rather lackluster version of this tune.
1975-76: Essentially performed as on "Zoot Allures", with the standard deviation coming in Frank's solo. This is a pretty scrappy, but typically interesting, version of this song. The entire song is performed in a very relaxed and understated manner, creating the feeling that the tune is simply going to fall apart at any moment. Because of this, Frank's solos tend to meander at times, lacking any real direction or intensity. At other times, however, this lack of structure gives Frank the greater rein that he needs to stretch out and really explore the guitar.
1976 Oct-Nov: Essentially performed as on "Conceptual Continuity" from Beat the Boots Volume II, with the standard deviation coming in Frank's solo. The '76 "Torture's" are taken at a very relaxed pace, and thus Frank's solos have quite a different flavor to them. Being a Grateful Dead fan, I have always found these solos to be very reminiscent of the Dead, having that particularly laid-back "hippy" quality. Bozzio and O'Hearn typically manage to infuse the latter portion of each solo with a climatic surge, but on the whole, these "Torture's" maintain a rather subdued quality.
1977 Jan-Feb: The slow, mellow version, essentially performed as on ZINY, accounting for obvious differences in instrumentation, and with the standard deviation coming in Frank's solo. Whether or not you like this version (and this goes for all "Torture's" through the Spring '78 tour), I think you have to admit that nobody could drum this tune better than Bozzio. When I was 18, I bought Frank's newly released YCDTOSA Volume I, and as much as I loved that entire compilation (my first FZ), it was Bozzio's drumming on that mammoth "Torture" that simply floored me. I do not know what it is about it, but Bozzio's style serves this song so well. Even Vinnie cannot compete when it comes to this tune. However, I digress. Like the ZINY version, the guitar solos found here typically start off as rather mellow affairs, though thanks to Bozzio's drumming, O'Hearn's bass playing, and the orgasmic screams of an unknown female in the background, the energy quickly builds, leading us to the tumultuous workouts that we have come to expect. Again, I hate to harp on this point, but it is during these solos, and the "Advance Romance" solos of the Fall '76 tour, and the "Yo Mama's" of the Spring '78 tour, that I find the Bozzio/O'Hearn combination to be the most inspiring support team that Frank ever had. But again, that's just me.
1977 Sep-Dec: Essentially performed as on YCDTOSA Volume I, with the standard deviation coming in Frank's solo. This is consistently one of the highlights of the tour, with some incredible Frank playing and some even more incredible bass playing from O'Hearn. While Frank frequently falls into the same mode of playing during these extended solos, O'Hearn is continually messing with the bass lines, and creating interesting textures to which Frank responds. Did I mention that this kid is amazing?
1978 Jan-Feb: Essentially performed as on YCDTOSA Volume I, with the standard variation coming in Frank's solo. This was one of the two monster guitar showcases of this tour. Although not perfectly consistent, Frank usually achieved god status on the '78 Torture workouts, as both the Stage version and "Rat Tomago"- a 2/15 Torture extract- easily prove.
RAT TOMAGO- The guitar solo from the 2/15 performance of "The Torture Never Stops". Approximately 30 seconds have been edited from the beginning of the solo.
1980 Oct-Dec: A true Monster on this tour. The song begins in the majestic manner of the YCDTOSA Volume I "Torture"- slow yet powerful, with Tommy playing a dominate role. The first two verses proceed as normal, with the band playing along more actively than on any other versions. A manic Vinnie, weird little bass fills, random Mars and Harris action- a lot of little extras that give this version a jumpy, hyperactive feel, despite the typically slow speed. We get the "sprechstimme" version of verse three (i.e. "The Dangerous Kitchen" effect), before returning to a normal chorus. Then, we get the Solo Section. Frank starts things off with a typically break neck and quite out of control guitar solo. This is not your typical, epic-sounding "Torture" solo. This is a beast of an almost heavy metal nature. After Frank solos at length, we get a keyboard solo- courtesy of Tommy Mars- which eventually dissolves into an always interesting and quite funky drum workout. Then, to top off this already too delicious dessert, Frank takes another solo, starting from scratch a la "Yo Mama", allowing the band to slowly pick up steam behind him. Then, in a more "Torture"-like fashion, Frank slowly builds a more patient guitar solo, before heading back into "Torture" proper once he's left us stunned and reeling. An excellent reworking of a classic tune, and possibly the highlight of the tour.
JAZZ DISCHARGE PARTY HATS- Patrick Buzby with this late breaking news- "This came up during "Torture Never Stops" at one fall '80 show. (FZ mentions in Electric Don Qioxite that it was "in Illinois" - I'm betting 11/15 Carbondale, since the Chicago shows were not recorded due to union problems.)"
1981: Essentially performed as on "As An Am" from Beat the Boots volume one, with the standard deviation coming in Frank's solo. This was the "sprechstimme" version, with the second verse rearranged and given that "Dangerous Kitchen" sort-of feel. While I don't particularly like the Zappa "sprechstimme" phase, there is something else about this version of "Torture" that bothers me. It does not seem to have any energy. While it is performed in the same slow-type style as YCDTOSA volume I, it does not have the calm power of that version, nor the hazy jam feel of the '76 version. Instead, it is just slow. The "sprechstimme" verse throws a little flavor into the mix, but not enough to salvage the remainder of the song. The solos are lengthy, but not particularly powerful. Essentially, this version is just not quite up to "Torture" standards.
1988: Essentially performed as on TBBYNHIYL, with the standard deviation coming in Frank's solo, and with one unplanned, possibly the highlight-of-the-tour Walt Fowler solo. On 4/27, when Frank steps up to take his solo, ugly, out-of-tune notes fly from his fingertips. "Oh oh, I forgot to tune my guitar", declares Frank, who then commands Walt to take over while Frank fixes his problem. Then, basing his solo on the few notes Frank played, Walt confidently proceeds, producing what this reporter thinks is the most beautiful performance of the tour. Soaring. Majestic. Coloring "Torture" a whole new shade of epic. A must hear performance. Frank returns and gives us his now obligatory solo, but sadly cannot match Fowler's creation. Sadly, Frank fails to see this as a starting point for a whole new breed of "Torture's", and thus this is the only deviant "Torture" we get all tour. As on TBBYNHIYL, the song appears as two parts for the entire tour, sandwiching "Bonanza" and "Lonesome Cowboy Burt". As is obvious on the released version, this tune is highly susceptible to Secret Word abuse, and thus frequently falls victim to some pretty ridiculous lyrical mutations. This is another example of Frank's excellent use of musical quotes, with the newly arranged "Torture Part 1" containing quotes from such television shows as "I Love Lucy", "My Three Sons", "Mission: Impossible", and "The Addams Family".
So Tracy Is A Snob turns out to be from the late show performance of The Torture Never Stops. My guess is that Emperor of Ohio comes from the same song, after the drum solo like in the Fort Collins show the day before.
I just relistened to Emperor Of Ohio, and yes, it sounds like a Torture keyboard solo excerpt followed by Vinnie soloing and preparing the segue into Heavy Duty Judy. I also listened to parts of Pick Me from the SLC early show, and it has a short drum solo segment (2:52-3:23) but it is not the one on the YCDTOSA track.
|0:00-0:30||unidentified concert, 1988|
|0:30-1:25||London, England, April 19, 1988|
|1:25-2:56||Würzburg, Germany, April 22, 1988|
|2:56-5:20||London, England, April 19, 1988|
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