Frank Zappa's music has always been fascinating, confusing and unpredictable. Bringing together every single musical genre, instrument and sensibility, Zappa's vast output is a legacy of some of the most complex and brilliant music of this century.
Frank Zappa Concert Films
Classic Album: Apostrophe & Over-Nite Sensation
Runtime: 50 minThe Classic Albums series strives to be definitive, and this must-have program is fully authorized in the scope of its coverage. With complete cooperation and participation from the remaining Zappa family (sons Dweezil and Ahmet, daughter Moon, and widow Gail are all extensively interviewed) and additional interviews with Billy Bob Thornton, Alice Cooper, guitarist Steve Vai, veteran Rolling Stone critic David Fricke, and many of Zappa's closest associates and collaborators, this 97-minute documentary is packed with highlights and fascinating revelations, like the pristine precision of Zappa's hand-written compositions, Zappa's childhood fascination with the compositions of Edgard Varse, and his diligent, prolific, and disciplined, drug-free approach to recording and touring. Zappa's studio process is amazingly revealed when Dweezil and Zappa "Vaultmeister" Joe Travers sit down at a mixing table to analyze the master tapes of classic Zappa tracks like the hilariously controversial "Dyna-Moe Humm." In addition to vintage archival clips of Zappa discussing his music and career, and home movies of Zappa's band on tour during the mid-1970s, this program also includes the complete video of Zappa performing "I'm the Slime" on Saturday Night Live in 1976, live footage of a 1973 performance of "Montana," and a new performance of "Camarillo Brillo" by Dweezil's tribute band, Zappa Plays Zappa (with Dweezil playing one of his father's favorite Gibson guitars). Bonus features also include a Travers-hosted trip into the massive Zappa archives, and further deconstruction of Zappa tracks "Dirty Love" and "Nanook Rubs It." If you're a casual Zappa fan, this program will turn you into a passionate convert. For those who've loved Zappa all along, it's a little bit of heaven here on Earth.
The Torture Never Stops
Runtime: 1 hr 57 minFrank Zappa's New York Halloween 1981 concerts were filmed Live at The Palladium. This 'thing' entitled "The Torture Never Stops” was created in its entirety by FZ from the original concert production and intended by the Artist as one of 3 Television Specials. This is the longest version of the three - the others, "You Are What You Is" and "Dumb All Over", having actually aired. Halloween was Frank Zappa’s favourite holiday, and New York was the site of Frank Zappa Halloween concerts for years! The billion and a half airings by MTV of the concerts (non-edited) followed on closely from the release of the double album “You Are What You Is” in September of that year on Frank Zappa’s own recently founded and thoroughly independent label, Barking Pumpkin. Much of the set list is drawn from that work. All Frank Zappa shows were unique experiences with Zappa on guitar and baton, leading his band on flights of improvisation and drawing ever more intense performances from them. “The Torture Never Stops” cements Zappa’s reputation as one of the most innovative and challenging composers and performers of the 20th century.
Frank Zappa Top Tracks
A Show of Hands
Runtime: 1 hr 29 minProgressive power trio Rush is captured on-stage at the height of their powers in A Show of Hands, a live video recorded at Birmingham, England's National Exhibition Centre during the group's 1988 tour of the U.K. Selections include "Tom Sawyer," "The Spirit of Radio," "Closer to the Heart," "Marathon," "Manhattan Project," "Force Ten," and "The Rhythm Method" (the latter an extended drum solo from drummer Neil Peart).
Live at Montreux
Return To Forever
Runtime: 1 hr 49 minReturn To Forever were at the forefront of jazz/rock fusion in the seventies and like their contemporaries Weather Report and Mahavishnu Orchestra were formed by a former Miles Davis sideman, in this case the great Chick Corea. Return To Forever hit their commercial and artistic peak with a string of albums in the mid-seventies featuring the line-up of Chick Corea on keyboards, Stanley Clarke on bass, Al Di Meola on guitar and Lenny White on drums. In 2008 this classic line-up reunited for their first tour in 25 years and proved that their musicianship and the chemistry within the band were as strong as ever. This concert was filmed at Montreux in July 2008 with the bonus tracks being filmed in Clearwater, Florida later the same month.
Live at Ronnie Scott's
Runtime: 1 hr 40 minJeff Beck is a true rock legend. From his time with the Yardbirds in the sixties, through the Jeff Beck Group and throughout his solo career his unique guitar style and constant desire to explore new musical areas and sounds has won him the admiration of his peers and the adoration of legions of fans. In 2007 Jeff Beck performed a series of concerts at the renowned Ronnie Scotts club in London. They became the must have ticket of the year with a packed audience every night of the famous and the fans. This program features pieces recorded across the different nights and presents the best version of each track. Jeff is also joined by guests Joss Stone, Imogen Heap and Eric Clapton for some very special performances.
Sensation - The Story of Tommy
Runtime: 1 hr 20 minThe Who’s seminal double album “Tommy”, released in 1969, is a milestone in rock history. It revitalised the band’s career and established Pete Townshend as a composer and Roger Daltrey as one of rock’s foremost frontmen. The first album to be overtly billed as a “rock opera”, “Tommy” has gone on to sell over 20 million copies around the world and has been reimagined as both a film by Ken Russell in the mid-seventies and a touring stage production in the early nineties. This new film explores the background, creation and impact of “Tommy” through new interviews with Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey, archive interviews with the late John Entwistle, and contributions from engineer Bob Pridden, artwork creator Mike McInnerney plus others involved in the creation of the album and journalists who assess the album’s historic and cultural impact.
Classic Albums: Aja
Runtime: 50 minA vivid portrait of a '70s record that is still as fresh and memorable today as when it was released more than two decades ago. Pioneering pop/jazz band Steely Dan, formed by Donald Fagen and Walter Becker in the early seventies, had already secured five Top 40 albums before the release of Aja in 1977. Aja, however, was to prove to be the biggest selling album of Steely Dan's illustrious career, reaching No. 3 on the Billboard chart and spending a year in the Top 40. Becker and Fagen, renowned for their relentless perfectionism in the recording studio, recall the history of an album that was a year in the making, but rewarded with a Grammy Award and three hit singles. Steely Dan's Aja has proven to be one of the most outstanding jazz-rock albums in the history of popular music and now its story is told in this fascinating documentary.
Live in Athens 1987
Runtime: 1 hr 57 minIn October of 1987, after many months on the road, it was in the elevated surroundings of the hillside open-air theatre at Lycabettus overlooking Athens, that the "So" tour came to a climactic close. The three nights were filmed in what was the first-ever Peter Gabriel concert to be committed to film. As a concert film, it was brilliantly shot and has now been equally brilliantly remastered, a crystal-clear record of Gabriel and band in their mid-80s pomp. The viewer is placed right in the heart of the action all the way, from the band's synchronized choreography on opening number "This Is The Picture", right through to the skin-pricking closer "Biko". In between, we're lost in music, spellbound by the spectacle, totally absorbed by the imperfection-free tightness of a band that's been on the road for so long.
Live at Montreux: 1984
Runtime: 1 hr 54 minFormed by John McLaughlin in 1971, the Mahavishnu Orchestra pioneered the fusion of jazz elements into rock music while still undeniably retaining the power and muscle of a full on rock band. With McLaughlin as the ever-present, the line-up went through various phases and these two concerts from Montreux showcase the band at distinctively different times of their career, with the seventies show featuring later stars Jean-Luc Ponty and Michael Walden and the eighties concert featuring saxophone maestro Bill Evans.
Zappa Plays Zappa
Runtime: 57 minDweezil Zappa has led an extended and industrious rockin teenage combo dedicated to re-acquainting the world with the sights and sounds of his father, Frank. They revive Franks music in a fresh context that is -- above all else -- true to the elder Zappas unique and impeccable sonic heritage.
The junior Zappas guitar craft is at once like his fathers, and yet hes mature enough to have already developed his own signature touch.
ZPZ travels with a fairly substantial ensemble. Joining Dweezil are core constituents Joe Travers, Pete Griffin, Jamie Kime, Aaron Arntz, Scheila Gonzalez, and Billy Hulting. Another of Dweezils primary tethers to his father's legacy are the artists who at one time or another passed through the 60s, 70s, or 80s bands that Frank fronted.
Nothing Is Easy: Live At the Isle Of Wight 1970
Runtime: 1 hr 20 minNothing Is Easy is a true concert film, combining the classic performances from the festival with a new interview with Ian Anderson, specially shot for the film, and with backstage footage and original interviews from 1970 with Isle of Wight residents and fans attending the festival. Jethro Tull: Nothing Is Easy - Live at the Isle of Wight features the group's festival set in full. Also included in the film is footage of the band's appearance in the Rolling Stones' Rock And Roll Circus performing A Song For Jeffrey with Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath on guitar.
40th Anniversary Reunion Concert
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Runtime: 1 hr 28 minThe legendary rock band reunited to celebrate their 40th Anniversary and headlined London's first High Voltage Rock Festival. This was the historic moment when Emerson Lake and Palmer performed for the first time since 1998. This spectacular performance recaptured the musical genius of Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Carl Palmer as they performed their greatest hits in front of thousands of fans.
Live at Soundstage
Runtime: 55 minThe longest lasting and the most successful of the '70s progressive rock groups, the band YES comes together with their classic lineup (Rick Wakeman, Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, and Alan White) celebrating their 35th year together. Captured at the Tsongas arena in Massachusetts, this concert is on the grand scale of past years with new stage designs by famed artist Roger Dean. The show opens with the band entering the arena to Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite." From that moment forward, Yes delivers an unforgettable performance including classics such as "Going for the One," "Your Move/All Good People" and "Yours is No Disgrace."
Midway through the set they scale things down a bit and perform dazzling acoustic versions of "Long Distance Runaround," "Roundabout," and "Owner of a Lonely Heart", among others. The concert culminates with a rousing rendition of "Starship Trouper." Howe and Wakeman's dueling solo's coupled with Anderson's powerful yet delicate vocals make for an unforgettable finale.
Sum Of The Parts
Runtime: 1 hr 30 minThis is a feature-length documentary about Genesis - one of the most successful bands in rock history. And also one of the most vilified. A band that almost died in the mid-1970s with the loss of its leader ; it then survived a change of lead singer and style to storm the charts in the 1980s. Remarkably, its principle members developed successful solo careers in parallel with the band’s.
With full access to the key players, including Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins, the film recounts an extraordinary musical story .
They were British public school boys, whose experimental progressive rock band, led by Peter Gabriel, attracted for much of the 1970s a fervent, mainly young male, following. But then in the 1980s, the Phil Collins-led Genesis kicked into an altogether different, more pop, sound , attracting a massive following - including many young women fans . In the process, they became one the most successful bands in the world. Their 1986 album “Invisible Touch”, for example, produced five US top ten singles including number one with the title song.