By D. Schweers
What a hassle! What joy! Nobody puts on a show like the Mothers. The Armadillo World Headquarters was oversold both nights , overflowing with people trying to take in the non-stop urban magic the Mothers are somehow able to share. There was nothing country about it, nothing to ease the mind or calm the senses or console a lonely heart.
Zappa talked about loneliness, pointed talk with a back-up beat, talk about a He and a She who both found True Love with a capital "T" and a capital "L" and so escaped loneliness until, one day, He went to the store and She stayed home and Both felt again what they thought they had escaped, the point being that people always get lonely and if you are a people you'll always get lonely now and then so stop expecting different and get on with it – which is just what the Mothers did, giving their audience time enough to think about their message only when they finally took a break.
"It's the best music Armadillo has ever had that I've heard", says Scout Stormcloud, who should know. I cannot say how good the music was. It is too hard for me to separate the music from the show. The music was recorded those nights and will be out on record at some later date so you can decide for yourself when that happens. It's the show itself that should have been recorded, on film. No record is going to catch the bounce in the sax player's body or Captain Beefheart's antics.
The first night there was this fellow who was in psychedelic ecstasy, dancing like a whirling dervish. Beefheart kept trying to kick this fellow off as the fellow tried to get up onto the stage, only it became a game because the fellow never let himself get hit and Beefheart never missed a word of his song, the whole time doing this kicking, prancing, and falling back with this looney who was finally grabbed by four of Armadillo's finest and rousted out of the building.
No record is going to catch that scene or the fantastic use of color light and strobe. I am told that one reason the light show was so tight is that the two light men both read sheet music and had the music right in front of them.
Neither will a record catch the frustration and pleasure of all the people who had squished themselves into Armadillo at $5 a head. Some never found seats, perhaps hundreds. The second night somebody called in a bomb scare, I believe somebody who could not find a spot to squat and so made everyone evacuate the building so that maybe a spot could be found when everybody went back in. No record is going to capture the people crowding around the stage or the beer, the cups, and the cans thrown at those people to get them to sit down so the folks already sitting down could see or the junk that was thrown back at them or the fights that resulted.
It was Armadillo at its best and its worst, nothing mediocre about it.
1. May 20 & 21, 1975 concerts at the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, Texas. Part of these concerts recordings were released in album Bongo Fury.
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