Mothers of Invention: best rock sound since Beatles!

By Hugh Nolan

Disc And Music Echo, September 30, 1967

“NOW we’re gonna play,” said Frank Zappa, “and you're gonna clap and then I say ‘now let’s roll along a little’ and we’ll play some more and then you’ll clap and we’ll play some more and then we’ll go home and the war will go on and stuff.”

At London’s Albert Hall on Saturday the Mothers of Invention proved it is possible to break every rule in the book and still emerge as probably the best rock group to play in Britain since the Beatles made “She Loves You.” They put down or send up everything: flowerpower, America, the Mothers Of Invention, the audience, their music.

Because one thing shone through which could not be put down even despite Zappa’s attempts; musically, the Mothers are nothing short of incredible, and their show so well rehearsed and put together. 

The concert included several ill-at-ease members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, masses of amplifiers, two drumkits, kettle-drums, amplified trumpets and horns, and at one point a scrawny, long-haired Mother leapt up through the audience and played the Albert Hall's majestic grand organ. He played it beautifully, too.

The concert was a series of grand build-ups towards what Zappa called “big teenage climaxes;” they never reached the last one, so that after several minutes Zappa suddenly said good-bye, the Mothers disappeared from the stage and the astounded audience slowly realised the concert was indeed over and drifted out in a state of considerable tension. Outside the hall, Kensington looked very strange.