Frank Zappa’s Legendary 1977 “NYC Halloween” Residency Coming In Boxed Set

If you are any sort of music history buff that pays mind to the legends of Rock’s past then you might have heard about the legendary Frank Zappa Halloween shows that took place in NYC’s Palladium. Considering my own vintage these were just tales relayed to me by my older friends of the time but now we are all going to get an idea as to what went down. Take a look at the full press release below.

The Press Release:
By 1977, Frank Zappa’s Halloween shows were already the stuff of legends. While the shows began in the late ’60s, around 1972, these monumental performances would become annual events, initially in Passaic, NJ and Chicago, IL before moving to New York City in 1974, where they’d remain. NYC (and its audience) had become a special place for Zappa and the synchronization of Halloween in NYC proved to be the perfect match. From October 28-31, 1977, Zappa and his band played six historic shows at the 3,000 capacity Palladium. All the performances were recorded with four being filmed, resulting in Zappa’s mammoth film project, “Baby Snakes.”

Following the news that Frank Zappa will be going back on tour, the Zappa Family Trust and Universal are proud to announce that Zappa’s legendary Halloween residency of 1977 will be released for the first time in its entirety on October 20 via Zappa Records/UMe just in time for the 40th Anniversary of these shows. The Halloween 77 box set will include all six concerts with 158 tracks (mixed in 2016 from original vault masters) loaded onto a “Zappa’s Oh Punky” fun size candy bar-shaped USB drive in 24-bit WAV audio. The package will also include a 28-page digital booklet featuring never-before-seen photos and liner notes from Vaultmeister Joe Travers, co-producer of the box alongside Ahmet Zappa, and personal firsthand accounts from many of Zappa’s bandmates, crew and fans who were there, including guitarist Adrian Belew, percussionist Ed Mann, keyboard tech Thomas Nordegg, tour manager Phil Kaufman, and fan Janet “The Planet” Walley. In the spirit of Zappa’s favorite season, the specially designed, limited run box will include a retro Halloween mask and costume of the maestro himself. In addition to the box set, a 3CD version will also be available featuring the entire Halloween night show plus select tracks from the October 30th gig. Fans looking for a specific show will be able to purchase the concert of their choice digitally on release day.

Preorder Halloween 77 box set:
Preorder Halloween 77 3CD:

“This box set was a very special experience for me to work on,” said Ahmet Zappa. “I wanted to make sure we honored these legendary shows, so it was important to me that this box set felt of the era. It was a blast working with our partners to create the late ’70s-inspired Frank Zappa Mask and costume and the candy-shaped USB stick filled with tons of Zappa goodness. It was yet again a labor of love gathering up all the archival materials, reading notes by people who were there, and most importantly making sure the audio was up to par. All of us at Zappa Records are mighty pleased with it, and hope that fans of Frank Zappa and of Halloween will be too.”

Originally scheduled for four shows from October 28-31, Zappa added two more shows due to intense popular demand, with the final total tallying six shows in four days. The full residency is presented as it happened with no overdubs or additional tinkering. The audio was remixed from scratch using fresh transfers from the master multi-track tapes, which all had to be heat treated for transfer by Travers.

The 1977 lineup of the band featured Terry Bozzio on drums, Tommy Mars and Peter Wolf on keyboards, Adrian Belew on guitar and vocals, Ed Mann on percussion and Patrick O’Hearn on bass; this band could really burn. Over the six shows, the ensemble averaged 25 songs per night with exciting improvisations and audience participation from “New York’s Finest Crazy Persons” at every show, making each uniquely different. At these shows Zappa really got into the spirit with Halloween antics including bringing tech Thomas Nordegg on stage to perform some magic tricks and the band’s tour manager, the “Road Mangler,” Phil Kaufman, performing as the human trombone. Original Mothers’ bassist Roy Estrada also joined the festivities.

The songs performed at this musical marathon spanned Zappa’s then 11-year career with tracks from Hot Rats, Over-Nite Sensation, Bongo Fury, One Size Fits All, and his most recent album at the time, Zoot Allures. Many of the songs played were previously unreleased and would go on to be recorded for Zappa’s acclaimed 1979 album, Sheik Yerbouti, including “Flakes,” “Broken Hearts Are For Assholes,” “Jones Crusher,” “Bobby Brown Goes Down,” “City Of Tiny Lites,” “Tryin’ To Grow A Chin,” and “Wild Love.” The October 30th show notably featured the world premiere of the Grammy-nominated Disco satire “Dancin’ Fool,” andthe one and only performance of Zappa’s infamous “Jewish Princess.” The basic tracks from this performance were used on Sheik Yerbouti’s controversial studio version which ultimately attracted attention from the Anti-Defamation League who asked the FCC to ban the record from being played on the air.

Halloween 77 is not only rife with fan favorites but also includes many rare and unreleased performances and arrangements. This box set includes the first official release of the instrumental version of “Conehead.” These five versions are vastly different than the song that would be included on Zappa’s 1981 record, You Are What You Is. The rarely played“Läther” was performed at all six shows and immediately followed by the equally rare, “Wild Love,” which became a solo workout each night. This one-two punch was followed by the comedic song “Titties ‘N Beer,” ultimately released on Zappa In New York, made especially memorable each time for the caustic improv dialog Zappa spewed about a then ongoing legal battle with Warner Bros. Other highlights include six extended guitar workouts of “The Torture Never Stops” and the combustible Halloween night finale of “Black Napkins.”

Continuing the Zappa Family Trust and UMe’s Zappa on-going vinyl initiative, Zoot Allures will be reissued on 180-gram vinyl on October 20. Zoot Allures features two of Zappa’s signature guitar pieces, “Black Napkins” & “Zoot Allures.” The album became a fan favorite since its release in 1976. Originally conceived as a double-disc, Zappa re-edited it to a single record after pressure from his record company. This 180-gram reissue was mastered and cut directly from the analog tape master by Bernie Grundman in 2017.

Frank Zappa: Halloween 77 (Costume) Box Set

10-28-77 Show 1
1. 10-28-77 Show 1 Start/Introductions 3:28
2. Peaches En Regalia 2:42
3. The Torture Never Stops 13:05
4. Tryin’ To Grow A Chin 3:37
5. City Of Tiny Lites 6:04
6. Pound For A Brown 8:05
7. Bobby Brown Goes Down 4:33
8. Conehead (Instrumental) 9:19
9. Flakes 4:03
10. Big Leg Emma 1:47
11. Envelopes 2:29
12. Terry’s Solo #1 4:42
13. Disco Boy 3:53
14. Lather 3:36
15. Wild Love 24:05
16. Titties N Beer 7:16
17. Audience Participation #1 :48
18. The Black Page #2 3:02
19. Jones Crusher 2:48
20. Broken Hearts Are For Assholes 3:52
21. Punky’s Whips 9:43
22. Encore Audience #1 1:21
23. Dinah-Moe Humm 4:55
24. Camarillo Brillo 3:35
25. Muffin Man 4:36

10-28-77 Show 2
1. 10-28-77 Show 2 Start/Introductions 3:13
2. Peaches En Regalia 2:42
3. The Torture Never Stops 12:33
4. Tryin’ To Grow A Chin 3:37
5. City Of Tiny Lites 8:00
6. Pound For A Brown 9:19
7. Bobby Brown Goes Down 5:36
8. Conehead (Instrumental) 9:18
9. Flakes 4:10
10. Big Leg Emma 1:48
11. Envelopes 2:33
12. Terry’s Solo #2 4:17
13. Disco Boy 3:54
14. Lather 3:42
15. Wild Love 26:01
16. Titties N Beer 7:50
17. Audience Participation #2 2:37
18. The Black Page #2 3:14
19. Jones Crusher 2:58
20. Broken Hearts Are For Assholes 3:54
21. Punky’s Whips 9:51
22. Encore Audience #2 2:13
23. Dinah-Moe Humm 4:01
24. Camarillo Brillo 3:36
25. Muffin Man 6:20

10-29-77 Show 1
1. 10-29-77 Show 1 Start/Introductions 4:06
2. Peaches En Regalia 2:42
3. The Torture Never Stops 12:59
4. Tryin’ To Grow A Chin 3:34
5. City Of Tiny Lites 7:15
6. Pound For A Brown 8:26
7. Bobby Brown Goes Down 6:06
8. Conehead (Instrumental) 5:50
9. Flakes 3:53
10. Big Leg Emma 1:52
11. Envelopes 2:42
12. Terry’s Solo #3 3:51
13. Disco Boy 3:57
14. Lather 3:40
15. Wild Love 22:51
16. Titties N Beer 6:01
17. Audience Participation #3 2:42
18. The Black Page #2 3:05
19. Jones Crusher 2:53
20. Broken Hearts Are For Assholes 3:50
21. Punky’s Whips 9:18
22. Encore Audience #3 1:46
23. Dinah-Moe Humm 5:12
24. Camarillo Brillo 3:29
25. Muffin Man 5:09

10-29-77 Show 2
1. 10-29-77 Show 2 Start/Introductions 4:21
2. Peaches En Regalia 2:42
3. The Torture Never Stops 11:30
4. Tryin’ To Grow A Chin 3:36
5. City Of Tiny Lites 7:01
6. Pound For A Brown 9:05
7. Bobby Brown Goes Down 9:12
8. Conehead (Instrumental) 6:29
9. Flakes 3:28
10. Big Leg Emma 1:49
11. Envelopes 2:52
12. Terry’s Solo #4 4:07
13. Disco Boy 3:54
14. Lather 3:56
15. Wild Love 27:33
16. Titties N Beer 8:12
17. Audience Participation #4 5:02
18. The Black Page #2 2:57
19. Jones Crusher 2:49
20. Broken Hearts Are For Assholes 3:48
21. Punky’s Whips 9:36
22. Encore Audience #4 2:23
23. Dinah-Moe Humm 6:19
24. Camarillo Brillo 3:30
25. Muffin Man 6:02

10-30-77 Show
1. 10-30-77 Show Start 1:40
2. Stink-Foot 7:45
3. The Poodle Lecture 5:10
4. Dirty Love 2:32
5. Peaches En Regalia 2:40
6. The Torture Never Stops 12:53
7. Tryin’ To Grow A Chin 3:32
8. City Of Tiny Lites 7:36
9. Pound For A Brown 10:03
10. I Have Been In You 8:35
11. Dancin’ Fool (World Premiere) 4:50
12. Jewish Princess (Prototype) 4:41
13. King Kong 8:45
14. Terry’s Solo #5 5:07
15. Disco Boy 4:01
16. Envelopes 2:19
17. A Halloween Treat with Thomas Nordegg 6:17
18. Lather 3:47
19. Wild Love 25:19
20. Titties N Beer 7:01
21. Audience Participation #5 8:28
22. The Black Page #2 2:59
23. Jones Crusher 2:53
24. Broken Hearts Are For Assholes 3:52
25. Punky’s Whips 12:36
26. Encore Rap 1:11
27. Dinah-Moe Humm 6:06
28. Camarillo Brillo 3:27
29. Muffin Man 5:18
30. San Ber’dino 6:20

10-31-77 Show
1. Halloween 1977 Show Start/Introductions 3:11
2. Peaches En Regalia 2:42
3. The Torture Never Stops 13:54
4. Tryin’ To Grow A Chin 3:35
5. City Of Tiny Lites 8:17
6. Pound For A Brown 13:40
7. The Demise Of The Imported Rubber Goods Mask 8:33
8. Bobby Brown Goes Down 3:49
9. Conehead (Instrumental) 8:21
10. Flakes 3:04
11. Big Leg Emma 1:58
12. Envelopes 2:25
13. Terry’s Halloween Solo 4:38
14. Disco Boy 3:55
15. Lather 3:58
16. Wild Love 30:11
17. Titties ‘N’ Beer 7:24
18. Halloween Audience Participation 7:04
19. The Black Page #2 2:55
20. Jones Crusher 2:58
21. Broken Hearts Are For Assholes 3:52
22. Punky’s Whips 11:23
23. Halloween Encore Audience I 2:07
24. Dinah-Moe Humm 6:41
25. Camarillo Brillo 3:24
26. Muffin Man 5:21
27. San Ber’dino 5:01
28. Black Napkins 9:19

Frank Zappa: Halloween 77 (3CD)

Disc 1
1. Halloween 1977 Show Start/Introductions
2. Peaches En Regalia
3. The Torture Never Stops
4. Tryin’ To Grow A Chin
5. City Of Tiny Lites
6. Pound For A Brown
7. The Demise Of The Imported Rubber Goods Mask
8. Bobby Brown Goes Down
9. Conehead (Instrumental)
10. Flakes
11. Big Leg Emma

Disc 2
1. Envelopes
2. Terry’s Halloween Solo
3. Disco Boy
4. Lather
5. Wild Love
6. Titties ‘N’ Beer
7. Halloween Audience Participation
8. The Black Page #2
9. Jones Crusher
10. Broken Hearts Are For Assholes

Disc 3
1. Punky’s Whips
2. Halloween Encore Audience
3. Dinah-Moe Humm
4. Camarillo Brillo
5. Muffin Man
6. San Ber’dino
7. Black Napkins
Bonus Section:
8. King Kong 8:17
9. A Halloween Treat With Thomas Nordegg 6:15
10. Audience Participation #5 7:46
11. The Black Page #2 2:59

*** end of transmission ***

PiercingMetal Thoughts: Oh hey there, you managed to make it through that massive list. This sure sounds like something doesn’t it? It’s something that I will really be interested in owning for my collection since I have quite a few Zappa CD’s already. I actually have most of them from when they began re-issuing them in 2012 and if you consider yourself any sort of music connoisseur, then you should have some of these works in your collection. I nearly spit out my coffee when I saw the Frank Zappa costume in this one since its just a riot and perfect for these themed gigs. As the press release notes, Frank really loved Halloween and these shows are a testament to that fact. It’s great that such an amount of live Zappa recordings exist. As someone who had not only read about him but saw him in the eighties can attest, Zappa recorded EVERYTHING and I think we shall see more and more coming to light based on demand. As you can see its pretty hefty in terms of price point but if you’d like a condensed version to give you a basic glimpse, then the 3CD version is the perfect item for you. I don’t know if I will be able to review such a massive piece such as this but I am sure willing to try and in some sense to put on the Zappa costume for our annual Halloween photo. Are you excited about the release? Will you be purchasing it? Let me know down in the comments section below and especially if you were someone who might have witnessed one of these 1977 shows. It will be awesome to hear from you.

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