A few of us were lucky enough to see FZ (not again, but at least for one occasion in our lifetime) in 1991 in Budapest or in Prague. Here comes the story how it happened.
In 1991, Frank Zappa travelled through the former communist states of Eastern-Central Europe, met some of its leaders and played in jam sessions with the leading figures of these states' musical scene. On 24th of june he was in Prague performing with Prazky Vyber, then he also visited Budapest, Hungary, where he met mayor Gábor Demszky and participated in a festival (dedicated to the soviet military troops' withdrawal from Hungary), where he played with hungarian jazz musicians of gipsy origins.
The fact that Frank Zappa comes to Budapest was a great surprise to me, because it was not really advertised, I just saw a poster on the street two days before the actual event. And so I was really proud to tell a friend of mine (now a guitar player in the band Djabe) about it, as a "thank you" for all the FZ-tapes he recorded me those days (remember, those were the casette-times).
Rumors said that there would be a soundcheck in the afternoon, so I went to the venue at twelve. The place itself is a park, an open air place, where the big rockbands of the seventies-eighties gave free concerts once a year, regularly (usually on the 1st of may or so).
The rest is history. FZ arrived in a huge limousine, we (10-20 guys) were around it, but the door just did not open for 10 minutes. Finally FZ got out, smiling, waving to us (getting out of course the opposite side we were). The musicians went up to the stage and played a 15 minute jam as a soundcheck. Not too much people were there, the festival itself was to start only few hours later, but if was great. Seeing Zappa from a few meters only, his fingers running up and down, seeing his music born - just unbelieveable, I've never thought I would experience this.
After this FZ was about to leave, but here came the opportunity for a handshake (!!!) and an autograph. After signing some books and papers, greeting the people, he left the place. As far as I know, he'd spend the afternoon with mayor Demszky, met musicians (Zoltán Kocsis, Iván Fischer, and even a folkmusician, among others). Meanwhile the festival begun and went on, and then came the time for FZ's REAL performance - at about 7 or 8 o'clock, pm. They played two solos - the fellow musicians were quite well-known jazz-figures, but - the way I saw it - they seemed to be a bit shy, as if they had some stage fright.
The first solo was said to be a kind of march, while the second a lullaby. I can clearly remember when FZ showed "five" to the band in "Glare Gypsies", as drummer Imre Kőszegi mentions it, and the band goes suddenly into 5/4 - it's also visible on the video. If I remember well, he came back once more, just to say "hello" to the audience, and to wish them (us) to have a good time. Parts of the event were broadcasted on the TV.
- "I want to play my own way" - guitar player Gyula Babos on music and Frank Zappa.
- "We felt like flying" - drummer Imre Kőszegi on music and playing with Frank Zappa.
- The Show in Budapest- a concert-tale by Eddie Persson, with the eyes of a foreigner;
- "Frankie Goes to Budapest" - a Hungarian article with some pictures;
- Pictures by Zapgus - if you have the patience to download them...
- Pictures from the TV-recording - from the fredunzel.com site
I don't know too much about the show in Prague, here's what I've found:
The concert by the Czech rock group Prazsky Vyber, which took place on June 24, 1991 in the Sports Hall in Prague was called Adieu C.A., which translated means "Goodbye Soviet Army". The concert was to celebrate the removal of the Soviet Union Army from the territory of Czechoslovakia. The concert was organized by the vocalist for Prazsky Vyber, Michael Kocab, who at that time was a member of the Czechoslovak Parliament. One of Kocab's duties at the parliament was overseeing the removal of the Soviet troops.
Frank Zappa jammed with the group on one of the songs: "Improvizace v A dur s Frankem Zappou". FZ played a guitar solo on this cut, which also included a "guitar duel" with Prazsky Vyber's guitarist Michal Pavlicek.
2005, July 3 - 15:28.