Saturday, September 30, 2017

50 years ago – Zappa's first visit to Scandinavia

Tonight is the 50th anniversary of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention's legendary concert in Konserthuset, Stockholm.
The September 30, 1967 show was recorded by Sveriges Radio and has been aired several times and as a result of that ended up on several bootlegs. It is also a rare recording of this early incarnation of the Mothers. The radio broadcast is 40 minutes long and starts off with several shorter pieces, mostly pop songs, and ends with a longer instrumental: King Kong, including I Can't Happen Here from the first Mothers album Freak Out! released in 1966.
The clip above from the Konserthuset concert includes Petrushka (Stravinsky), Bristol Stomp (Appell/Mann) and Big Leg Emma (Zappa).

This was the Mothers of Invention's first European tour and they first went to London and Amsterdam. The Scandinavian part of the tour started with two shows at Liseberg's amusement park in Gothenburg, Sweden on September 29. Next day they played Stockholm and then off to Copenhagen, Denmark (October 1), and Lund, Sweden (October 2).

Zappa and the Mothers quickly became quite popular in Scandinavia, at least in Sweden. During the next 15 years Zappa's European tours always included shows in the Scandinavian countries and sometimes in Finland too (actually not a Scandinavian country, although it borders to Sweden).
In Sweden Zappa got quite a lot of attention: In 1973 Swedish public service television filmed a concert in Stockholm with Zappa's new line up of the Mothers. In 1979 Zappa's song Bobby Brown was one of the most popular songs, also in Norway and Germany. Now and then one could even hear Dancin' Fool and Joe's Garage being played on Swedish Radio.

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