Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Return to Forever IV at the Moody


I bought the tickets to this show with the same crew that I attended the RTF Returns show with in 2008. This was the first of three, RTF reunion lineups, that have toured since then:

  1. Chick Corea, Stanley Clark, Lenny White, Al DiMeola
  2. Chick Corea, Stanley Clark, Lenny White, Bill Connors
  3. Corea, Clark, & White

Unfortunately, the latter two tours did not come to Texas, but I have seen Chick perform twice since then, once with the Five Peace Band, and playing solo piano. I really enjoy Chick's playing, so I was very anxious to see this show.

We convened at Franks, before walking down to the Moody Theater for the show.

Zappa Plays Zappa

The opener was Zappa Plays Zappa. The lineup was very similar to the show I saw at Stubbs, two years ago, with the obvious addition of a new keyboard player.

The current lineup includes:

  • Dweezil Zappa - Guitar
  • Scheila Gonzalez - Saxophone, Flute, Keyboards & Vocals
  • Pete Griffin - Bass
  • Billy Hulting - Marimba, Mallets & Percussion
  • Jamie Kime - Guitar
  • Ben Thomas - Vocals & Trumpet
  • Joe Travers - Drums & Vocals
  • Chris Norton - Keyboards & Vocals
Zappa Plays Zappa

Set List

The set was similar to the Stubb's show two years ago. As usual, Dweezil had two special guests, with Chick Corea joining the band for one song, and then Eric Johnson, coming out later. I may have missed a song or two, but the set list was basically, as follows:

  • Don't you ever wash that thing?
  • Pajama people
  • Fifty fifty
  • Big swifty
  • King Kong - with Chick Corea
  • Don't you eat that yellow snow
  • Saint Alphonzo's Pancake Breakfast
  • Willie the Pimp - with Eric Johnson

Everything ZPZ played was well executed. I liked the new keyboard player, and even enjoyed the vocalist's singing more this time around. When Chick sat in with the band, the soloing was amazing, and he spent considerable time trading 8's with Dweezil. Even Eric Johnson was prepared, and his appearance with ZPZ was much better than what he delivered at Stubbs.

Return to Forever IV

The lineup for RTF IV is new, with two new players who have never played with the band before. In addition to the core lineup of Corea, Clarke, and White, RTF IV also includes:

  • Frank Gambale (of Elektric Band fame) - guitars
  • Jean Luc Ponty - violin (need I say more?)

Set List

The Set List was a mix of classic RTF songs, along with an individual songs written by JLP, and Stanley Clarke. There's not much to say other than this was a fantastic show.

I will say that JLP to the mix was akin to RTF a la mode. The apple pie was already really good, the ice cream pushed it over the top!

  • Medieval Overture
  • Senor Mouse
  • Sorceress / Shadow of Lo
  • Renaissance
  • After the Cosmic Rain
  • Romantic Warrior


  • Spain
  • School Days

All in all, it was a stupendous night of prog and fusion goodness.

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