In a message dated 1/28/07 6:55:50 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
I was just freaking out to a bit of Stage Vol 2 yesterday when I looked at 
the back of the cd case to see when it came out.

I couldn't believe it when it said 1988,well I suppose I could when I 
thought about it but blimey how time flies.

Superb show though.
Vol 1 is ace.
Three is excellent.

The 82 stuff on 4 is great.

Vols 5 & 6 are ok but not so good,and seem a bit rushed perhaps 
understandably ;-((

What do others think of the Stage series ? 
Volume 1 is excellent, and is an album that I would term "essential" for 
Zappa fans and people just getting into Zappa. YMMV.

Volume 2 is Ok. I don't want to use the term "overrated", but it's very 
tempting. The first disc is really good. The second one drags down with a 
performance of "Dupree's Paradise". The sprint thru "Uncle Meat / Dog Breath" 
could be a lot more enjoyable. I wonder why more people don't complain about 
mix on this album. The overall sound is pretty 1980s for it being a 1974 
recording. I'm not just talking about the bass drum, either. FZ's guitar in 
particular was reprocessed in such a way that it doesn't even sound like his 
circa 1974. I find it kind of annoying. That and the regrettable overuse of 
digital reverb.

Volume 3 is a hell of a lot of fun. I know a lot of people don't love the 
1984 band. And almost an entire album's worth of stuff in this volume might be 
little much. But it's fun. The 1973 "Dickie's" is great, and the extended, 
multi-edited "King Kong" is awesome.

Volume 4 is too inconsistent. This could have been an amazing volume of the 
series, but too many selections sabotage it. The 1982 stuff is great, but 
there's a lot of other stuff on it that leaves me unsatisfied. Think of what 
could have been used from the Bongo Fury tour instead of the long and boring 
"original" Torture Never Stops, for instance.

Volume 5. Hm. I don't listen to the first disc very often. It's great when I 
want an early Mothers fix, but I don't come back to it very often. The 1982 
band.. what can I say. 2nd disc is great, but there certainly could have been 
better song choices than another version of "Dancing Fool". That said, it's one 
of my favorite individual discs of the series.

Volume 6 is actually probably my 2nd favorite overall of the series, after 
Volume 1. I'm not crazy about a couple of the choices on the first disc, but 
second disc is excellent. It's really a shame the series ended here, as there 
was obviously so much more of this kind of live stuff that FZ could have put 
together, but.. he probably spent an awful lot of time on these 6 volumes 
anyway and needed to move on to other projects at some point.


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