Montana

FZ album(s) in which song has appeared

Tour(s) on which song is known to have been performed (main source: FZShows, v. 7.1)

Comments

Foggy G, "The Songs That Were Played," We're Only In It For The Touring

1972: For the most part, this song is essentially performed as always, with the added pleasure of the horns, and some very minor changes in the lyrics. The only markedly different aspect of the song is the opening vamp- a fast, hyper riff played on drums and bass over which the main theme, as we know it, is played. This riff only lasts several bars, before disappearing with the appearance of the pre-vocal drum flurry. Also, after Frank's typically impressive guitar solo (which overlays some even more impressive drum and bass work), the riff returns along with the opening theme. There is no high vocal section in this version, with the song immediately jumping to the "I'm going to find me a horse" line after Frank's solo and the reprise of the opening theme. Oh yeah- the tweezers are chrome plated.

1973: Essentially performed as on "Overnite Sensation", with the standard deviation coming in Frank's solo. It is at this point in its evolution where Frank's "Montana" solos start to become interesting, as he begins to stretch out and really explore the guitar in these longer than usual solos. These are no Fall '74 monsters, mind you, but they display the potential that Frank would later so successfully exploit. The post-solo "tiny little horse" section is strictly instrumental at this point in time.

1973 (Oct-Dec): Essentially performed as on "Overnite Sensation", with the standard deviation coming in Frank's solo. During the infamous Roxy performance, Fowler the bass player puts on a stunning display of technique as he successfully plays the melody line, using all the high notes, to the post-solo "tiny little horse" section.

1974 (Feb-Mar): Essentially performed as on "Overnite Sensation", with the standard deviation coming in Frank's solo. These solos were typically quite short this time out, but seemed to always contain quite a bit of energy and high spirits.

1974 (Apr-May): Essentially performed as always, with the standard deviation coming in Frank's solo.

1974 (Jun-Dec): Essentially played as on YCDTOSA Volume II, although the "thrilling conclusion" to the song was usually played. The solos were routinely excellent, and frequently dissolved into complete randomness thanks to Chester's interesting drum accompianment. Vocal changes were usually minimal ("I'm moving to..."), and no versions ever reached the extremes of the unbeatable Helsinki version.

1975: As always, with the standard deviation coming in Frank's "not-as-insane-as-on-the-previous-tour-but-still-great" solo, and with Brock singing the post-solo "Tiny Horse" section.

1976-77: Essentially performed as on "Overnite Sensation", accounting for obvious differences in instrumentation, and with the standard deviation coming in Frank's solo. Yes, for what would be the last time until that strange week in December of '84, Frank solos in this song. Not a particular worthy solo (does not hold a candle to the madness of the Fall '74 outing), but it is still a "Montana" solo nonetheless. Oddly enough, Frank decides not to play the "I ride a little tiny horse" section that follows the solo, and thus manages to sabotage this version nonetheless.

1979: The first horseman of the Apocalypse, right here. In what would be a sign of horrible things to come, Frank chose NOT to play the guitar solo in this song during this tour (in fact, for almost every performance of this song from here on). Why, Frank, why? Yes, this song was extremely overplayed from '73-'75, but did you ever hear a bad Montana solo? No, you did not, because there was no such thing as a bad Montana solo. This was Frank's stomping ground- his home turf- his El Monte. He did no wrong in Montana. So what happened to our beloved guitar solo? We will never know. All we know is that from here on out, we got no solo, just the rest of this harmless little ditty. Pity.

1981: Imagine this song- performed as it was in 1974- performed again in 1981, when Frank Zappa is in top guitar playing form. Imagine the guitar extravaganzas- the spellbinding excursions of fretboard majestry- that would erupt during the course of this song. Eardrums would bleed, eyeballs would bulge, frontal lobes would shrink from over stimulation. But wait- Montana was performed! In '81!! When Frank was at his guitar playing peak!!! The solos- imagine the solos!!!! Wait- there are no solos? None? At all? Are you kidding? What kind of cruel joke is this? Aaaaaaaah!!!!

1982: Yes, the reign of terror continues. Okay, so we get Steve Vai playing the melody lines in the "tiny little horse" section. That's cool. And Bobby Martin does do some good "yippie-ay-o, ay-a"'s. But c'mon Frank- where's the solo? You know the one- where you would pick up the guitar, play for quite a bit, and simply never disappoint. What happened to that part of this song? Have you simply forgot about it all these years? C'mon man, we want some answers, and we want them now. This is just not funny anymore.

1984: December, 1984-> Frank Zappa goes crazy the last weeks of the tour. No one knows what happened, but for some strange, unexplainable reason, Mr. Zappa picks up his guitar and plays solos during this song. No, seriously, he does. And as far as this reporter can tell, this is the only time he did such a thing- during this song- since 1977. Sure, he played this song A LOT in the '80's- probably too much- and he played it exactly as it sounds on "Overnite Sensation", but most of the time he forgot the solo part. Yeah, that's right, forgot the solo part. No guitar. Instead, straight to Ike singing about his tiny little horse. Ladies and gentleman, what is the point of this song if not the guitar solo? I mean, Frank, what were you thinking? At least we have December.

1988: Performed as it has always been performed since time began, though sadly, like most of its earlier '80's cousins (not counting those mutants that popped up for a week in December of '84- "Montana's" from a better time and place), these performances have no guitar solos. None. Zero. Zilch. Prompting the oft repeated '80's question- Why, Frank, why? (Though considering how lackluster Frank's guitar solos are this time round, maybe for once this is a good decision).

 

Conceptual Continuity

Dental Hygiene:
More Zircon-Encrusted Tweezers:
Little booger-bears:

 

 

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