The Frank Zappa 1988 Tour Project

I remember seeing ads for Frank Zappa's stop in Columbus in March 1988. I was already a fan at this point, but I was only 13 and didn't know many people who liked this sort of music, and I was then under the Rolling Stone -influenced delusion that the only "good" Zappa was the early Mothers albums. So I missed out on what turned out to be Zappa's last tour.

Many fans consider this to be FZ's best tour ever; the presence of horns, percussion and "stunt guitar" (not to mention the infamous Synclavier) gave the band a timbral variety lacking in the synth-dominated '84 tour, and the proliferation of "secret words" made each show unique. Also, the voter registration drive during the U.S. shows added a great deal of political edge to the shows, which the new songs reflected. Unfortunately, the tour proved to be a turbulent experience for FZ due to conflicts among the band members, and this ultimately cut short the existence of this lineup. However, the memory of "The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life" has stayed alive with the help of tapes and FZ's three official releases of material from the tour.

I hope that this page will be able to represent the work of the numerous FZ fans in the Net-community, including anyone who saw the shows or heard the tapes. In addition to setlists, I'm hoping to incorporate whatever show or recording reviews fans would like to contribute.

Needless to say, this page is dedicated to the other "hardcore fans who listen so carefully to every detail," as well as the musicians who made it possible, and, of course, Zappa himself.

- Pat Buzby

The 1988 Lineup

Frank Zappa (guitar/Synclavier/vocals), Ike Willis (rhythm guitar/vocals), Mike Keneally (stunt guitar/keyboards/vocals), Robert Martin (keyboards/Synclavier/ vocals), Ed Mann (percussion/Synclavier/vocals), Scott Thunes (bass/mini-moog), Chad Wackerman (drums/electronic percussion), Walt Fowler (trumpet/flugelhorn/Synclavier), Bruce Fowler (trombone), Paul Carman (alto/soprano sax), Albert Wing (tenor sax), Kurt McGettrick (baritone sax).

1988 The Easy Way - A Tour Overview

Setlists and Reviews

'88 Tour Repertoire

Album Sources

Other Info Sources About The Tour

Updates To The Site

Special thanks to Bill Lantz for providing important documents, and to everyone else on the Net who has sent comments and corrections so far.

Submit reviews or notes.
These pages were designed by Pat Buzby.