On October 23, 2013, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Master Chorale performed Frank Zappa's 200 Motels (The Suites) at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in L.A.
The performance from that night will be released on November 20 by Zappa Records/UMe on two-CDs and digital audio. Officially Zappa's 101st album, the set includes photos from the evening and essays by the show and recording's producers, Gail Zappa and Frank Filipetti, the evening's director James Darrah, "Scoremeister" Kurt Morgan, and performers including Diva Zappa, Michael Des Barres, special guest "Rock" rhythm section drummer Joe Travers, and former Zappa band member Scott Thunes. Essays by some notable members of the audience, including Steve Vai and Peter Asher, are also included.
Frank's son, Ahmet, said "This marks the 101st Frank Zappa album release and the last record Gail creatively worked on, as well. It was an incredibly important project for her and a real labor of love to see it through to completion. It was an amazing night of music -- the performances were extraordinary and the Maestro Esa-Pekka Salonen was phenomenal. This is an especially emotional release for my family and I know both Gail and Frank are smiling down with pride at this record."
The 2013 200 Motels (The Suites) performance by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Master Chorale was a special evening – and some might even say it was predestined (even if the LA Weekly's preview headline asked, "Is Disney Hall ready for an evening of uncensored Frank Zappa?"). Written and produced by Frank Zappa to accompany his 200 Motels feature film, portions of the score were premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic with Zubin Mehta conducting in May 1970 at UCLA (a performance the Los Angeles Times' then music and dance critic Martin Bernheimer called "an unsettling evening"), before the kaleidoscopic film and double LP soundtrack's release in 1971.
"I would say that the outrageous aspects of Zappa are perhaps less important for today's audience," Salonen told Variety in an interview before the 2013 performance. "We're witnessing an historical moment where we can actually hear the other aspects of his music better because we are no longer stunned by the outrageousness. Reading this score now, there is a sheer richness of fantasy. He had such a vivid imagination in every way."
The track list:
- Went On The Road
- This Town Is A Sealed Tuna Sandwich
- The Restaurant Scene
- Touring Can Make You Crazy
- What's The Name Of Your Group?
- Can I Help You With This Dummy?
- The Pleated Gazelle
- I'm Stealing The Room
- Shove It Right In
- Penis Dimension
- Strictly Genteel