Frank Zappa is amply represented by numerous recordings available under his own name, as well as a few videos, most of which are out of print at the beginning of the 21st century. The live performances from a concert in December 1991 at the Ritz Theatre in New York City also marked the occasion where his family finally formally announced that he was seriously ill with cancer, which would end his life two years later. Although the performance honors a small portion of his considerable legacy as a composer, the music is, for the most part, rather disappointing. Although Joel Thome's orchestrations are okay, the chemistry just isn't there without Zappa himself being involved directly on stage. There are two representatives (guitarist Mike Keneally and bassist Scott Thunes) from his final touring band, as well as several important guests, including his son Dweezil Zappa and Steve Vai on guitar and the outstanding a cappella group the Persuasions (delivering a zesty performance of "The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing"). Unfortunately, most of the remainder of the concert comes off rather limp when compared to a typical show led by Zappa himself; these covers are just not an acceptable substitute. Part of this video was simultaneously released on CD under the same title; both versions are out of print, whereas almost everything Zappa released commercially is still available.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden