Baby, Please Don't Go — with Zappa, part 1



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John Lennon - Baby, Please Don't Go (Fillmore East 1971)

Checking for Matches…

Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention with Flo & Eddie, and special guests John Lennon & Yoko Ono -- at the closing of the Fill

If you never knew about, heard about, or saw this performance, this is gonna blow your mind.

Lennon only did a handful of public performances after The Beatles, and it’s a nice nod to Frank that John considered him a conductor who could handle the improv weirdness.  And ya gotta love how Zappa takes control of both the audience and his band — with a Beatle on stage, circa 1971.

How epic is this?  It’s the closing of Bill Graham’s Fillmore East, the East Village theater that birthed so many careers and so much magic for three electric years in rock n roll history — and here’s THE Beatle showing up unannounced in his proudly new hometown, appearing on stage in the current rock n roll Cavern with one of the most avant-garde and genre-blending bands of all time.

This is the entire and only 24 minutes — from a single miraculously-present 16mm camera.  This is one of the silliest, most historic, craziest musical combos, and revealingly unrehearsed moments in the annals of rock n roll that was captured with a primitive audience tripod.


And you think, “24 minutes!  I ain't watchin' no stickin' 24 minutes!”  But by the middle jam, you’re like, “Oh no!  There’s only 10 minutes left!”  

An audio recording of this appeared on Lennon’s wonderfully bizarreSome Time In New York City album — a double-record time-capsule that’s been foolishly dismissed since it came out, but actually contains, for instance, this.

Not only are John & Yoko playing to their freeform passion in their new hometown, but this is prime Mothers of Invention — Flo & Eddie on vocals, Aynsley Dunbar on drums, Ian Underwood on keys . . . .  

This was recorded the same weekend as Zappa & The Mothers' live landmark album Fillmore East –– June 1971.”  This clip is erroneously dated June 5th in the opening credits, but was actually the second & closing night, Sunday June 6th.   


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A guide to the 24 minutes:

2 min. — Baby, Please Don’t Go— the classic old blues song that everyone including The Beatles used to play 

4 min. — fantastic Zappa guitar solo 

8 min. — pretty sick jam 

9 min. — “Baby...” ends, Frank and John start conducting (mostly vocal and drum) sounds 

11 min. — Ian Underwood (keyboards) starts what Lennon called “Jamrag” on his album but is really Zappa’s instrumental “King Kong,” with Yoko in the role of the cat in heat 

16 min. — Howard Kaylan (Eddie) puts a bag over Yoko

18 min. — Zappa addresses the “brothers & sisters” at the Fillmore;  Mark Volman (Flo) takes the bag off Yoko

19 min. — there’s a 50 second video (but not audio) black-out, don’t freak-out 

20 min. — Frank says, “Goodnight boys and girls.” 

21 min. — Lennon on feedback;  The Mothers walk past exiting the stage;  John & Yoko remain to Hendrix soundscape his Fillmore stage 

23 min. — “Houston, the signal is breaking up.”



Guest's picture

Truly historic, and beautiful. From when music was alive! (Not that I don't appreciate what's going on these days. You just wouldn't see this on some awards show. Kanye might dig it though.)

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