Frank Zappa
"Summer 1982 When Zappa Came to Sicily "
MVD Visual:

Frank Zappa fan and filmmaker Salvo Cuccia was supposed to attend Frank Zappa’s concert in Palermo, Sicily but didn’t make the gig. Thirty years later Cuccia reconstructs Zappa’s 1982 concert via concert footage that additionally includes (after the performance) backstage segments. Intertwined are band-member annotations with (latter day) scenes of the Zappa family reviewing the concert footage providing their own personal thoughts and commentary. Also included are still photographs with insights from FZ’s friend and biographer Massimo Bassoli.

What unravels at the Palermo stadium is bizarre. The promoter assembled the stage in the middle of the stadium field, but Zappa’s band cannot see the audience and the audience has little or no sightlines of the band performance. To make things worse there’s also a Mafia war breaking out, and at the other end of life’s spectrum: it’s also the celebration day for the patron Saint of Palermo. Chaos ensues, the police arrive breaking out teargas, bullets are flying all over eventually the concert is concluded. There are also video segments from when the band exits the stage into a safe shelter below. Long story short, it’s a strange sequence that had me wondering why the filmmaker wanted to release this frenzied concert performance and madness? But this is the legendary Frank Zappa and having fresh and previously unreleased Zappa concert performance footage is welcomed and appreciated. Just know it’s an odd event with some freaky moments.

This documentary is also about Sicily. This performance was one of the very first rock concerts on the Italian island. It’s also about the Zappa family: Gail Zappa, Moon Unit, Diva and Dweezel revisiting Partinico, Sicily, with Frank Zappa’s Italian relatives who celebrate a Sicilian street named after FZ, and a music room dedicated to Frank Zappa’s name.

“Summer 82: When Zappa Came to Sicily” portrays the Italian side of Zappa’s that isn’t often seen. It’s also heartening observing Zappa’s family from a time when they were still on speaking terms. The one and only feature addition is; a stills gallery.

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