Frank Zappa's Fillmore East 1971 gets expanded 50th anniversary release

Frank Zappa
(Image credit: ‘courtesy of Altitude Distribution)

Frank Zappa's legendary 1971 release with The Mothers Of Invention, Fillmore East June 1971, is to be expanded for a 50th anniversary box set, The Mothers 1971, which will be released through Zappa Records/UMe on March 18.

The original album was a semi-conceptual release that supposedly peeked behind the curtain at the life of a touring rock band, that featured in The Mud Shark, the apocryphal Seattle Edgewater Inn story of the mud shark which, so legend goes, featured Led Zeppelin's John Bonham and tour manager Richard Curtis, a member of Vanilla Fudge, a shark and a groupie.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono appeared at one of the two Filllmore performances and performed an encore with Zappa and the Mothers, some of which appeared on Live Jam, a bonus disc with Lennon's own Some Time In New York City.

The ensuing tour saw Zappa and the Mothers tour Europe. At the December 1971 show at the Montreaux Casino took place when an over-zealous fan fired a flare gun which burned the venue down, a feat immortalised in Deep Purple's Smoke On The Water (Purple were in town to record Machine Head). When the tour reached London, with Zappa and band playing borrowed gear as theirs had all been lost in the Montreaux fire), a crazed fan pushed Zappa off stage and into the orchestra pit at the first of two proposed shows at London's Rainbow Theatre which left him with serious fractures, head trauma and injuries to his back, leg, and neck, as well as a crushed larynx.

The new Super Deluxe Edition boxed set The Mothers 1971 showcases these special 1971 lineups and commemorates these storied chapters in Zappa’s legacy. Overseen by the Zappa Trust and produced by Ahmet Zappa and Zappa Vaultmeister Joe Travers, the 100-track, nearly 10-hour set brings together every note of the fabled four shows that closed down the vaunted Fillmore East in New York City on June 5-6, 1971, including the entire John Lennon and Yoko Ono encore, along with the full Rainbow Theatre performance in London, England, on December 10, 1971, and for the very first time anywhere, contains the official audio of the Rainbow Theatre show’s truly shocking ending which was thought to have not been recorded until recently discovered.

The box set will be available on eight CDs or as a digital equivalent. There will also be a a pair of concurrently released individual 3LP sets, One, an expanded 50th anniversary 3LP vinyl edition of Fillmore East – June 1971 will have a remaster of the original 1971 live album on LP1 along with 2 LPs of bonus tracks, including the John Lennon and Yoko Ono encore and the complete masterpiece Billy The Mountain plus liner notes by Joe Travers, while Rainbow Theatre is the 3LP vinyl equivalent to the CD box’s contents, featuring a brand new 2021 mix and liner notes by Eddie Kramer.

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Frank Zappa

(Image credit: Zappa Records/UMe)
Jerry Ewing

Writer and broadcaster Jerry Ewing is the Editor of Prog Magazine which he founded for Future Publishing in 2009. He grew up in Sydney and began his writing career in London for Metal Forces magazine in 1989. He has since written for Metal Hammer, Maxim, Vox, Stuff and Bizarre magazines, among others. He created and edited Classic Rock Magazine for Dennis Publishing in 1998 and is the author of a variety of books on both music and sport, including Wonderous Stories; A Journey Through The Landscape Of Progressive Rock.