The third and final album from the 1988 tour, and my personal favorite of the three. The focus here is mostly on the band's instrumental prowess, although there are also a few songs with vocals interspersed here and there. Everyone is in top form on this album, with showcases for the guitar, keyboards and horn section, and the rhythm section sounding outstandingly good. The recording quality and production on this album also shine - this is one of the best sounding live albums I've ever heard. If you like the jazzier, instrumental side of Frank's work, this album is a must-have.
After an introductory Stinkfoot (during which Frank gloats about Jimmy Swaggart getting caught with a prostitute, continuing the anti-Swaggart thread that connects all three '88 live albums), the nearly fifteen minute When Yuppies Go To Hell provides the bulk of the new material on the album. It's a very avant piece that sounds like it is edited together from various concert highlights, and includes music and vocal clips (mostly from the Mothers of Prevention album) played on the synclavier. I didn't like this track for a long time, and usually just sat through it waiting for the "good stuff" beyond it. But just recently I was listening to the album while driving on a mostly empty road late at night, and Yuppies struck me as a really, really good piece. Maybe I just needed to listen to it under the right conditions and with no distractions.
Yuppies segues straight into Fire and Chains, and there doesn't seem to be any logic behind where one track ends and the next begins. After about a minute, Fire turns into another guitar solo track, and like Republicans from the Guitar album, it's a solo over a looped, monotonous single chord. While I don't like the effect on Republicans, for some reason it works for me on Fire. Possibly because it seems more "in context", coming right after Yuppies.
After that, disc one goes into a beautifully played instrumental medley of songs from the early Mothers of Invention albums. Then we get teased with the keyboard intro to Eat That Question, but after a couple minutes the song cuts to Black Napkins. This is followed up by nice, long versions of Big Swifty and King Kong, and then the disc finally ends with Star Wars Won't Work. This is another looped guitar solo, with Frank repeating the title phrase over and over on top of the music.
Disc two opens with the "new age version" of The Black Page. It starts out very mellow and new-agey, but gets pretty intense by the end. A good version of the instrumental T'Mershi Duween and an eight minute Dupree's Paradise follow, and then we get a vocal number with City of Tiny Lights. After that, Frank plays one of his "orchestral" pieces, but first prepares the listener by playing a couple minutes of Stravinsky and Bartok. Then it's on to his own Sinister Footwear. A wonderful medley.
Stevie's Spanking is a return to vocals, and seems a little out of place on this album (it might have been better included on The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life), although it does contain a guitar solo. Alien Orifice is another compositional showcase. Cruisin' For Burgers returns to guitar soloing, and Advance Romance finishes off the lyrical songs. The disc ends with a beautiful Strictly Genteel. Frank liked to end albums with that song, and it works really well in that capacity, so it's only fitting that the last album from Frank's final tour ends with that song.
This album covers a lot of ground - jazz and rock, "comedy" and "serious" music. There wasn't much that this band couldn't do. If you only get one of the three 1988 band live albums, make it this one.