At the beginning of the show at Moe's Alley on Saturday, saxophonist Napoleon Murphy Brock told the crowd "this isn't rock and roll, this is total music theater."
He wasn't lying.
The crowd of Zappa fans, mostly 40-somethings and up, mouthed along with the peculiar lyrics of songs from Roxy and Elsewhere, and were moved to hear Zappa's warm voice piped through the speakers at the beginning of some of the live tracks. All that was missing was his hologram, which some fans shouted for.
There was no "high point" to the set, since the band played into crescendo after crescendo, but keyboardist Don Preston did play an iPad and make SpongeBob SquarePants disappear in a poof of smoke.
The entire band was tight, delivering a complex cacaphone of musical scales that may have lost a few at times, but brought them back with the goosebump-inducing guitar solos of Miroslave Tadic.
Bassist Tom Fowler, another original member, looked like he was having the time of his life laying it down, and drummer Christopher Garcia smiled while keeping it alive with a frenzied heartbeat.