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Newly hired stunt guitarist Mike Keneally kept an audio journal during most of Frank Zappa's 1988 "Broadway The Hard Way" tour that included set lists, backstage goings-on and many personal observations. Here are the transcripts of Mike's diaries, originally posted in chronological order on their 10-year anniversary dates.

1988 logo

FEBRUARY 29 1988

Well, now, it's February 29, Leap Year Day 1988, and I'm in Detroit. And Vivian, about two and a half hours ago, left me here and took the commuter transport to the airport to go home. She's been here for the last three days. I accidentally gave her the setlist from our show in Pittsburgh on February 25, so I can't say onto this tape right now what we played that night.

(1998 comment: a quick steal from Pat Buzby's excellent 1988 setlist archive reveals the following:

February 25, 1988 Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh, PA
I : Black Page #2, Who Needs The Peace Corps, We're Turning Again, Alien Orifice, Why Don't You Like Me*, Dickie's Such An Asshole, When The Lie's So Big, Planet Of The Baritone Women, Any Kind Of Pain, Jesus Thinks You're A Jerk
II : Torture/Burt/Torture**, Packard Goose***, Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up, Bamboozled By Love, King Kong, Stairway To Heaven
E1 : Andy, Inca Roads
E2 : I Am The Walrus, Illinois Enema Bandit, Strictly Genteel

LC Burt becomes Lonesome Cowboy Jim. Secret word : Jimmy Swaggart

* = parts released on Broadway the Hard Way

** = parts released on The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life

*** = parts released on Make A Jazz Noise Here)

I can tell you that at the Pittsburgh rehearsal we practiced "Young And Monde", "Man From Utopia/Mary Lou", and little hunks of other things which needed work here and there. Apart from that, I don't know what we played that night. Jonathan came to the show and enjoyed it very much, although it was very loud for him, as it tends to be for those people who don't heed my warning to bring something to put in their ears, because they always think they can handle it, and it always ends up being too loud for them. Not for my cousin Bobby though, because he spent much of his life in his bedroom listening to Maynard Ferguson on his stereo just as loud as it could possibly go, so it wasn't a shock to him.

Earlier in the day on February 25, prior to leaving for soundcheck and after the previous cassette entry, Jonathan came back to the hotel from his job interview and said that they liked him very much, and there was a good shot that he would soon be producing their 12:00 noon newscast. He was very pleased about that. Then he went off to visit a friend of his, and I went downstairs and went to rehearsal and ate. Then we had soundcheck, and dinner, and did the show which I don't remember right now. After the show, Jon brought me back to the hotel and got his stuff and drove off to stay with another friend of his who lives nearby.

The next morning, February 26, we had a 9:00 luggage pickup and a 9:30 departure, and I was barely awake for any of it, I was half asleep as I was packing my stuff. And we got in the van to the airport, and while I was sitting in the Pittsburgh airport Bobby Ward handed me an envelope containing that week's per diem, and it was only then that I realized that I had left an envelope containing $400 on the bedside table at the Holiday Inn in Pittsburgh. I very calmly mentioned this to Bobby Ward and he suggested calling the hotel. By this time I figured the maid had probably been through the room and the cash was lost forever. An hour had gone by, but when I called Charles the hotel manager, he summoned someone to go check the room and there the money was, by the telephone where I had left it. We called up Dwayne, who was over at Frank's hotel, and asked if he could stop by the Holiday Inn and pick up the money, and he said he would send Dave, Frank's bodyguard, to do that. And that was what was done. It was a very stupid thing to do but I was pleasantly surprised at the relative painlessness of the resolution, and extremely apologetic to all concerned.

We got on the airplane and flew from Pittsburgh to Detroit, then took a long van ride from Detroit to Troy on the outskirts of Detroit, which is where I am now, at this particular Holiday Inn. We didn't have that day off, it was a travel/show day, so we were here at the hotel for about two and a half hours, and just before we left to go to the hall, Vivian arrived. There she was in the elevator just as I was heading down, so it was fortuitous that we met when we did. We said a quick hello and goodbye and I went off to rehearsal.

In that rehearsal, Detroit #1, we once again practiced "Man From Utopia/Mary Lou", and then we practiced "Dumb All Over" and "Promiscuous." We're trying to get that thing down. Frank was working "Never On Sunday" into his guitar solos with numbing regularity, it's possibly supplanted "Girl From Ipanema" as a tour solo motif. Then we ate, although I didn't eat because I didn't feel like pork chops.

And then the show began. Detroit number one consisted of "Black Page", "When The Lie's So Big", "Jesus Thinks You're A Jerk", "Sofa", "We're Turning Again", "Alien Orifice", "Any Kind Of Pain", "Ain't Got No Heart", "Love Of My Life" and "Packard Goose." Frank specifically put "When The Lie's So Big" and "Jesus Thinks You're A Jerk" at the beginning of the set because ABC News was taping the beginning of the show and he wanted to get that stuff in. Set two was "Montana", "City Of Tiny Lites", "Pound For A Brown", "What's New In Baltimore", "Trouble Every Day", "Penguin In Bondage" and "Green Hotel." The fÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿòeakfast we did a bunch of laundry. Then it was off to rehearsal, and Viv attended rehearsal as well. We practiced a myriad of cover tunes - I don't know whether I mentioned this earlier, but a week or so ago I had a dream that we did a show consisting almost entirely of cover tunes; in the dream Frank had us playing "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" and "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue", and "Band On The Run" and "Love The One You're With." And at the time I thought: what a peculiar thing to dream about us playing all these odd cover tunes, but on this day in Detroit, in addition to "What Kind Of Girl Like You Doing In A Church Like This," we rehearsed "Time Is On My Side", "Lucy In The Sky", "Strawberry Fields", "Paperback Writer", "Taxman", "Norweigan Wood", "Within You Without You", "Sunshine Of Your Love" - there might have even been a couple more that I forgot about - and then, finally, we started work on "Hungry Freaks, Daddy."

That night, our show for Detroit #2 consisted of: set one - "Stink Foot", "Andy", "Inca Roads", "Uncle Remus", "Outside Now", "Disco Boy", "Teenage Wind", "Truck Driver Divorce" and "Packard Goose." This was kind of a sloppy set, but it seemed to go over well anyway. Set two was "Eat That Question", "Black Napkins", "Find Her Finer", "Who Needs The Peace Corps", "Norwegian Wood", "King Kong", and "Lucy In The Sky." And these were of course the tour premieres of "Norweigan Wood" and "Lucy In The Sky," as we had indeed played them for the first time that very afternoon, and it was with the original lyrics that we did these songs. We came back and did "Joe's Garage" and "Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?", and the second encore was supposed to be "Orange County" but somebody had tossed a box of dental floss onto the stage, and Frank said "I guess this means that you would like to hear a song which deals with this particular item" and everyone went "yay", so we went ahead and did "Montana", and continued on with the welds and did "City Of Tiny Lites" and "Pound For A Brown." That was a fairly lengthy second encore, and then we came back yet again for a third, and did "I Am The Walrus" and "Crew Slut." The length of the encores combined was probably just as long as either of the sets proper. So we got in a lot of playing that night, and it was a good show.

But the great show was February 28, Detroit #3. That day we rehearsed "Norweigan Wood" with new lyrics which Frank basically wrote on the spot regarding Jimmy Swaggart, and if it was to be retitled it would probably be called "Texas Motel." Frank was on a roll and "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" quickly became "Louisiana Hooker With Herpes," and then "Strawberry Fields Forever" which might also be newly entitled "Texas Motel." Vivian was there for that soundcheck too and was writing down all of Frank's new lyric changes as he blurted them out. We had quite a lot of fun.

The show that evening consisted of "Black Page", "Torture/Lonesome", "Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbeque", "Advance Romance", "Young And Monde", "Tinseltown Rebellion", "Trouble Every Day", "Penguin In Bondage" and "Green Hotel." Vivian came backstage during the break between the sets because Scott had been asking me how come she never came backstage, so I made sure that she did this time. Set two was "Heavy Duty Judy", "Why Don't You Like Me" which had a little spoken intro for the first time to clue the audience in, in case they couldn't understand the lyrics, that it was indeed a song about Michael Jackson, "Any Kind Of Pain", "When The Lie's So Big", "Jesus Thinks You're A Jerk", the newly modified medley of "Norweigan Wood", "Lucy In The Sky" and "Strawberry Fields", and finally "Orange County." The second half of this set was probably the finest moment on the tour so far. The new Beatle stuff went over amazingly well, the audience loved it, we played it great, everyone was just having a grand old time. Very strong happiness did I feel. After the set Frank was grinning fiercely backstage, saying "they LOVED that stuff!" And "Orange County" was fantastic, Scott and Chad and I really locked in during Frank's solo and it was very, very great. Then we came back for the encore: "Dancin' Fool", "Whipping Post" and "I Am The Walrus", which all went over well, and the final encore was "Easter Hay." Really a nice, beautiful way to end the show, 'cause it was a fairly frantic-type show at times, and then it had this "Easter Hay" ending and it felt just about perfect up there on the stage. It might have been more perfect if the first set hadn't ended with all those '84 arrangements, just maybe something different there, but...the audience liked it. It was fine. Everybody loved it. They had a great time. It was great. It was a great show. Really. A great show. And then it was back to the hotel again.

This morning, February 29, we woke up, I asked Viv if she wanted to have breakfast somewhere but it was getting kind of tight on time and she had to meet her commuter transport at 10:45, although it didn't show up until 11:00. And then she went away. We had a really wonderful time together the last three days. I wish she was still here. After she left, I walked over to Bob's Big Boy and had an omelette and walked around and walked around some more. And I came back to the hotel and did this. In a little while it'll be time to put the bags out, and then we're goin' on the bus, the big bus with the big Dwayne Taylor controversy: Dwayne, the tour manager, wants to have his own office set up on the non-smoking band bus, and the guys aren't having any of that, so there could be a big showdown in an hour and a half or so. We'll see if it turns into anything or if it's just a lot of smoke. 'Bye.

I thought of something else. During the rehearsal in Detroit on February 26, Frank used the term "one swell foop", which my Dad uses all the time. I thought that was interesting. And on February 28 Vivian met Laurel Fishman for the first time. And on February 27, I learned that this girl Fuji, who's been following us around from show to show, and who made a shirt for Scott, is the sister of the business partner of my cousin Steve Schwartz. After the show on the 27th, she was standing next to the stage as I was getting my stuff together, and she said "Do you have a cousin named Steve Schwartz?" and I said "yes" and she said "that's my brother's business partner." And we registered an appropriate amount of stunned disbelief at that. (pause) I stopped for a second because Pearl Bailey's picture was on the TV and I wanted to see if something tragic had happened, and I guess in a way it did, she performed for the Reagans at the White House yesterday. I think that's it.

I really wish Viv was still here. But you can't have everything when you're a travelling rock and roll semi-celebrity like I am.

Next episode:
MARCH 1 and 2 1988 (Complete with RealAudio excerpts from Mike's journal tapes!)

Last episode:
FEBRUARY 25 1988

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