Frank Zappa

Beat The Boots II: 5. Swiss Cheese Fire!

Montreux, SWI

Dec 4, 1971

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About Formats
Show Notes

Recorded at Casino, Montreaux, Switzerland - December 4, 1971



FZ: guitar, vocals 

Mark Volman: vocals 

Howard Kaylan: vocals 

Jim Pons: bass, vocals

Don Preston: keyboards

Ian Underwood: keyboards

Aynsley Dunbar: drums


"The 1971 European winter tour gets the award for being the most disasterous. On December 4, we were working at the Casino de Montreux in Geneva, Switzerland, right on the edge of the lake—just in front of Igor Stravinsky Street—a venue noted for its jazz festivals. In the middle of Don Preston's synthesizer solo on "King Kong," the place suddenly caught fire. Somebody in the audience had a bottle rocket or a Roman candle and had fired it into the ceiling, at which point the rattan covering started to burn (other versions of the story claim the blaze was the result of faulty wiring). There were between twenty-five hundred and three thousand kids packed into the room—well over capacity.

Since more kids were outside, trying to get in, the organizers had cleverly chained the doors shut. When the fire began, the audience was left with two ways out: through the front door, which was pretty small, or through a plate-glass window off to the side of the stage.  I made an announcement—something like: "Please be calm. We have to leave here. There is a fire and why don't we get out?"

You'd be surprised how well people who speak only French can understand you when its a matter of life and death. They began filing out through the front door. As the room was filling with smoke, one of our roadies took an equipment case and smashed the big window. The crew then began helping people to escape through it into some kind of garden place below. The band escaped through an underground tunnel that led from behind the stage through the parking garage. A few minutes later the heating system in the building exploded, and some people were blown through the window. Fortunately, nobody was killed and there were only a few minor injuries—however, the entire building, about thirteen million dollars' worth, burned to the ground, and we lost all our equipment."

—FZ, from The Real Frank Zappa Book



Setlist at Beat The Boots II: 5. Swiss Cheese Fire!, Montreux, SWI on Dec 4, 1971

Set One

Intro 862


Peaches En Regalia 208


Tears Began To Fall/She Painted Up Her Face/Half-A-Dozen Provocative Squats 361


Call Any Vegetable 595


Anyway The Wind Blows 225


Magdalena 335


Dog Breath 255


Sofa 1087


A Pound For A Brown (On The Bus) 427


Wonderful Wino 301


Sharleena 271


Cruisin' For Burgers 186


King Kong 85


Fire! 116


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