Zappa in New York was recorded in December 1976 at the Palladium and originally intended for release in 1977. It was held up due to arguments between Frank Zappa and his then-record label, Warner Bros. When the two-LP set finally appeared in March 1978, Warner had deleted "Punky's Whips," a song about drummer Terry Bozzio's attraction to Punky Meadows of Angel. When Zappa reacquired the album and released it as a double CD in 1991, he restored "Punky's Whips" and added four bonus tracks. The Zappa band, which includes bassist Patrick O'Hearn, percussionist Ruth Underwood, and keyboard player Eddie Jobson, along with a horn section including the two Brecker brothers, was one of the bandleader's most accomplished, which it had to be to play songs like "Black Page," even in the "easy" version presented here. Zappa also was at the height of his comic stagecraft, notably on songs like "Titties & Beer," which essentially is a comedy routine between Zappa and Bozzio, and "The Illinois Enema Bandit," which features TV announcer Don Pardo.
This two-CD set represents almost all of Frank Zappa's concert on January 20, 1976, at Hordern Pavilion in Sydney, Australia… The only problem is that there was only one reel-to-reel machine to record the concert, necessitating missing portions of several songs to change tapes; these gaps were replaced by excerpts from a pitch-corrected bootleg from the same tour, with an obvious drop in sound quality but little loss in continuity. This particular band – with tenor saxophonist Napoleon Murphy Brock, bassist Roy Estrada, drummer Terry Bozzio, and keyboardist Andre Lewis (in his only tour with Zappa) – has only been represented sporadically on Zappa's earlier releases. It's a great opportunity to hear songs in early incarnations, such as "Canard Toujours" (which went through a series of revisions before appearing as the lengthy "Let's Move to Cleveland"), the blistering instrumental "Filthy Habits," the hilarious "The Illinois Enema Bandit," and several tracks which first appeared on Zoot Allures in different form ("Zoot Allures," "Black Napkins," "Wind up Workin' in a Gas Station," "Find Her Finer," and "The Torture Never Stops").