ZZ Top -- who would have thought they were even still around, much less touring ... but they are, and they are ... and they ROCK!
The show was fantastic.
Well, a little odd, too, but fantastic. Odd how, you ask?
First, I'm not that much older than I was when I first rocked out to "I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide," "Cheap Sunglasses," and "Jesus Just Left Chicago" among other awesome ZZ Top hits. So why did everyone in the audience look so damned old?!?
(And act so old! The dude next to me was sitting, looking tired, and complaining to the people in front of him that they should sit down. WTF? You're at a concert -- stand up and dance, or at least bob your head a little! Really!)
The warm-up band (Philip Sayce) must have noticed this, too, because it opened with a song called "One Foot in the Grave." Oddly appropriate, I suppose...
Second, the video screen behind the band didn't add much to the show and sometimes seemed, well, just weird.... floating spark plugs (for "Got Me Under Pressure")? floating wrenches ("Jesus Just Left Chicago")? floating hubcaps ("Waiting For the Bus")? Was this an auto-parts store ad, or what?
But the show itself? Rocked. Ignore the lame video screen and focus on the act itself, and you'll be pleased. The band looks essentially the same as they did in the 1970s and 80s-- two dudes with suits, hats, sunglasses, and the trademark long (if a bit grayer) beards, and the un-bearded drummer, Frank Beard. Three "Beards," one way or another.
And they sounded great -- played all their classics with their best blues sound. And played a straight-up tribute to Jimi Hendrix ("Hey Joe") along with an explanation that they appreciated Hendrix's recognition of them when they were just starting out (in 1969!).
Here's a sample -- from a different show, for sure, but it'll give you an idea of it:
And they're good people, too, not narcissistic bastards like some aging stars can become. During the show, a fan waved a copy of their first album. Guitarist Gibbons waved the man up to the stage, chatted with him a minute or so, and then all three of the band members autographed it. Then he pretended to auction it off, talking fast and sounding for all the world like a real auctioneer -- "OK, the bidding starts at $1000, over here do I hear $1000, $1000 over here.... Nah, I'm just kiddin'!" And he gave the album back to the fellow, to loud applause.
Later in the show, a kid dressed in ZZ Top attire -- black suit, hat, sunglasses, fake beard -- was invited up on stage to share the spotlight for a few minutes. Gibbons teased him, saying he had stolen his Halloween costume.
All in all, a down-to-earth, fun performance.
Ya' just gotta love that great little "Beard band" from Texas!
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They have shows coming up in October in Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Alabama, Texas, Illinois, Iowa, and West Virginia. Maybe you, too, can catch the awesomeness with a side of odd. For more info, click here.