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ZZ TOP
Written By: Gary Crouthamel
*Click images below to view larger versions.
ZZ TOP
ZZ TOP
ZZ TOP
ZZ TOP
ZZ TOP
ZZ TOP
ZZ TOP
ZZ TOP
Frank Beard
ZZ TOP
ZZ TOP
ZZ TOP
Billy Gibbons
ZZ TOP
ZZ TOP
Billy Gibbons
ZZ TOP
ZZ TOP
Dusty Hill
ZZ TOP
ZZ TOP
Dusty Hill
ZZ TOP
House Of Blues at The Showboat Casino
Atlantic City, NJ •  Sept.19, 2009
 
        For my second straight concert at the House Of Blues, there could not be a better band to play this venue. If you’re into rock, blues, and a southern taste of boogie, it doesn't get much better than ZZ Top. The three orignal members are Billy Gibbons, guitarist and singer, Dusty Hill, bassist and singer, and Frank Beard, ironically the sole member without a beard, on the drums. The Texas trio has been playing music for nearly four decades together. The Atlantic City show is part of their “The Show Must Go On Tour,” a nod to the cancellation of Aerosmith's North American trek this summer, which was to have ZZ Top as their opening act. In a release, Gibbons said, “We're not going to let a chance to take this show back on the road this fall pass us by.” He said, “we are ready to rock, so let's do the tour ourselves!” Also saying, “As musicians, we sometimes have to improvise and that's exactly what this tour's about. We're going to get out there and play for people who want to come to a 'down 'n' dirty' rock and roll show, no frills and no holds barred.”  After seeing the show, I can tell you that Gibbons stuck exactly to his words.
        With the audience chanting ZZ Top, ZZ Top, the lights go out and at ten o'clock ZZ Top hit the stage that was pretty much wide open with Billy and Dusty's shining chrome mike-stands at the front of the stage, Frank’s skull and bones tricked-out drum kit directly behind them in the center of the stage, and a gigantic video screen that took up the entire back. Performing a slew of well known songs, they opened up with “Got Me Under Pressure,” which set the mood of the night so well for an opener. Next they launched into “Waitin' For The Bus” and “Jesus Just Left Chicago” with the video screen showing, among other things, old ZZ Top videos, college-type montages and footage of vintage automobiles throughout the night. At the end of playing “Pincushion” and “I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide,” Gibbons asks if any Blues Technicians in the house would bring him a Blues Hat. Two really gorgeous women walk from stage side and deliver him his Blues Hat after which the band played a cover of Canned Heat's "Future Blues," which was absolutely amazing. Then “Cheap Sunglasses” led into the next song that I have been waiting quite a few years to hear, “Mexican Blackbird.” That was a cool treat to hear that one live again. Dusty then asks Gibbons’ guitar tech, Elwood, to bring him out a new guitar saying, “I think he broke this one.” Then Gibbons asked the crowd, is everyone with us tonight?” With a deafening roar, the crowd says, “yeah!”  “We've been doing this now for almost four decades,” he said,  “same three guys, same three chords.” (Pretty amazing and unbelievable.) Then the video screen lights up with a picture of Jimi Hendrix and they launch into “Foxy Lady” which receives well deserved applause. Then going all the way back to their first album, “Brown Sugar” is one they haven't played in a long time either. Dusty Hill pulled vocal duties singing “Party On The Patio,”  then Gibbons gets his Les Paul out for “Just Got Paid” on which he does some incredible slide work. Next up came a trio of hits from their 1983 hit album Eliminator, “Gimme All Your Lovin',” “Sharp Dressed Man” and “Legs” with the video screen now playing all of their MTV videos for all three songs to end their first set.
        After a short break the band returned to play what I think is the absolute best encore any ZZ Top fan could ask for! Opening with “Tube Snake Boogie,” then “LaGrange,” where in the middle of the song, the band and music just stop and Gibbons and Hill say, “Hell Yeah!” and continue to the end. The final song of this awesome encore was “Tush,” with the video screen now showing a montage of all their albums and very early photos of the band members. What a nice way to close out a wonderful night of Rock, Blues and Boogie, just as Gibbons said. ZZ Top will tour overseas for a few select dates during October then return to the US, expected to return to the studio soon with producer Rick Rubin for the band’s first studio album in several years. You can check out the progress of that, as well as anything else about ZZ Top, at www.zztop.com.  Once again I have to say, if you have the chance to catch these guys live in concert next time they tour, go and see them. You will not be disappointed; just three guys who will blow you away! I know I can’t wait to see them again.
– Gary Crouthamel, concert photojournalist
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