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ZZ Top
Written By: Gary Crouthamel
*Click images below to view larger versions.
ZZ Top
ZZ Top
ZZ Top
Billy Gibbons
ZZ Top
Dusty Hill
ZZ Top
Frank Beard
ZZ Top
ZZ Top
Gibbons' guitar features the cartoon character from 1994 CD Antenna.
ZZ Top
Dusty Hill
Aberdeen Proving Grounds
Aberdeen, Md.  •  June 22, 2008

    Let me first say, this was definitely the first time I ever had to show my ticket and photo ID to get into a concert; only to be asked again by military personnel at the entrance gate who were carrying pretty good size rifles. Well, welcome to the Aberdeen Proving Grounds, obviously a military installation as I noticed quite a lot of military equipment, tanks and artillery, on the sides of the road after entering the gate.  I began to wonder if I was really heading to a ZZ Top concert.
    Now, just let me start by saying, "Lawd Have Mercy"
    As the night turned dark and the estimated crowd of 8,000 started to chant “ZZ Top, ZZ Top,” we were ready for the band when they hit the stage. Frank Beard took his place behind his drum set that was tricked out to look like a hot rod. Then Billy Gibbons on lead guitar and Dusty Hill on bass hit the stage opening up to the sounds of "Gimme All Your Lovin", "Got Me Under Pressure" and my all time favorite "Waitin For The Bus/Jesus Just Left Chicago".
    Now, since I have been seeing these same three guys in concert and most tours since 1976, this trio is without a doubt one of the tightest rock outfits I have ever seen play live. Not just their music but the perfectly synced stage lighting, crystal clear sound, their every wag of their beards, every sidestep, every heel to toe. Just a class act in all. So that’s why the hot rod has always been a symbol trademark for the Top all these years, ‘cause seeing them live is like getting run over by one.
    ZZ kept the crowd happy with a set of the trio’s numerous hits including "Chevrolet" (I was floored by this one), "Pincushion", "I'm Bad I'm Nationwide", "Heard It On The X", "Just Got Paid", "I Need You Tonight", "Cheap Sunglasses", "Planet Of Woman" (another unexpected one), and "Sharp Dressed Man."
    Gibbons and Hill, all clad in black, with their trademark sunglasses in place, stuck to a matching, blinding white guitar and bass set, with the exception of a couple of songs where Gibbons played a gold Gibson Les Paul guitar known as his Pearly Gates. For the next song, "Legs," out came another bit of rock-n-roll memorabilia when they brought out their famous fuzzy guitar and bass from the video of the same name.
    For the encore, the band returned to the stage to perform a trio of songs that included "Tube Snake Boogie," "La Grange," and "Tush."  The show was everything I had expected it to be and then some, and it cannot be stressed how big a sound comes out of these three guys in a live setting. Such attitude and style on stage and they make performing seem so effortless. The only thing I would hope for on their next tour would be for the band to be promoting music from an all-new disc.. So if you have the chance and/or time this summer, go see these guys live; you won’t be disappointed at all. That’s where I leave you saying I will be seeing them live again myself in late August and early September.
Gary Crouthamel, concert photo journalist
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