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ZZ Top
Written By: Gary Crouthamel
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ZZ Top
ZZ Top
ZZ Top
ZZ Top
ZZ Top
ZZ Top
ZZ Top
Monday, May 13, 2013
 
For my second concert road trip of the season I headed to Lancaster, Pa., for my all-time favorite band ZZ TOP. They have been touring now for four decades with all three original band members. This year’s tour is in support of the their fifteenth studio album "La Futura" with May dates here in the states then overseas and returning to the US in July and running through mid October. The American Music Theatre is a 1,600-seat theatre that is very intimate and resembles a large movie theatre with outstanding acoustics. I can’t wait to catch another show at this place. For this year’s tour, the band really changed its set list from the past years I've shot them. With four songs from their new album, one live premiere and two that haven't been played in years, I couldn't wait for the band to hit the stage. When the lights went out and ZZ Top took the stage, it was on  a very stripped-down production with a huge video screen covering the back of the stage, a drum kit in the middle and monitors on both sides of the drum kit; and screens in front of them that would also act as video screens as the night went on. As drummer Frank Beard takes his seat behind the tricked-out skull drum kit, out walks Billy Gibbons on lead guitar and vocals and Dusty Hill on bass guitar and vocals, dressed in their traditional sunglasses, hats, sleek outfits. Both playing new purple matching guitars, they launched right into "Precious and Grace", not played live since 2003; then "Heartache in Blue", off La Futura, and into "Waitin' for the Bus" /  "Jesus Just Left Chicago". Next up was "Flyin' High", and "Pincushion" before exchanging the purple guitars for their older models.
“We're gonna take a trip back to Texas for this next song,” Billy tells the crowd as they launched into "Heard it on the X", then "Gotsta Get Paid", off the new album with video footage on the big screen from the actual video they made for this song. Then they played "My Head's in Mississippi", with Billy singing the song and saying "Pennsylvania" instead of "Mississippi". Up next to get the rather quiet crowd at this point going they played  crowd favorite “Gimme All Your Lovin", with the MTV video of the same name playing on the screen; then another rarity, "Nasty Dogs and Funky Kings", not played live since 1997, before playing the live premiere of "Certified Blues", off the debut album ZZ Top's First Album, released in 1971. The last off the new album was "Chartreuse" and then to close out the first set was "Sharp Dressed Man" after which they exchanged guitars once again for their traditional fuzzy guitars for "Legs", with the MTV videos again on the big screen.
After a quick change of their jackets to bright purple ones, they return to the stage for their encore, being relativity the same over the years but packed with the mega-hits, "Tube Snake Boogie" to start and then the Elvis Presley cover "Viva Las Vegas,” with Dusty taking over vocal duties, followed by a medley with "La Grange / Sloppy Drunk / Bar-B-Q". Once again, but a little quieter than in the past, Billy asks the crowd, “Are We Having Fun Yet?” with the sold-out crowd giving a nice round of “yeahs” and applause. Billy puts a cigar in his mouth and, as for as many years as I can remember, his guitar tech Elwood comes out and lights it for him before they finish the night out with "Tush". Check their website out at www.zztop.com for their next concerts. And one last thing to throw out before I close. If anyone sees Joe Mama out gigging on the town, ask Joe how the show was; he saw them two days prior to this gig at the Revel in Atlantic City and he said he had never seen them before. Joe, hope you enjoyed the show. They always deliver!!
 
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