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ZZ Top /3 Doors Down / Gretchen Wilson
Written By: Gary Crouthamel
*Click images below to view larger versions.
ZZ Top /3 Doors Down / Gretchen Wilson
ZZ Top /3 Doors Down / Gretchen Wilson
ZZ Top /3 Doors Down / Gretchen Wilson
ZZ Top /3 Doors Down / Gretchen Wilson
ZZ Top /3 Doors Down / Gretchen Wilson
ZZ Top /3 Doors Down / Gretchen Wilson
ZZ Top /3 Doors Down / Gretchen Wilson
ZZ Top /3 Doors Down / Gretchen Wilson
ZZ Top /3 Doors Down / Gretchen Wilson
ZZ Top /3 Doors Down / Gretchen Wilson
ZZ Top /3 Doors Down / Gretchen Wilson
ZZ Top /3 Doors Down / Gretchen Wilson
ZZ Top /3 Doors Down / Gretchen Wilson
ZZ Top /3 Doors Down / Gretchen Wilson
ZZ Top /3 Doors Down / Gretchen Wilson
ZZ Top /3 Doors Down / Gretchen Wilson
ZZ Top /3 Doors Down / Gretchen Wilson
ZZ Top /3 Doors Down / Gretchen Wilson
ZZ Top /3 Doors Down / Gretchen Wilson
ZZ Top /3 Doors Down / Gretchen Wilson
Mark G. Etess Arena in the Trump Taj Mahal
Atlantic City, NJ •  Saturday, May 26th
 
        This week’s show took me from one beach town to another. I’m always interested in shooting in a new venue and this one was the Mark G. Etess Arena in the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, N.J., a very intimate 3,500 seat theatre located right in the casino and in front of Atlantic City's Steel Pier. Not sure what they mean by steel pier because when I walked out there, it sure looked and felt like concrete to me. Anyway, let me get to the show and back to OC!!
         First up was Gretchen Wilson whose 30-minute set let her play a few songs from her four albums, closing with covers of Foreigner's "Hot Blooded" and Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll."
        Next up was 3 Doors Down, opening up their set with "Time of My Life" off their latest album of the same name. Their 50-minute set let them play mostly all of their radio friendly hits and most from their debut album The Better Life: "Duck and Run", "Be Like That", "Loser", "Kryponite" and a few other favorites such as "Away From the Sun" and "It’s Not My Time." They closed their set with "When I'm Gone."
        Now, after a short set change, bring on that "Little Ol’ Band from Texas", ZZ Top (and my all-time favorite). The stage for this show was very simple:  Frank Beard’s drum set up in the middle; on both sides of his kit were Billy Gibbons’ and Dusty Hill's lone monitor and the back of the stage was a full video screen, a far cry  from the "World Wide Texas Tour" of the ‘70s (that I saw at the Spectrum, and it rocked, with live cattle and animals onstage) and their “Eliminator,” “Afterburner” and “Recycler” Tours as well. The band hit the stage and opened with "I Thank You", and from that first song the sellout crowd rose to their feet and stayed up for the next 90 minutes.
        Next was "Waitin' for the Bus" / "Jesus Just left Chicago" and without uttering a word, right into "Pincushion" with the video screen displaying a voo-doo doll with a huge pin stuck in it. Now Billy addresses the crowd by saying, "Is everybody having a good time tonight? And would you mind if we play some blues?” Now Billy’s guitar tech Elwood brings out a 1962 Gibson Melody Maker guitar which he says was his very first guitar he ever had and asks Elwood, “do you really want me to play this?” before he starts playing a trio of blues songs. "Vincent Price Blues" (with clips of old Vincent Price movies on the screen), "Heaven, Hell or Houston" (which I have never heard them play live) and "My Head's in Mississippi" were included in this blues run. Now Elwood brings out Billy's "Pearly Gates" (a 1959 Gibson Les Paul standard) and they launch into "Heard It On The X", "Stages" and Billy, noticing a lot of the crowd drinking, played "Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers". Now saying he wanted to feature the drummer on the next song, Frank started pounding a beat and Billy and Dusty started the familiar riff that starts the song that helped shoot their career into overdrive, "Gimme All Your Lovin" followed by a couple more hits from their MTV heydey "Sharp Dressed Man" and "Legs" for which both guitar techs bring out the famous fuzzy white guitars for this song as the video screen is playing clips from all three songs from the MTV videos.
        The band left the stage but the crowd wasn’t about to let it end there as the chant began, ZZ Top, ZZ Top, ZZ Top, before the band returned to the stage for their encore. They revisited the 70's one more time with two classics, and always a closer for their shows, (once again two of my all-time favorite songs) "La Grange" and "Tush" before waving goodbye and saying their thank you’s.
        To view more photos please go to www.coconuttimes.com
– Gary Crouthamel, concert photojournalist

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