ZZ Top Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion September 24, 2010
For more photos from the show, see our slideshow here.
People talk all the time about the depleting ozone layer, melting polar ice caps, melting polar bears, ravaged rain forests, shortages of crude oil, but that can all go to Hell.
When ZZ Top is gone from this Earth, we will really have problems. The quotient of cool in this state and even the world will begin to rapidly diminish. We don't want to live in a world without ZZ Top, even though one day we may have to try.
If you were raised in Texas, correctly, ZZ Top runs in your blood. Let's put it this way: If you don't own Eliminator, Tres Hombres, or at least a greatest-hits compilation and are currently carrying a Texas drivers license, we have little to no use for you. You need help. Why do you hate yourself? We are not saying that you are scum per se, but there have been rumors.
Sure, you may be a helpful part of our economy and you may even be lucky enough to hold public office. But if you can't sing along to "La Grange," you confound us like three years of college algebra. Don't ask.
ZZ Top opened for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Friday, setting up the crowd so Petty and his crew could knock Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion down. In front of a quickly-filling complex, Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard laid down a solid hour of hits that can't be toppled or argued with, a straight 60 minutes of every iconic riff and howl they have ever created.
"Got Me Under Pressure" opened things up tight around 7:40 p.m. We could probably listen to the cocaine-and-S&M track on a loop for an hour before we got a twinge of sickness from it. When you hear it live, the band slows it down just a clip and it almost has a subtle grind to it. Maybe with age they have learned to milk it for more than they could in the '80s. Age and experience and all that jazz.
It is still almost unfathomable to us that three guys can make that much noise on their own. The best power trios have a way of doing that, making you almost think for a second that you are being hoodwinked.
The boys pulled out " I Need You Tonight" as a portion of their two-part blues section, for which Gibbons needed a "blues hat." Luckily, two comely brunettes in black garters and lace were on hand to present him with one onstage. We just assume that chicks old enough to be ZZ's grandbabies are always just steps away to stroke their beards and light things for them.
The band's quick version of the Billy Roberts-penned Jimi Hendrix hit "Hey Joe" closed the quick blues set, with the stage's screen flashing a picture of Hendrix with the pre-ZZ Moving Sidewalks during one of that band's opening slots for the guitar wonder.
Gibbons brought his mother out onstage for a quick minute to introduce her to the crowd, just two songs after he flashed what looked like a joint to us, coming from his bedazzled FFA jacket. Who else could hypothetically carry weed in one of those with such style other than ZZ Top? Don't say Lemmy, because we all know he was the editor of his high school's magazine.
The closing four-song battering ram, "Gimme All Your Sharp Dressed Legs And Tush," was the stuff of FM radio dreams. Flashing clips of their old music videos onscreen made us miss the days when hairy, bearded, greasy guys could chase women in high-waisted lingerie down city blocks in their hot rods while playing furry guitars.
Also, whatever happened to that much-put-upon guy from all their clips? Did he ever finally get laid?
Or at least get a better job with benefits?
Our only beef we have is that we want to see ZZ Top in a smaller venue than a pavilion in the suburbs before we can't see them again ever. We would even settle for Verizon Wireless Theater or House of Blues and its inhumane beer prices. And preferably not opening for someone.
God bless Aerosmith and Petty, but let's have someone open up for ZZ Top for a change.
Personal Bias: Aftermath was born in Texas and has basic common sense. The trio, along with Motorhead and George Strait, make up a holy trinity in our heads of artists who can do no wrong. "Desert island bands" if you will.
The Crowd: A healthy handful of folks who saw these guys on the earliest tours, khaki-wearing business people with clients, leathery bikers and their old ladies, and shimmery and willowy third and fourth wives who were in elementary school when Antenna was released.
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Overheard In the Crowd: A lot of "Hell yeah, brother!" and "Getcha some!" during solos. Other people were yelling stuff too.
Random Notebook Dump: Billy Gibbons' beard is wider than his legs are.
Got Me Under Pressure Waiting For The Bus/Jesus Just Left Chicago Cheap Sunglasses I Need You Tonight Hey Joe Gimme All Your Lovin' Sharp Dressed Man Legs La Grange Tush