It’s a rare treat to see and hear classic Rock bands playing a bunch of songs you thought you might never have the pleasure of witnessing live. There’s been a bit of that going around recently, and Friday night gave me the chance to indulge in some good old Texas Blues played by the bastions of that supposed sub genre, ZZ Top.
The choice of opening bands was rather tasteful, with Australia’s Voodoo Sons thumping out their own take on Hard Rock. The band chose Hendrix’s “Little Wing” as a quintessential cover proving their playing abilities and impressing the audience. The Hendrix tune, as well as their very own “Nothing Lasts Forever” was the definitive highlight of their set. It really is a shame that the crowd of old rockers who eventually packed in for the headliners didn’t really give these guys a chance.
The Dead Daisies fronted by Jon Stevens of Noiseworks and Jesus Christ Superstar fame was next on the list. Thankfully, Stevens’ pedigree assured that by this time the crowd was building to solid proportions. The Dead Daisies play solid, hard, Blues Rock, but as I’m not all that familiar with their original material, the most memorable moments were some banging covers. These were Bad Company’s “All Right Now” and The Faces “Stay With Me”. On the latter, Stevens emulated Rod Stewart’s hoarse tone that made the original what it was.
By the time ZZ Top was ready to take to the stage, the crowd had almost disallowed any prospect of movement within the Metro theatre. I took up my position at the top of the stairs as the band punched into “Thank You” after a brief video of a busty blonde cowgirl introduced the “Lil’ old band from Texas”.
From the outset, it was clear guitarist Billy Gibbons and co-front man and bassist Dusty Hill haven’t lost any of their choreographed on stage movement. No, it’s not just in the videos, but live too. Good thing too, as it seems drummer Frank Beard likes to hide behind his elaborate kit, which included a gong as well as various other percussive pieces that Beard seemingly never used.
Gibbons and Hill’s dress sense was impeccable, with matching ranchero style jackets making it difficult to distinguish who’s who if it wasn’t for the instruments they play. It needs to be noted here that the two apparently never consulted each other on the matching beards. The practically identical facial hair was grown independently of each other during an extended hiatus. Who says classic styles must be contrived? Obviously though, the matching guitars and apparel are a concerted effort to add to the punch line.
For any true fan of ZZ Top, the show was intensely satisfying. All the classics like “Pincushion”, “Gimme All Your Lovin’”, and “Sharp Dress Man” were covered in addition to some slightly more obscure pieces like “Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers”, “Chartreuse”, and “Gotsta Get Paid”. Then, once the fluffy guitars were broken out, it was clearly time for the peerless “Legs”, after which the band teased the crowd by walking off stage. Soon enough though, they re-emerged to pleasure us with an encore that included “Tube Snake Boogie” and “Tush”. Hooya!