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  ZZ TOP: WOVEN INTO THE FABRIC OF AMERICAN MUSIC
ZZ Top: Mystic Showroom, Prior Lake, MN

3rd October 2017

jeff kunze
Words and Pictures: Jeff Kunze



zz top

ZZ Top are a rock'n'roll institution. Hailing from Houston, Texas, the band formed in 1969, released their first album in 1971 and have continued to keep the pedal to the floor for almost fifty years.

Three guys are responsible for the band's iconic history. The leader, main lyricist and music arranger is Billy Gibbons, who also plays guitar and sings lead on most of the catalog. Bass player Dusty Hill plays keyboards and does backing and some lead vocals while the longest running joke, the one man without a beard, is actually named Frank Beard. Oh the irony, and he provides the drums and contributes backing vocals.

zz top

This current tour is simply called 'The Tonnage Tour' and the stage features only a stack of amps on each side of drummer Frank and a star-lit background. Two microphones that look like detailed exhaust pipes that could have been used on the 1933 suped-up Ford Coupe made famous in the videos of the 1980s.

Opening with 'Got Me Under Pressure' set the table for some of the best blues based rock that's ever been done. The set consisted of eighteen unforgettable songs with standouts like 'Gimme All Your Lovin'', 'Jesus Just Left Chicago' and 'I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide' anchoring the early portions of the show.

zz top

Throughout the night a lot of covers were played, including 'Foxy Lady' (Jimi Hendrix), 'Catfish Blues' (Robert Parkway), 'Act Naturally' (Buck Owens And His Buckaroos) and 'Sixteen Tons' (Merle Travis).

The biggest hits came raining down towards the end starting with the MTV era gems 'Sharp Dressed Man' and 'Legs' which featured the white fuzzy guitars. 'Tush' and 'La Grange' followed and brought the house down.

These two songs have been woven into the fabric of American music. They have a soul that reaches out and touches everyone in earshot.

zz top

The night ended with 'Jailhouse Rock', made famous by Elvis Presley and left me feeling very fortunate to have been able to cover this show. ZZ Top are a bucket list band for many and this show didn't disappoint.

There isn't a better venue to witness this than the Mystic Showroom as it provides the perfect atmosphere and sound for people to be engulfed into the performance on stage. I'd go see this again tomorrow given the chance.

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