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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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WACKEN WINTER NIGHTS IS HEAVY METAL WONDERLAND

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.

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Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.



Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.

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MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.

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Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.

WACKEN 2018 TRAVEL PACKAGE ENQUIRY

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