Live From Texas

ZZ Top

Get ready for ZZ Top! God damn it, GET READY! Now that I have your attention, feast and enrich your eyes and ears on a first: a ZZ Top concert on DVD. That’s right, that little ol’ band from Texas has gone and delivered a sizzling, hot n’ juicy slice of home-cooked blues-based rock for their friends and neighbors in Dallas on a slice of digital heaven called Live From Texas.

From the show-opening groove of “Got Me Under Pressure” right on through to the final hunger pains of “Tush,” the Top is as taunt and tight as a well oiled machine. Which isn’t to say there aren’t moments when they swerve off the track and stretch out for a cruise. The Top are no slouches in taking their audience on a cross country roam across a free n’ easy, rough n’ riffy landscape. Billy Gibbons’ wily touch of the guitar angles, splinters and roasts over the painless pocket filled in by bassist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard.

Behind the beards and sunglasses, it’s hard to tell if Gibbons, Hill and Beard (yeah, he’s sporting a beard too) have aged much over their 40-year reign as the longest running group in recorded history without a change in personnel. The vocals are a little ragged, and the general pace isn’t as frenzied as it was back in the 70s, but the Top are still spinning, hitting their cues and dazzling their following with a slew of classic hits.

The Reverend Willy G. (Gibbons) cheerfully drools and drawls in between tunes, even introducing his roadie Elwood to the crowd at one point. “Gotta love a man that’ll bring you a gold guitar…” he announces as Elwood exits the stage. I concur with a twist: You gotta love a guitar player who gives his roadie kudos…

The disc is rounded out with lots of extra hot sauce, including an impromptu poker game where Gibbons, Hill and Beard reminisce about their history as the cards are shuffled and dealt. There’s also behind-the-scenes clips featuring roadies, concert fans, band members mingling backstage before showtime (at one point, Gibbons walks up to the camera proudly displaying a 13th Floor Elevators picture disc), and a photo shoot at an old church out in the middle of nowhere. A live clip of the band performing the Jimi Hendrix classic “Foxey Lady” tops it all off. So what are you waiting for? Grab a copy of Live In Texas and get ready for ZZ Top!

And if you're off to the barbeque, pick up the two-CD companion set of Live In Texas and enjoy some live Top tuneage in the car.

~ Shawn Perry

 

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