Live In Germany 1980

ZZ Top

It’s 1980 and we’re in Essen, Germany, and ZZ Top is playing their blistering, Texas-soaked boogie blues amalgamations, supporting as their Deguello album. Filmed for Rockpalast, a German music television show, the video of this performance was released as part of the Double Down Live DVD set from 2009. Now there’s the Live In Germany 1980 CD for those times when hearing the music is all you need.

Although Billy Gibbons’ guitar is buried in the mix on the first few tunes, it evens out after the vocally impressive “I Thank You.” From there, the heavy blues of “Jesus Left For Chicago” finds the Top playing as mean and low as they get. They continue, heavy and low rumbling, on the nasty “Precious And Grace” — long on power chords, short on subtly.

The staccato of both the silly “Manic Mechanic” and “Lowdown In The Street” show how tight the trio really is. I was more than ready for the slower “Fool For Your Stockings.” It’s here where you can understand why Gibbons is considered one of the better lead players after 40 odd years. A triple shot of “La Grange,” “Sloppy Drunk” and “Bar-B-Q” takes up a cool eight minutes plus with all its routing and loud revelry.

“Cheap Sunglasses” is pretty much note perfect to the studio recording as is “Tush.” the latter might be a tad looser but not to the detriment of the other 15 tracks. ZZ Top has always been the tightest little blues three-piece you’ll ever hear as this German audience surely realized way back over three decades ago. Now, you can too, on Live In Germany 1980.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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