Legendary. Masterful. ZZ Top is what every other power-trio should strive to be. It is tough to name the best bands of our time without mentioning these boogie-blues-rock veterans. Playing together for nearly 40 years, they are one of the rare groups still composed of the original recording members.
ZZ Top started off their rip-roaring set of tunes at Portsmouth's nTelos Pavilion with 1983 chart-topper "Got Me Under Pressure." From there they took a journey through all of their greatest hits, paying homage to Jimi Hendrix and Muddy Waters along the way with colossal covers of "Hey Joe" and "Catfish Blues."
"Waiting for the Bus>Jesus Just Left Chicago" got the all-ages crowd standing and dancing, with intoxicating guitar work from the Reverend Willie G and bottom-line domination from Dusty Hill and Frank Beard. "Just Got Paid" was a shoo-in for a Friday night show, and my personal highlight. Another winner, "Heard It On The X," was stuck in my head all day Saturday. The fuzzy white guitars made a brief appearance during "Legs," and were then carried offstage by guitar tech Elwood, who Billy Gibbons proclaimed as being "the best guitar guy in the world." Billy handled most of the crowd banter and singing throughout the night, with Dusty taking lead for a few tracks and manning backup vocals for the rest.
When introducing the band, Billy noted the irony of the drummer being "the man without the beard, Mr. Frank Beard." He also made sure to mention that they had gone out for Mexican earlier since he was "about a quart low on hot sauce." Not too long after that comment, the backdrop screens displayed a slideshow of tacos, enchiladas, burritos, etc. that had my mouth watering for queso.
Although the synchronized steps and struts have definitely become less frequent, the beards are still long and the jams are almighty. If you're so fortunate to have ZZ Top tour in your area, do not miss the chance to go. These founding fathers of hard rock are a must-see.