— By Sean Derrick
In a world that is ever changing one constant can always be counted on – a solid ZZ Top show with a consistent lineup.
During their most recent stop in Saint Louis (Sunday at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre) Guitarist/lead singer Billy Gibbons made reference to that when he said “We’ve been coming around here for you guys for over four decades. Same three guys. Same three chords.”
The band, in its current incarnation since 1969, has attained legendary status. Not for keeping up with the times, but for time slowing down for them and their fans.
To say that the Texas-based trio of Gibbons, bassist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard like to keep to the same formula is like saying Saint Louis loves the Cardinals. Well, duh. But while that may seem like it is a bad thing it is, in fact, a winning formula for them. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
What sets their music apart, however, is the intricate working of Gibbons on the guitar. His masterfulness shines through effortlessly to the live crowd especially on bluesy jam sessions or improvisations with the distinctive Gibbons sound.
Sure the songs have a solid rhythm, but that is a true testament to Hill and Beard as they lay the never wavering foundation that allows Gibbons to freeform in a way that few, if any, other blues artists can match. Match that up with growling vocals and it’s hard not to get into the music.
While the band rode through an efficient and flashy free set of typical fan favorites like “Sharp Dressed Man”, “Gimme All Your Lovin’”, “Cheap Sunglasses” and “Tush” they only veered away long enough to break out the fuzzy guitar and bass from the “Legs” video. This was about as flashy as they got.
In town to support their Live Geatest Hits From Around the World CD which just dropped September 9 the bland played a set that was devoid of any distractions from the main feature, their music. For 90 minutes flashy was out, the music was left to do the talking and the talking was good.
Gov’t Mule opened the show with a solid set that emulated the ZZ Top style while mixing in their own bluesy feel.
Check out the photo gallery at the bottom of this page.
ZZ Top Setlist:
Got Me Under Pressure
Waitin’ for the Bus
Jesus Just Left Chicago
Gimme All Your Lovin’
I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide
I Gotsta Get Paid
Foxy Lady (The Jimi Hendrix Experience cover)
Catfish Blues (Robert Petway cover)
Sharp Dressed Man
Jailhouse Rock (Elvis Presley cover)
Gov’t Mule Setlst:
Larger Than Life
If 6 Was 9 (The Jimi Hendrix Experience cover)
Brand New Angel
Inside Outside Woman Blues #3
Stratus (Billy Cobham cover)
When the World Gets Small