Posted on 6/27/2012
The “Little Ole’ Band From Texas”, ZZ Top, made its way back to Nashville, TN once again for another performance on it’s Gang of Outlaws Tour (along with 3 Doors Down and Gretchen Wilson). This time the venue was the massive Bridgestone Arena. Although the arena can hold over 18,000 for a concert, the upper deck was blocked off to only hold 10,000 attendees for this setup. About 7,500 rock fans were on hand to enjoy the night of Southern Rock provided by headliners ZZ Top. Enjoy the ZZ Top concert review by Mike Arnold.
Written by Mike Arnold
As the lights dimmed in the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN, the crowd yelled and screamed with anticipation while waiting for Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard to take the stage as headliners of the Gang of Outlaws Tour. Before the trio took the stage, the large backdrop video screen was showing a video as if a movie was about to begin, including with a rating of “ZZ”. The video continued throughout portions of the evening with a nice looking tattooed female with a cowboy hat in various scenes.
The female on the screen introduced the band with her dumb blonde accent, “Please Welcome, The ZZ Tops!” Drummer Frank Beard sat behind his huge double bass drum kit (with skull heads covering the two bass drums). Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill slowly walked out from stage right to begin the night of hits and more to the cover song from Sam and Dave, “Thank You”. The two front men dressed in black with jackets, hats, and shades, slowly swayed together back and forth in perfect time throughout the evening to entertain the crowd, but what really entertained them was the ZZ Top hits. Without stopping the music, they transitioned into the next two numbers to the delight of the audience, “Waitin’ For The Bus” and “Jesus Just Left Chicago”. One of the creative lines that Billy Gibbons sang about Jesus leaving Chicago was, “He got wise and came to Nashville, TN. Everybody there was mighty fine!” The crowd responded with a loud roar.
The band continued their show with “Pincushion”, then Billy asked the crowd, “Are we having a good time tonight? It’s now time to go down to the Mexican Border.” as they led into the song, “Heard It On The X”. It was now time to pull out the mega hit as the trio cranked out, “Gimmie All Your Lovin’”.
The crowd erupted with screams and yells when Billy Gibbons asked the audience of mostly southern rockers, “Can we do some blues for you?” Billy introduced this number as “Vincent Price Blues”. Billy Gibbons showed some of his guitar expertise while picking the guitar using only his chord hand. He asked the crowd, “How does he do that?” They continued with another song that was Very Strange and really was out of place for a group with as many hits as they have. A new song called, “Heaven, Hell, or Houston”.
It was time for ZZ Top to perform some nostalgic tunes as they went into, “My Head’s In Mississippi”. Billy told the crowd, “It’s time to be bad!” then he said, “Let’s do a little Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers!” The guys also pulled out the rockin’, “Stages”.
As the set was about to close, they enthused the audience with the 80’s MTV era hits. First was, “Sharp Dressed Man”, with everyone singing the title. Billy and Dusty strapped on their shag carpet guitars as they went into the hit, “Legs”.
The trio left the stage without saying a word as they crowd yelled for more… and more they got. The band returned to the stage with Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill wearing their sequence “Nudie” jackets. Billy delighted the audience by saying, “Hey come on, we’re in Nashville!” The audience was even more delighted with the opening with of the ZZ Top fans favorite, “LaGrange”. They extended this one a little long, but no one seemed to mind. They transitioned the end of the song into another very familiar guitar riff which brought this enthusiastic crowd over the “TOP” with “Tush”. Toward the end of the song, the band stopped the music to hear the audience sing, “Lord Take Me Downtown, I’m Just Looking For Some Tush”, in which Billy Gibbons replied, “On second thought, why don’t we stay all night long and make some barbecue!”. The crowd loved that and the extended jam at the end of the song. ZZ Top waved goodbye and left the stage for the final time.
I’ve seen ZZ Top in concert many times (over ten). I’ve seen them perform great, bad, and mediocre. It all depends on how they organize their set list and how their timing is on hitting the right notes and the right beats. Frank Beard missed a few beats on this night and Billy Gibbons had played much better on other recent tours, so I would say this was a mediocre show. On the Concert Blast Scale I would rate it a 7.5 (out of 10). I would go see ZZ Top again in concert because I love their songs (well, most of them) and I’ve seen them perform great more times than seeing them perform bad or mediocre. On this night they just seemed to be tired, but the set list could had a lot to do with it. Special Thanks to Samantha Shader for the Photos!
Written by Mike Arnold