ZZ Top, that little ol’ band from Texas, got a little bigger Wednesday night at the Beacon Theatre when new band dog GiZZmo came out at the end.
Turns out little GiZZmo was rescued by drummer Frank Beard’s son Rory and goes everywhere with the band. He came out at the end of final encore “Tush” and pranced around Beard, guitarist-vocalist Billy Gibbons and bassist-vocalist Dusty Hill.
The full house, meanwhile, stood up and cheered, pretty much as they had since the beginning of the show. And with a new album–La Futura–released just the day before and already making noise, it was a new show as well, opening with favorite ZZ oldies like their Sam & Dave cover “I Thank You,” “Waitin’ For The Bus,” “Jesus Just Left Chicago,” “Pincushion” and “Heard It On The X.”
Then it was the focus track from La Futura, “I Gotsta Get Paid”—the only new album song in the set, which according to Gibbons, they were still learning. Those with binoculars up in the loge and balcony could sing along, he said, by following along on the band’s “cheat sheets.”
Absolutely no pretense, here. Never. Not in four decades. “The same three guys right here. The same three chords right here,” intoned Gibbons. Just one new song. One new dog. And the substitution of “New York City” for “Mississippi” in “My Head’s in Mississippi.”
But a new set to go with it, all hot-rod chrome, with Beard’s setup even featuring chrome fuel tanks affixed to his kick drums. Above were video screens, with most of the live, archival, animated and music video footage black-and-white—especially effective during live shots of the band playing, their larger black-and-white counterparts hovering above them.
Vincent Price footage rightly accompanied “Vincent Price Blues” (“You know there will always be some blues at a ZZ Top show!” proclaimed Gibbons), and the famous music videos for the big hits “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” “Sharp Dressed Man” and “Legs” were screened above their live performances.
Music and video aside, the evening brought back ZZ’s trademark twin front formation of Gibbons and Hill, swaying in tandem and throwing in a chicken dance. Gibbons reprised his amazing trick of playing a guitar lick while letting its upright neck slide through the one hand (left) holding and hammering it.
Gibbons and Hill did their back-to-back pose during encore “La Grange,” pausing to finger-point, beard-stroke and lip-tap while the crowd screams built to a din, then plunging into “Tush.” Vintage promo and performance photos of the band flashed on the screen as GiZZmo merrily greeted his band mates.
(Memo to ZZ Top: Please add La Futura track “Chartreuse” to the set, if only to show how “chartreuse” rhymes with “big caboose.”)
[The Examiner has written liner notes on ZZ Top CDs.]
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