Don't get me wrong, I love "La Grange" and "Tush" and all those pre-beard ZZ Top songs from the '70s.
Personally, though, I like my ZZ Top with some early-MTV flair — the old cars in the desert, the furry guitars, the synchronized moves and maybe some synthesizer flourishes here and there. I'll even take that track they recorded for Back to the Future III.
After reading that the trio would returning to a streamlined rock sound for their long-awaited upcoming album, I'll admit, I was nervous about Thursday's RodeoHouston concert at Reliant Stadium. They wouldn't ax their '80s material . . . would they?
I like my ZZ Top with some early-MTV flair — the old cars in the des ert, the furry guitars, the synchronized moves and maybe some synthesizer flourishes here and there.
When they climbed onstage from vintage Cadillac convertible with the chest-length beards and matching mariachi jackets, it was clear this would be the classic slightly-over-the-top ZZ Top we all know and love.
Kicking off the show with the rockin' "Got Me Under Pressure" from their 1983 hitmaker, Eliminator, the group seamlessly transitioned into pair of personal faves from 1973's Tres Hombres, "Waitin' for the Bus" and "Jesus Just Left Chicago."
The band sounded amazingly tight and well rehearsed. Perhaps a tour that new Rick Rubin-produced album, almost four years in the making now, finally might be on the horizon.
Next up were two tracks somewhat beyond the range of my ZZ radar — the late-era "Pincushion" and "I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide" from Degüello, the first album to feature guitarist Billy Gibbons and bassist Dusty Hill with the legendary beards.
Then came the trifecta of hits we were all there to hear.
The crowd went absolutely wild when they heard Frank Beard's intro drum beat for "Gimme all Your Lovin'" and got even crazier when they saw the original video pop onto the giant video screen behind the band. With "Sharp Dressed Man," you actually could hear the audience singing every lyric.
As if ZZ Top didn't already have fans in the pal ms of their hands, Gibbons and Hill brought out the sheepskin guitars for "Legs."
As if ZZ Top didn't already have fans in the palms of their hands, Gibbons and Hill brought out the sheepskin guitars for "Legs." I couldn't believe my eyes . . . the furry instruments actually played! I always thought they were props.
A trio of covers brought us back to reality. Dusty Hill took on the Elvis standard, "Viva Las Vegas," before the Gibbons called Nashville star Jamey Johnson onstage for country classics "11 Months and 29 Days" and "In the Jailhouse Now," the later of which was made famous by Johnny Cash.
While I was fully satisfied after my '80s moments, the show's finale of "La Grange" and "Tush" made me realize just how solid of a band ZZ Top remains after four decades in the business. Cross you fingers for an upcoming tour.