ZZ Top, Queen Elisabeth Theatre, Vancouver, 2014, tiina liimu mu


Same three guys, and same three chords, as guitarist Billy Gibbons put it so modestly just before tearing into “I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide”.

The three gentlemen from Texas brought to town their Southern charm to once again prove exactly why they are kings of the riff. They also have the unique distinction of having the longest-running solid line-up in all of music, with their debut having been released in 1971. They are the three-piece band that all three-piece bands should strive to be.

There was something so chill about lazing back in the comfy confines of Queen Elizabeth theatre getting soothed by Gibbon’s gravelly smooth voice and soaring guitar licks. Counterpart bass playing by Dusty Hill in what may be the finest piece of pocket playing I have ever heard. He is so dialled in with drummer Frank Beard. The sound in the theatre was perfect.

It was pretty much par for the course for the ageless original beardos as they ran through the many staples that hold them proud upon the great wall of legendary bands. Pretty much half of their material stemmed from their classic go-to albums, 1973’s Tres Hombres and 1983’s Eliminator, with sprinkles from their wide catalogue to fill it all out. There was also a new unreleased treat called “Flying High” that held strong, and the mid-set Jimi Hendrix cover of “Foxy Lady” was ultra tasty.

ZZ Top pretty much owned the room for the hour and a half they played. It was mostly a sit-down affair with an older age demographic of cougars and their biker husbands. But certain ditties did rouse up the faithful from off their seats. They polished off their set with a two-song encore that consisted of “La Grange” and “Tush.” They bowed and waved and then they were off. Pure business. Pure awesome.

By Heath Fenton
Photo by Tiina Liimu

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