Few bands can take pride in the fact that they have survived multiple decades in tact and unchanged. However, there is only one band currently in existence that has spanned over four decades with their original members and beards unaltered and unchanged. That band is ZZ Top and Friday evening they played to a sold out audience of over 2,700 at Hard Rock’s extraordinary venue, The Joint.
As people quietly shuffled from the lobby into the auditorium to find their seats, the house lights went down just after 8pm as fog filled the stage to prepare for the arrival of the bluesy trio. After the fog cleared, out came Frank Beard rushing to his drum set, while lead vocalist and guitarist Billy Gibbons as well as bassist Dusty Hill began to serenade the crowd with “Got Me Under Pressure.”
The stage setup was very simple yet complex enough to suit the needs of Gibbon’s and Hill’s constant pacing from left to right. Throughout the show the three projectors flashed up images of dancing girls, postcards of locations the trio had played in over the years, and of course their progression. A long, narrow, black carpet covered the length of the stage for our two frontmen coupled along with two multi-colored LED mic stands and for our drummer, Mr. Beard, nothing but skull covered drum set pieces would suffice.
After a the strong opener, the guys introduced themselves and reminded us how they didn’t become an Oklahoma staple overnight, only after playing many shows over the years were they welcomed as the “little ‘ol band from Texas.” We were then led gently into the soft, blues filled song “Jesus Just Left Chicago.” This brought joy to all at the very mention of Tulsa as the the lyrics were ever-so-subtly customized to suit the present location. As the songs continued at a sickeningly fast pace, Gibbons stopped the show to sign a record for a fan but not before he jokingly tried to auction it back off to the audience before launching into “Cheap Sunglasses”.
ZZ Top Photo Gallery
Photos by: Kevin Pyle
The night just wouldn’t be complete without a cover or two and ZZ wouldn’t waste everyone’s time with just any ‘ol cover. The band only had a to play the first licks of Jimmy Hendrix’s “Hey Joe” and instantly everyone was singing along. As the band launched into what would be one their final song of the set with “Sharp Dressed Man,” we were thanked for being such a receptive group of people. The houselights briefly came on as if to signify the show was over but we knew better.
The group came back onto to play “Tush” and “La Grange” and reminded us that age has no relevance when it comes to rock and roll. If you have never had the chance to see these guys in such an intimate auditorium then keep your eyes open for the next great show at The Joint.