While I will be attempting to write a more comprehensive review of the Crewe, VA show I attended this past Friday evening, let it be said that it was the most refreshing concert I've seen from the band in a long time. Four songs from Futura (they only ever played two from Mescalero!) as well as the classics "Precious and Grace" and "Nasty Dogs", combined with the debut of Certified Blues (which was awesome by the way and featured some great guitar work from Billy) makes this THE year to see the Top. If you have been putting it off because of money or the set list, now is the time to try to make it happen.
They played the full 20 song set. Interesting Billy spoke very little, with none of the bullshit stories that were recycled with such regularity. Almost like the old days, when the band came to play rather than entertain. Fantastic!
Straight from THE MAN in Alabama, Mr. Roadie himself:
We got to Memphis last night around 6 and it had been raining for days. The Beale St Festival is actually at Tom Lee Park on the banks of the Miss River. It was Woodstock part 2. Dreadfully muddy and wet. My boots were in ankle deep in mud everywhere I stepped. There were a lot of bands that drew the younger crowd(Black Keys, Government Mule and Rap). ZZ Top was scheduled to hit the stage at 10:45 so we went over and caught the Dwight Yoakam show which was very good. Dwight finished up so he could get over to see ZZ Top. They are all very good friends.
We snaked our way through the crowd and up to the front row shortly before Government Mule hit the stage. Their set didn't run over time allotment but due to the sloppy weather it took a long time to clear the stage after their set and ZZ didn't begin until shortly after 11. As I told you earlier, the set list almost mirrored (the) recent blog (entry) with the exception of Blue Jean Blues substituted for Fool For Your Stockings. I have noticed over the last few years that each tour holds less and less "Stuff" on stage. Gone are the usual props such as Expandora Dog, the animal skin on the floor and many other noticeable items. I understand that they can't use full props at a music festival, but last night in Memphis was naked on stage. There were no tumbling dice, no fake speakers, and no large light brite behind Frank. There was simply a 7ft X 7ft. light brite on either side of Dusty and Billy with 2 small amps stacked on top of each other that added nothing but decor. Their chrome microphones didn't even light up at all. It was bare naked but they made up for it with a heck of a show.
The new set list is great for us that know more about the band than the Eliminator hits, but I could hear a lot of "What is that song?" "Never heard these songs" in the crowd. The opening is still a modified version of The Girl". She now says "Please welcome for your rocking pleasure, that little ole band from Texas, ZZ TOP!" instead of ZZ TOPS which I have noticed. Immediately your hear just a drum hit by Frank then silence for a second, then another hit, then silence, then the lights come on and Billy and Dusty walk out to "Precious and Grace". I LOVED the addition of "Nasty Dogs and Funky Kings". They have new deep purple axes that you can see on the latest Dunlop rig rundown that was recently posted on Youtube.
Since they recorded so much music at Ardent studio in Memphis, they really love playing there and Billy called Memphis their second home last night. He said they had a place on Union Avenue for 18 years and they loved this town. Of all the new tracks played last night, "Gotsta Get Paid" was the best in my opinion. They really have a comfort level with this song now and it shows.