ZEBRA LIVE: CELEBRATING 40 YEARS AT GUITAR SANCTUARY!! – Dallas, TX

I constantly rave about Don Wishon and the acts that he brings to Dallas, and he always seems to raise the bar each time. He really outdid himself this time, however, and I have no idea how he can top bringing New Orleans legends ZEBRA to Dallas for back to back shows celebrating their 40th anniversary. They’ve been playing together for four decades now with the same original trio, which is extremely rare in the music world, and their catalog of songs is deep and rich, despite only having four studio albums to their name.

ZEBRA 1

No opening act, and the Guitar Sanctuary was packed to capacity for this Saturday show, the second night of the weekend stopover in Dallas. After a brief introduction, the band took the stage, and wasted no time ripping into “As I Said Before” from their self-titled debut, and they didn’t slow down one bit for the next two hours. Their first album had the most representation, with classic tracks “Tell Me What You Want”, “Take Your Fingers From My Hair”, “The La La Song”, and the always amazing “Who’s Behind the Door?”.

ZEBRA 4

Their second album, No Tellin’ Lies, was present only via the eponymous title track, which was a little disappointing for me – “Wait Until The Summer’s Gone” and “Bears” are two of my favorite ZEBRA songs, but neither was played. The band did them the previous night and wanted to be sure to change up the setlist, so I can understand that. I just wish I’d gone both nights! They also mixed in five tracks from 2003’s IV and three from 3.V for a really well balanced set.

ZEBRA 3

The band was extremely tight – after playing together for so long, it’s obvious that they have a great relationship and seem ready to launch into any song from their catalog at any time without rehearsal. Guy Gelso still plays the drums like a madman and destroyed the crowd with his mid-set drum solo, and Felix Hanemann switched between bass guitar and keyboards all night long and didn’t miss a step, all while constantly engaging the crowd and hamming it up for everyone with camera or smartphone. Randy Jackson on guitar and vocals was amazing as well – I had the privilege of hearing him do an acoustic set a couple of years ago at one of Don’s shows, and he sounds as good as ever in either setting. It’s hard to believe that these guys are in their sixties with the amount of energy and emotion that they put into every moment of the show.

ZEBRA 5

The band got their start playing cover songs, and they worked ZZ TOP, THE BEATLES, and LED ZEPPELIN into the set as segues into their classics – “Strawberry Fields Forever” introduced “Who’s Behind the Door?” seamlessly, and a couple of ZZ TOP tunes plus “Thank You” by LED ZEPPELIN rolled smoothly into the set closer, “Tell Me What You Want”, which left everyone on their feet chanting for more. They relented and came back to the stage and played “Better Not Call” and closed for the evening with “Take Your Fingers From My Hair” leading to another standing ovation.

ZEBRA 6

Another classic show by a band with amazing talent and extreme class – they hung around talking, taking pictures, and signing autographs, as is common with Don’s productions. ZEBRA enjoy playing for their dedicated fans after so many years, and it showed that night. I can’t wait to see what he pulls out of his hat next.

ZEBRA 2

MAESTRO’S NOTE: Shortly after this concert A&GS learned that Don Wishon’s wife Sarah passed away suddenly in her sleep the morning before. We also learned that during Friday night’s performance, Randy Jackson dedicated a cover of “Kashmir” to her and handed the pick he used to Don to go into her hand before she was laid to rest. Wow. I know Frank and I wish we had even a tenth of Mr. Wishon’s strength. Our love and condolences go out to Don and his family. Here is a link to the GoFundMe page someone graciously set up to help during this difficult time.

LIVE IMAGES AND WORDS: FRANK ZABER/IMAGES FROM THE DARK


One Comment

on “ZEBRA LIVE: CELEBRATING 40 YEARS AT GUITAR SANCTUARY!! – Dallas, TX
One Comment on “ZEBRA LIVE: CELEBRATING 40 YEARS AT GUITAR SANCTUARY!! – Dallas, TX

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *