If the Texas State flower is the Bluebonnet, and State Bird is the Mockingbird, then we all know the State band is ZZ TOP. They have been a staple in Texas for years. Their Tres Hombres album center cover art showing off our famous Tex-Mex Food Lineage established that. They are nationwide sharing the best of Texas with the world: Good food and good Texas music. This is why we are excited about the new Toyota Music Factory.and this band being the first concert there…EVER. It’s almost impossible for a three-piece band to put out the sound these guys produce. I don’t know how they do it. But they sound great and they can back it up live.
Frank Beard: I am just fascinated with his drum kit. He always has these interesting decorations on it. I was excited to see that he did not disappoint on this tour either with his Hawaiian Tiki God drum theme:
A custom middle tom drum with a ragged edge with a ghost image of the tribal icons on the kick drum heads. Some of the stands on the drum set were covered in driftwood or carved tribal heads. He had a special made double kick drum head that housed an LED light for his Tribal statues that were attached to them. The mouth was open and the light poured out as if the statue was screaming light.
Dusty Hill: From head to toe in black. Of course the famous, once missing, now found, Stetson felt hat with the horse hair band, shades, fingerless black glove on his left hand, the infamous beard, black jean jacket, black jeans and black with white flame cowboy boots. The jacket had shades of black leather crosses sewed on the upper arm and shoulders and chest. A costume change later they wore the same styled jacket with gem tone crystal crosses sewn on the arms and shoulders.
Define cool? Dusty was playing a custom vintage 50’s Fender Telecaster bass body with a reverse neck strung G,D,A,E. He had two of these models, one in blond and one in black finish. It was held with a crystal studded belt and buckle guitar strap. Dusty from head to toe, his custom black leather cowboy boots with inlaid white flames show this boy’s Texas roots.
Billy Gibbons: He is still the coolest and by far the flashiest man in the room. From his custom Stetson to his purple laced black leather shoes, this man is tight. He is a pampered pooch, adorned with his favorite black reggae looking dreads skullcap, matching Dusty’s black jackets with one exception: he wore a white shirt under his coat and more of a slack type pant. He had a few chunky chains, one was a rather large silver spur. He wore 2 large rings on his middle fingers and silver metal bracelets. When he sang sharp dressed man, he meant it.
He played several guitars that night. The Gibson ’61 Reissue Les Paul SG is a bad ass guitar in its own right. For “La Grange” he played a Gibson SG with a Flying V head, body was black with iridescent flakes that sparkled when the light hit it right. And it was right, all night long. At times he wore a red slide on his finger as he played, and of course the audience went wild. My personal favorite was the black Fender Stratocaster with the letter BFG on the neck. While it could mean Black Fender Guitar we all know it is Billy’s personal brand. Billy Frederick Gibbons. This man even has his own Brand of hot sauce. Yeah, he is Texas to the bone.
A humorous part of the night was when the boys brought out the famous white square fuzzy guitars and ripped out the song “Legs.” The song was not without some in sync moves.
Really fun for everyone to see the fuzzy guys play fuzzy guitars. The cool part of this song was when Billy was playing the solo he gave a finger touch to Dusty and transferred the grooves to Dusty. Neither guy missed a well timed beat. It was a slick move by the guys and worked well on stage.
Another clever trick in Billy’s vast bag of smooth moves was when he hammered out the licks in a few songs without the use of his picking hand. These guys put the “C” in cool. In fact, I’d call them the Twins of Cool as they magically glided across the stage with their famous matching choreographed steps. Bad Ass is definitely their to claim fame.
One of their best songs was when they sang “Act Naturally” from Buck Owens. For this one they brought out their secret weapon: Elwood Francis (Billy Gibbons’ guitar tech), who picked up a lap steel and produced a true country steel guitar sound. The richness of the tone echoed throughout the venue.
From pop, blues, and country to raunchy rock these guys proved they can and do play it all. Time has shown that ZZ TOP is and will always be Texas Music, and a staple of the Great State of Texas. The audience loves this band, proving it by standing up on the third chord. Billy claimed he only knows three chords. They must be the three good ones. He also joked the stage manager for the house said that they were in Texas so they could do anything they wanted.
Dusty reminded him, “With the exception of drinking during the gospel songs.” Billy told the audience not to worry the band doesn’t play gospel songs! The crowd roared with laughter.
Toyota Music Factory will be a gem for the city of Irving. I am not doing a harsh critique because it is clear they are working hard on this building. I have been closely involved in three major openings. I know the work that goes into getting a building ready. They did what was best for the fans and opened early. It was a great success and the show was worth the price of the ticket!
What did I love about the place? The bars are close and intimately placed near the stage. Need nachos? Right next to the bar! My secret tip? Park in the convention center lot. It is a healthy walk, but much easier to get out for a fast exit. Think ahead and you will have no traffic issues. From will call, to the ushers and bartenders, the staff was friendly and helpful.
This is already a top notch facility. The Toyota Music Factory is in a great location and easy to get to. It gives the city back its tax dollars after the loss of Cowboy Stadium. Give this building time, and it will make us all proud to have it in the heart of two cities.
Got Me Under Pressure
Waitin’ for the Bus.
Jesus Just Left Chicago
Gimme All Your Lovin
I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide
I Gotsta Get Paid
My Head’s in Mississippi
Sharp Dressed Man
LIVE IMAGES: GUZPIX
LIVE WORDS: DONNA LOTHRIDGE