JAM Magazine Concert Reviews

June 24, 2012
Gexa Energy Pavilion
Dallas, TX USA
Review by David Huff
Photos by Barry Bond

ZZ Top - ZZ Top, 3 Doors Down, Gretchen Wilson - 3 Doors Down

Finding Fame Without Losing Ground

There are two undeniable truths about Texas. First, it gets extremely hot in the summer. Second, it gets even hotter when the legendary ZZ Top rolls in to town. I don't care if there's 4,000 or 40,000 people in attendance when these 'tres hombres' hit the stage. By the end of the evening, everyone will be exhausted from all the singing and dancing their 40 years of hits has propelled them to do.

This tour, featuring 3 Doors Down and Gretchen Wilson, may have been dubbed the Gang of Outlaws tour, but there were no musical crimes committed this evening. Tonight, it was all about good time rock and roll. That was especially evident from the moment the 'red-neck woman' opened her rebel mouth on the hit, "Here for the Party" to set the tone for the night's festivities. Her set was well received, and her band's version of Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll" to close her set was quite good.

3 Doors Down came out of the gate swinging with the title track from their 2011 album, Time of My Life. Over the years, this band has sort of been lost in the shuffle, which is a real shame. When this Escatawpa, Mississippi based outfit is hitting on all cylinders, like it did on its debut, The Better Life, and the follow-up, Away From The Sun, they are an extraordinary group to behold. Let's face it! You don't sell 10 million albums in the pre-download era without having the goods. And this band proved over its hour long set it still has the chops to hang with the best of them.

I'm not going to pile accolades on ZZ Top. The name itself says it all. It would waste my time writing the adjectives. Everything that could possibly be said about Billy, Frank and Dusty has already been written over the course of their five-decade career. I will however, emphasize one very important point. Billy Gibbons is one of the greatest guitar players in the world. He stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Page, Clapton and Beck, and can hold his own against the great Johnny Winter. Some even say Billy stands head and shoulders over those greats. Regardless, his genius was on display tonight.

For some 90 minutes, ZZ Top generated plenty of power for the Gexa Energy Pavilion with hits like "Give Me All Your Lovin'", "Legs", "Sharped-Dress Man", and the opening number, "I Thank You" among others. They toned down the electricity in the air with bluesy numbers like "Vincent Price Blues" and "My Head's in Mississippi." And for the die-hard fans in the crowd – and there were plenty of them – they satisfied them by pulling out gems like "Waitin' for the Bus" and "Jesus Just Left Chicago." By the way, all these performances were accompanied by nice visual effects displayed on large screens behind the band. They showed everything from classic ZZ Top videos to random footage of exploding buildings and old film clips.

As the final chords of "Tush" signaled the end of this very long and hot day, another chapter in the illustrious ZZ Top story was written. This band isn't about reminding fans what they were like 'back in the day.' This band is straight-forward, blues infused rock and roll. If you were thinking about going, but the heat scared you off, then shame on you! In a nutshell, you missed a very cool show. These Texas musical icons won't be around forever. And when the day finally does come, and these three extraordinary musicians finally call it a day, it is concert performance like this you'll always treasure as a favorite ZZ Top memory. Just ask anyone who was there.