Almost 50 years after their first record, a legendary Hall of Fame trio is largely still the same little ol’ band from Texas we saw back when.
By Steve Houk
I look back now as a parent and say, flabbergasted, how did our parents let us drive an hour-plus to this show, in a shady part of a small city we’d never been to, all at only 16 years old?
Well, they did, it was 1977, the freewheelin’ Ice Storm-style suburban parenting style was the vogue, so we piled into one of our parents’ cars, pirated beers and all, and headed north on 84 up to Waterbury, taking a brief pee break on the way not knowing it was a police substation wall we were peeing on. Somehow we made it.
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And what we found in the Palace Theater at the end of this teenage party drive was exactly what we were all about back then, pure guitar-driven, kick-ass blues soaked rock and roll, set on absolute fire this spring night by a trio we’d just become familiar with, which at the time was three cowboy-hatted, plaid-shirted, jeans-wearin’, less-bearded Texan boys, replete with cattle galloping across the stage, and their guitar, bass and drums rampaging into our vernacular like a stampede of mustangs across the plains.
As we would grow and change and find our way through life over the next 40 years since that night in Waterbury, so would ZZ Top. The ‘little ol’ band from Texas’ as they were called, and still are in most fan circles, would always retain and convey their blues rock and roll soul, would add an almost cosmic vibe and sonic boom to some of their later work, and would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 2004.
But in the end, all these years later, according to ZZ’s top dog Billy Gibbons, other than the slow graying of their magnificent beards, they are still those same three guys that galloped into our Connecticut hearts from Texas decades ago, still rocking the house every night, and enjoying it more than ever.
ZZ Top and John Fogerty with special guest Ryan Kinder perform Tuesday May 29th and Wednesday May 30th at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, 1551 Trap Rd, Vienna, VA 22182. For tickets, click here.