In the words of LL Cool J — “Don’t call it a comeback,” ZZ Top‘s been here for years. That Little Ol’ Band from Texas has been making waves on the rock and roll scene since its humble Houston beginnings in 1969, and last night, the bearded gang enjoyed an exuberant homecoming.
The electrifying rock band that’s racked up more than 50 million in record sales in its nearly 50 year career returned to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo following a five-year hiatus. More than 50,000 roaring fans filled NRG Stadium bracing themselves for a comeback performance from the hometown trio.
Of course, ZZ Top delivered in a way only they could — with eclectic flair, cunning guitar riffs, and ornately decorated garb.
Donning dark sunglasses and black blazers plastered in studs and bedazzled roses, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill kicked off the night with their own rendition of country star Buck Owens’ 1963 hit “Act Naturally.” Bluesy notes roared from the stadium speakers — Hill wielded a yellow-hued guitar, and Gibbons strummed a maroon model, while drummer Frank Beard delivered powerful beats from a drum set adorned with skulls.
The duo also showcased an additional guitar showpiece — a white, furry rectangle-shaped Gretsch Bo Diddley, a standout in Gibbons’ 400-piece guitar collection.
The set continued with a myriad of ZZ Top’s most popular songs including: “Jesus Just Left Chicago,” “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” “I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide,” “La Grange,” “Cheap Sunglasses,” “Legs,” “Tush,” “Sharp Dressed Man,” and “Waitin’ For the Bus.”
Gibbons made sure to incite the crowd with custom Houston lyrics, transforming the main line in “My Head’s in Mississippi” to “My Head’s in Houston, Texas.”
Perhaps the only facet worthy of more attention than ZZ Top’s setlist was the frontmen’s lengthy beards, which proved to be just as much a showpiece as the band’s signature flashy guitars. Some things never change. Thankfully.
Let’s hope Houstonians won’t have to wait another half decade before the beards come out to play again.