After 50+ years ZZ Top and Jeff Beck still have it

ZZ Top and Jeff Beck

August 13, 2014

Greek Theater- Los Angeles, CA

            Since their start in the 1960’s, ZZ Top and Jeff Beck were the masters of blues rock; and they are still taking cities by storm during every show they perform. Their long awaited tour finally came to Los Angeles, CA on August 13, 2014. Fans of many different generations came to the seated pit (and no barricade) show to witness rock royalty and to reminisce about the good ol’ days from when these guys were still new to the music scene, over 50 years ago.

The night started early, but fans filled up the sold out venue quickly and made sure they were nice and comfy to witness one of the best guitar player’s in the history of music- Mr. Jeff Beck. Although it’s been 4 years since Beck had released a new album (aside from the 3 song release of Yosogai from back in April), his songs ZZ Top- Jeff Beck_-5are timeless and people swayed along to his riffs while he educated the younger fans about real guitar playing. His set began with Loaded and was followed by Nine and You Know You by Mahavishnu Orchestra. As if Beck’s guitar playing wasn’t enough to move the crowd, his band members, which consisted of a bassist, drummer and guitar player, were equally as skilled as Beck; their talents were highlighted in between Beck’s solo’s, with his bassist and drummer performing their own solos. It was nice to see Beck giving his band a chance to shine, because the spotlight could have easily remained on him for the whole hour, without anyone complaining.

It isn’t very often that a rock concert is pure instrumental so after a bit of Beck’s set, out came singer, Jimmy Hall. Hall and Beck have been friends for years and Hall sang lead vocals on Beck’s album Flash, which was nominated for a Grammy. Hall not only had a perfect, melodic and bluesy voice to go with the music, but he was also a good showman, engaging the crowd to sing along to the many cover songs that were performed. Covers of the night included Yemin by Nicolas Meier; A Day in the Life by The Beatles; Morning Dew by Bonnie Dobson; A Change is Gonna Come by Sam Crooke; Little Wing by Jimi Hendrix; Goin’ Down by Moloch and the set closer, Rollin’ and Tumblin’ by Harbone Willie Newber. All in all, after his hour long set, Jeff Beck proved to the non believing (although there probably weren’t any) that he deserves the title of one of the world’s best guitar players.

The short set change made the impatient and anxious crowd relieved, and their cheers echoed throughout the Greek Theater as the light’s dimmed for the three beard, hall of famers known as ZZ Top. A video projected on a screen (which hung at the back of the stage) introduced the band members one by one, each time, the screams got louder and louder. Guitarist and lead vocalist Billy Gibbons and bassist/co-lead vocalist Dusty Hill came out sporting matching hats, glasses, black pants and jackets while drummer, Frank Beard took his place behind his drum set which featured two bass drums with tiki figures on the front, giving a tribal feel. The trio wasted no time and instantly went into Got Me Under Pressure followed by Waitin’ for the Bus. After so many years of performing, these guys didn’t lose their spark; Gibbons and Hills constantly smiled at each other and coordinated their swaying/dance moves as they strummed.  It soon became hit after hit with the band performing Gimme All Your Lovin’; Sharp Dressed Man and the set closing, 12th song, Legs. Like Jeff Beck, they also included a Jimi Hendrix cover which was Foxy Lady. ZZ Top- Jeff Beck_-27

Having 15 albums, ZZ Top had an arsenal of songs to perform, dating back from 1971 all the way to 2012 but they only chose 7 albums to perform from which included Eliminator from 1983; La Futura from 2012; Tres hombres from 1973; Afterburner from 1985; Fandango! from 1975; and Recycler from 1990. As they performed, 3 screens projected scenes from either their music videos or of different effects which and it was the cherry on top of their performance. But if that was the cherry on top, then I will just say that there was extra chocolate syrup on top of that, when the band came out for an encore with Jeff Beck! The guitar legends performed Rough Boy; La Grange/Sloppy Drunk and Tush. They exited the stage again, only to be brought out 1 last time for Sixteen Tons by Merle Travis.

Whether you were a fan of ZZ Top or Jeff Beck from 50 years ago, or have been a fan for just a couple years, everyone at the Greek Theater had an amazing, memorable night. They heard hit after hit and even witnessed the blues rock legends performing together, which made for the perfect Wednesday night.

Review by: Nicole Lemberg 

ZZ Top

Jeff Beck