ZZ Top / The Red Devils – Dublin, 3Arena - 28 July 2017 Print E-mail
Written by Marc Leach   
Friday, 04 August 2017 04:00

The one thing that makes summer so exciting is the fact that it’s the season of festivals, especially the final weekend of July - from the Steelhouse Festival in the Welsh valleys to the Ramblin’ Man Festival in Maidstone, England. Speaking of the latter, the good people of Ireland were treated to a special performance from a good ol-fashioned Texas blues band who just so happen to be headlining Ramblin’ Man on the Sunday. Yes, it’s none other than the heavily bearded (in appearance and name) tres hombres themselves, ZZ Top who snuck in a few warm up shows before their big Sunday performance at Mote Park.


ZZ Top poster


It’s only fair that a blues band from Los Angeles should support THE blues band, so The Red Devils opened up the night’s proceedings. No, they weren’t a band full of Manchester United fans, folks, but a band that is full of talented musicians who have been on the go for since the ‘80s. No thrills, no spills, this band were just straight up blues with Big Pete’s fantastic harmonica playing and Pete Size’s lead guitar work being the highlights of their performance.


With no flashy over-the-top entrances, ZZ Top took to the stage with an electrifying reaction from the Irish crowd; with Frank Beard hitting the stage first, followed by the heavily bearded Dusty Hill and the coolest cat on the planet, Billy Gibbons. ‘Got Me Under Pressure’, ‘Jesus Just Left Chicago’ and the classic ‘Give Me All Your Lovin’ the boys who have been on the go for almost half a century had the Dublin crowd in the palm of their hand, from the growly vocals of Gibbons to the synchronised dancing from him and Dusty.


From eating fish and chips to a story about their manager telling them ‘no drinking during the gospel songs’ Gibbons had a good laugh sharing his experience throughout the day, especially after the no drinking part to which he replied ‘no gospel songs’ to which everyone in attendance gave a big cheer. ‘I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide’ and a fantastic cover of Jimi Hendrix’ ‘Foxy Lady’ were certainly two highlights of the set as they truly showed the power that is Gibbon’s whisky smooth guitar tone.


The band took some time to have some fun during the middle part of the set as they kicked back and played some more covers, with Dusty’s huge pipes taking over for ‘Catfish Blues’ by Robert Petway to guitar tech Elwood joining the band one stage to play slide guitar for ‘Sixteen Tons’ by Merie Travis. “This is the redneck blues part of the show” Gibbons told the crowd as they moved on with ‘Act Naturally’ by Buck Owens And His Buckaroos and the boogie-licious ‘Cheap Sunglasses.’


“I suppose we got to play this one now” Gibbons remarked as the band launched into the sensational ‘Sharp Dressed Man’, which had the Dublin crowd rise up out of their sets for this classic. After a quick costume change (both in clothes and guitars), the blues-tastic ‘La Grange’ kick-started the two part encore, a song which made me feel howww-howww-howww (get it) wonderful it was to finally hear songs like this live. Dusty’s big voice once again took over as his vocals closed the show by belting out the foot stomping ‘Tush’ and a fantastic rendition of the Elvis Presley classic ‘Jailhouse Rock.’


It had been my dream to see those majestic beards in person, and I am glad I now finally have. You wouldn’t think they had been on the go for five decades, as they were still as fresh as a heavily facial haired daisy. You know good reader, I am actually going to be completely honest with you about something: a month ago I ticked a band off my bucket list - the mighty Aerosmith - and during this show I kept thinking back to that gig. As good as Aerosmith were, ZZ Top completely blew them out of the water! While Aerosmith had a lot more to their show with big screens, streamers and a breath taking light show, it took away from their performance on a personal level as they just got on, played the songs and left. ZZ Top, on the other hand, didn’t have all these things and less, yet they completely blew the Boston rockers out of the water; I guess as the old saying goes ‘less is more.’




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