ZZ Top at DTE Energy Music Theatre Review - A Texas Rock Ride Adventure

ZZ TOP banged out of the box after Brooks and Dunn’s earlier set, steering the Texas rock ride adventure at DTE Energy Music Theatre into a high roll. That ‘little old band from Texas’ ain’t so little with my good old friend Billy Gibbons on guitar. Long-necked guitar riffs buffeted rock and roll bodies ready to party and have fun. Dusty Hill’s rock solid bass-lines with sharp-dressed timing and grinding moved many a hip and leg. Frank Beard, the drummer, doesn’t have a beard, but his silver skull drum head kept solid gold timing. “Cheap Sunglasses”, “I’m Bad”, “I’m Nationwide”, had the audience in a frenzy.

Dusty rattles the skull with driving bass notes

These guys are a living part of America’s landscape of music and the arts. ZZ TOP is a myth reality. Everybody knows their songs. They seem to have been around as long as trees and rocks, Smith Brothers cough drops, and mountains. Their eternally youthful songs, swagger stagger and finger loops, point to hook lines written to age like wine in rock steady time, vintage guitars and dream cars, outdoor cathedrals and pop rock fantasies. This is no easy thing to write about.

Billy looks at Dusty as he hammers the bass

Billy and Dusty are synchronistically in motion. Both front men were outfitted in black clothes, boots, metallic caps on backwards, and upside-down goggles in front of their sunglasses and long legendary beards. They appeared as if out of a fashion design magazine on the set of apocalyptic Dune about ready to jump on a Harley. Or perhaps, they were well-dressed magical mystery tour pilots taking guitar stick in hand, ready to fly the whole set through the air like a flying saucer or flying Mexican burrito. Dancing bodies lifted in song as ZZ TOP rang out their first songs, “Got Me Under Pressure”, and “Give Me All Your Lovin’”. Smiles lifted every heart.

The dynamic duo zaps the crowd

You may think it crazy, but for one song they showed dozens of different Mexican foods in the background. I did wonder for a minute if they were starting a fast food take out business. Unlike Brooks and Dunn’s previous set, there were no gifts tossed into the crowd or explosive tricks. They were the trick and treat. These guys didn’t just get out of bed, they put the music to bed smack dab in our hearts and limbs long ago and it still rocks. Ageless, effortless, and strong all the way, this trio was always in race-car mode squealing song after song rock style. ZZ TOP is a rocket ship ready to go off.

Dusty gets down and dirty on the neck

Billy Gibbons
repeatedly let his right hand go, smoothly dropping his left hand down and up the guitar neck like water off a duck’s back. Billy, single handily caught notes, playing well-crafted leads and rhythmical turns appearing as if he just made it all up that moment. Each note Gibbons effortlessly and spontaneously caught, hit a heart string in the crowd. Each melody danced with the audience. Each turn in the song seemed one of a thousand kisses thrown to the crowd who couldn’t seem to get enough.

Tasty licks and more to come

“Give me all your lovin’, all your hugs and kisses too”, everyone sang like a chant in an outdoor southern church and barbecue. Everybody who left DTE walked away thinking that even with cheap sunglasses, they were bad, and nation-wide.
At the end of the concert, Brooks and Dunn returned to the stage to finish the night with ZZ TOP performing “Tube Snake Boogie” and a cover of “Jailhouse Rock”. ZZ TOP is always a great party of hit songs and magic. One can only wonder what’s up next. Billboard Magazine reports that they are working with Rick Rubin creating new music to rock us. Rock on, you furry guitar La Grange and Tush guys.

Up against the wall, the drumming is tight

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