Friday Night: ZZ Top At The Woodlands

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Photos by Jim Bricker
ZZ Top
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
September 24, 2010

For more photos from the show, see our slideshow here.

People talk all the time about the depleting ozone layer, melting polar ice caps, melting polar bears, ravaged rain forests, shortages of crude oil, but that can all go to Hell.

When ZZ Top is gone from this Earth, we will really have problems. The quotient of cool in this state and even the world will begin to rapidly diminish. We don't want to live in a world without ZZ Top, even though one day we may have to try.

If you were raised in Texas, correctly, ZZ Top runs in your blood. Let's put it this way: If you don't own Eliminator, Tres Hombres, or at least a greatest-hits compilation and are currently carrying a Texas drivers license, we have little to no use for you. You need help. Why do you hate yourself? We are not saying that you are scum per se, but there have been rumors.

Sure, you may be a helpful part of our economy and you may even be lucky enough to hold public office. But if you can't sing along to "La Grange," you confound us like three years of college algebra. Don't ask.

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ZZ Top opened for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Friday, setting up the crowd so Petty and his crew could knock Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion down. In front of a quickly-filling complex, Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard laid down a solid hour of hits that can't be toppled or argued with, a straight 60 minutes of every iconic riff and howl they have ever created.

"Got Me Under Pressure" opened things up tight around 7:40 p.m. We could probably listen to the cocaine-and-S&M track on a loop for an hour before we got a twinge of sickness from it. When you hear it live, the band slows it down just a clip and it almost has a subtle grind to it. Maybe with age they have learned to milk it for more than they could in the '80s. Age and experience and all that jazz.

It is still almost unfathomable to us that three guys can make that much noise on their own. The best power trios have a way of doing that, making you almost think for a second that you are being hoodwinked.

The boys pulled out " I Need You Tonight" as a portion of their two-part blues section, for which Gibbons needed a "blues hat." Luckily, two comely brunettes in black garters and lace were on hand to present him with one onstage. We just assume that chicks old enough to be ZZ's grandbabies are always just steps away to stroke their beards and light things for them.

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