ZZ Top Takes Manhattan, Loudly And "Perfectly"
Rocks Off has had next Friday, when ZZ Top and Tom Petty play The Woodlands, circled in red on our Rhino Records wall calendar for months. God, is that next Friday already? We added a few more red rings this morning after we read The New York Times' glowing review of Billy, Dusty and Frank's show Sunday night at Manhattan's Beacon Theater. In today's print edition, it's the main story on the front page of the Arts & Leisure section.
Mark C. Austin ZZ Top at the Woodlands, July 2009
Ben Ratliff, who most often covers jazz and metal for the Times (not as big a stretch as you might think), wrote: "If you are the type of person who likes to use a suspect and imprecise and maybe impossible term about music, then go ahead, because this was, more or less, a perfect concert."
Wow. Rocks Off reads the Times as often as we can, and although their music coverage is excellent, it's also usually a little more buttoned-down. We're not complaining - like ZZ Top itself has for more than 40 years now, Ratliff wrote the show "made a mockery of passing time."
Actually, the Times has had a soft spot for ZZ for a while. Rocks Off ran down a few of the paper's previous encounters with the Texas trio in a print column we wrote last year, back when we still did that sort of thing.
The Gray Lady also ran one of the best pictures of Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill we've ever seen. We wish we had the rights to run it here, but we don't, so just take a look. Kudos to photographer Chad Batka.
We are mad that Manhattan got two shows (Top also played the Beacon Monday night) at 90 minutes apiece and Houston only gets one hour, if that. Even if it is with Tom Petty. Still, next Friday can't get here soon enough.