ZZ Top – Fraze Pavilion (concert review)

ZZ Top – Aug 8, 2011 – Fraze Pavilion – Kettering, OH (concert review) I’ve got a question for you – imagine going to see your favorite band in concert.  You have the choice of having them play for 2 hours, knowing that they’ll play 5-6 songs that you don’t recognize (let’s say from a new album), or having them not play those unfamiliar songs, but having a shorter show – which would you choose?  ZZ Top chose the shorter route playing to a soggy Ohio crowd the other night; short to the tune of 1 hour, 15 minutes.  In that time, they managed to squeeze in 16 of their most memorable songs.  The show began with “Got Me Under Pressure” and immediately segued into the one-two punch of “Waitin’ For the Bus” and “Jesus Just Left Chicago.”  They played the three biggest singles from Eliminator in “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” “Sharp Dressed Man,” and “Legs.”  They also hit on “Cheap Sunglasses,” “Just Got Paid,” and encored with “La Grange,” and “Tush.”  The band sounded great, albeit the songs were a little slower, but the guitar playing from Billy Gibbons was smokin’ as always.  There was also a video screen behind the band playing snippets of their MTV heyday.   It all added up to a fun show – save for the fact that it seemed over before it began.

Perhaps my expectations were set too high – over the past year, I’ve seen Bob Seger, Steely Dan, and Kiss all play for over two hours, and just a few days before had seen Paul McCartney tear up a whopping three-hour marathon at the Reds’ Stadium in Cincinnati.  Compared to those other shows, the just over 70 minute-set from ZZ Top seemed a little on the paltry side.  Now, I understand the guys are old, but so are the others listed above.  Bassist Dusty Hill is battling Hepatitis C, which cannot be any fun.  However, with concert prices what they are, we all want as much bang for our buck as possible.  The solution may be for ZZ to jump on a package tour, like the Journey, Foreigner, and Night Ranger show that recently came to town.  That way, each band can hammer out a 60 minute show and no one will care.  It rained the entire time, which certainly added to my grumpiness.  But, a short set like this leaves me feeling a little cheated.  –Tony Peters