LIVE: ZZ Top & Lynyrd Skynyrd @ the TU Center, 5/21/11
Who in the USA doesn’t know at least one ZZ Top song? If you don’t, you’d have to be from another planet or way too young to vote. These three ambassadors of Texas-style blues-rockin’ boogie have been at it for more than four decades now, and they’re still going strong all these many years later.
Listening to Billy Gibbons’ explosive, guitar-driven set at the Times Union Center last Saturday night, you’d think their music hasn’t aged a day – no matter how old you were when you first heard them. O.K., maybe there’s a little more grey in Gibbons’ and bassist Dusty Hill’s longer beards, but moustachioed drummer Frank Beard could pass for mid-forties easily.
So back to the songs, do you remember ZZ Top’s hits? If you do, you know they played “Got Me Under Pressure” (the churning set opener), “Gimmie All Your Lovin’” and “Sharp Dressed Man.” And of course, you knew they wouldn’t forget “Legs” from their million-selling album, “Eliminator.”
In Albany ZZ Top – beards and all – were in top form, song after song. These guys may be in their early 60s, but like the Energizer bunny, they’re still going strong, and the full-house audience loved them for it.
Lynyrd Skynyrd was in fine form, too, opening up the show with an hour and a half retrospective of their hits. Even though guitarist Gary Rossington is the band’s one and only remaining original member, the reconstituted band nailed down all the trademark two and three-pronged guitar attack (thanks to Rickey Medlocke, Mark Matejka and Rossington), while singer Johnny Van Zant pounded away at his late brother Ronnie’s vocals with a southern-rock boogie hammer from the opening “Workin’ for the MCA” through nuggets like “Gimme Three Steps,” “That Smell” and “Sweet Home Alabama.”
And naturally, for their encore they tore through the perennial request, “Free Bird,” accompanied by a hockey rink-full of cigarette lighters to complete the mood.
Review by Andrzej Pilarczyk
ZZ Top photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
Lynyrd Skynyrd photographs by Michael Seinberg
Excerpt from Brian McElhiney’s review at The Daily Gazette: “Maybe you can’t teach an old dinosaur new tricks, but in the case of ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd, that’s just fine. The two legendary hard rock outfits were up to their usual shticks and songs while playing before a packed Times Union Center Saturday night, on their double-headlining Rebels and Bandoleros tour. Both bands stuck pretty squarely to their classic material for their hour-long sets, but the nostalgia trip worked in this case thanks to the musicians’ enthusiasm.”