Words and photos by Duane Clawson
The ZZ Top song “Got Me Under Pressure” could have probably best summed up my experience of documenting these two legendary bands on the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater stage. I’m talking about the pressure of making these bands look as good as they sound.
The incomparable Warren Haynes and Gov’t Mule are celebrating their 20+ years as a band! With that said, as one could imagine, there was no shortage of Mule material in their extended opening set. Anyone that has followed Haynes' storied career knows he’s a man that has worn a lot of hats over the years. Longtime lead guitarist for the Allman Brothers, stints with Derek Trucks Band, occasional Dave Matthews Band member, all while song writing and touring with the Mule, has kept Haynes very busy since the beginning of his music career playing in David Allan Coe’s band. At best, Gov’t Mule could be described as a jam band, as many of their songs reach into 10-minutes in length. Setting up a perfect intro for ZZ Top, Haynes and company jammed on an 18-minute long version of “Effigy”, with snippets of Hendrix’s “Hey Joe” and a mid-song nod to the man in black, Johnny Cash, with a double-timed rendition of “Folsom Prison”.
Solid then, solid now, solid always, this is ZZ Top. Seeing this band for the first time in 1983 on their Eliminator tour was almost the same experience as seeing them this time some 33 years later. Solid! About the only changes of then versus now are the beards are longer, and the sets are a little less flashy but neither detracts from consistent product the Top delivers. Billy Gibbons describes it best, telling those in attendance, “We’ve been coming around here for over four decades. Same three guys. Same three chords.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. Forming in 1969, ZZ Top has never fallen into any sort of trend, as they have continued to play what the fans want to hear. Tonight at the Amphitheater, “That Little Ole Band From Texas” was touring in support of their recently dropped album, Live Greatest Hits, From Around the World. A solid fan base continues to show up to see these guys, as a guesstimated 15,000 were in attendance to witness the ZZ Top magic. The familiar notes of “La Grange” and “Tush” rounded out the first encore. A second encore brought the band back to cover Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock”, and leave St. Louis’s thirst for the Top satisfied! Thanks to Live Nation, ZZ Top’s management, and Hollywood Casino Amphitheater for accommodating MTC MAG. Photos of the show are below:
Contributed by Duane Clawson
ZZ Top / Gov’t Mule @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheater, St. Louis, MO Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on 1:00:00 PM Rating: