ZZ Top Can’t Stop Rockin’ At Artpark

ZZ Top file photo: J. Ritz (2013)

Concert Review
ZZ Top
Tonnage Tour
Tuesday In The Park
Artpark Outdoor Stage
Lewiston, NY
Tuesday June 6, 2017
Review: Joseph Suto


It seems whenever the Artpark season kicks off in the first week of June we seem to face out of season, atypical weather. Such was the case Tuesday evening as the 2017 season kicked off with the Texas threesome ZZ Top. A steady but light rain along with cooler temps dominated from just a few songs into opening act Austin Hanks set all the way through the majority of ZZ Top’s brief 75-minute set.

ZZ Top are no strangers to Artpark having played the outdoor stage in 2011 and 2013. The Tonnage tour as the band have labeled this tour was another bare bone affair. Save for two stacks of pink and green speakers one on each side of drummer Frank Beard there was no video screen, no stage props, not even a banner. The band simply let the music do the talking.

The band took to the stage with what has become their standard opener “Got Me Under Pressure”. It appeared vocalist, guitarist Billy Gibbons was having a few vocal issues early on but seemed to have subsided as the show went along for the most part. Bassist Dusty Hill was solid all night and even played some keyboard during “I Gotsta Get Paid”.

The set list was similar to what they band has played live these past few years. The diehards will tell you too many covers as they would much rather hear other lost songs. One glaring oversight was the omission of songs from the bands highest charting album Afterburner. Not only did it reach #4 on the album charts, it also sold some five million copies in the U.S. alone. Perhaps the band isn’t too fond of that album but my guess is many fans would disagree.

Yes, the band drudged out a few covers most notably Buck Owens “Act Naturally”. Classic songs “Cheap Sunglasses”, “Sharp Dressed Man” and “Legs” closed out the main set which was a good setup to the encore.
Rip roaring versions of “La Grange” and “Tush” helped end the first Tuesday In the Park concert of the year on a high note.

It is hard to believe this band has lasted as a trio for nearly fifty years. That is almost unheard of with bands these days as some seem to change members with each album or tour. It is a testament to Gibbons, Hill and Beard as they can write the book on how to keep a band together. After watching the trio from Texas perform, the damp, chilly crowd did not allow their pleasant mood to waver.

Up Next
I predict the 2017 Artpark season will warm up quite nicely as Tears For Fears are up next on Wednesday June 14.

Got Me Under Pressure
Waitin’ For The Bus
Jesus Just Left Chicago
Gimme All Your Lovin’
I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide
I Gotsta Get Paid
Foxy Lady
My Head’s In Mississippi
Sixteen Tons
Act Naturally
Cheap Sunglasses
Sharp Dressed Man
La Grange

About Joseph Suto

Location: Buffalo, NY Photographer/Reviewer
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