“That Little Ol’ Band from Texas” known as ZZ Top is still going strong after “four fine decades of decadence”—in the words of lead singer/guitarist Billy Gibbons. ZZ will bring its winning motto of “Tone. Taste. Tenacity.” to the Borgata on Sept. 2. Three guys. Three chords. Three beards—that is, two sporting the hairy evidence and one with the last name. The phrase “looking like a member of ZZ Top” immediately puts you into a visual lock, doesn’t it?
Forty years together, ZZ is one of the few remaining classic-rock bands with all its original members intact. They also seem to be having a great deal of fun as the years go by—but then, who wouldn’t when your livelihood centers on girls, geetars and cars? They don’t necessarily attribute their success to clean living but, obviously, something is working right.
When they hit the Borgata’s Music Box stage, get set for loud and low-down. No ballads here. No lovey-dovey lyrics. Be ready for dirty blues right from the start, with songs from ZZ’s far-reaching songbook, plus some covers like “Hey Joe” and “Brown Sugar” sprinkled in.
The second half of the 65-minute show kicks into high MTV gear with all those songs that cemented the quirky ZZ image, coupled with revved-up rock. (The ’80s were very, very good to the Topsters.) And, in case you need reminding, the videos will play on the big screen as the band performs the songs live. But keep your eyes on those boys—age-neutral even in their 60s—because they still do their signature guitar-swinging moves and back-to-back stances. Everybody’s been particularly crazy about the bowlegged dance during “Sharp Dressed Man.”
ZZ Top has been working on a new album with producer Rick Rubin (not a whisker stranger, either) that’s due out in March/April 2012. Also paying homage to the Tres Hombres is the album, A Tribute from Friends, slated for an October 2010 release.
Expect the band to crank through its 16-or-so-song setlist without much chitchat. In cheap sunglasses and fancy jackets, with hats intact, they’re as much fun to look at as they are to boogie to. And with their commanding lyrics, well, how can you go wrong?
When: Sept. 2, 9 p.m.
Where: Music Box, Borgata, One Borgata Way, Atlantic City, N.J. 08401.
Tickets: $65-$75. Visit theborgata.com or call (866) 900-4TIX.
» More Concert Previews by Debbi Calton