Houston native Billy Gibbons played a concert recently promoting his new Cuban-influenced record. Of course, I had to go. Without having seen ZZ Top, I figured this concert was the next best thing. If you are unfamiliar with the music of ZZ Top, here’s what Rolling Stone says. Evidently, Billy Gibbons is no stranger to performing a concert. According to Rolling Stone, “The Worldwide Texas Tour” was one of the largest-grossing road trips in rock at the time.
First, Billy Gibbons mentions learning rhythm from Tito Puente, in person, at a young age. That figures! I’ve always thought Gibbons has great rhythm. Of course, as a bass player I’m biased towards the rhythm section. But, any musician whose music makes me want to dance is a winner. And, there aren’t an over abundance today that can do that via a live concert. Here’s Tito Puente – Five Beat Mambo. And, what’s the first thing you notice? A whole stage lined with percussion! What?!
So, at the BFG concert there were two stacks, two organs, two females on two drum kits, one percussionist, one low rider bicycle, and Billy Gibbons – a whole stage of rhythm and percussion. (well, except for the bicycle)
The BFGs also did a Slim Harpo tune, Got Love If You Want It. Here’s Slim Harpo’s version. Billy has a tendency to learn from the best: Slim Harpo, Tito Puente, Jimmy Reed, Sam and Dave. (Here’s ZZ Top’s cover of Sam and Dave’s Thank you. Speaking of ZZ Top songs. I really like Just Got Paid for the extended solo section that starts about 1:25. So good!)
I admire the way Gibbons combines both the past and present and takes that into the future. As you heard, he’s not afraid to experiment. Also, I think one of his greatest assets is his showmanship. He is truly an entertainer and puts on a great concert!
Professional Concert Reviews:
- Billy Gibbons Gets Some Cuban Satisfaction With the BFGs by Chris Gray Houston Press
- ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons flies solo at UH by Craig Hlavaty Houston Chronicle
- Latin Roots: Billy Gibbons Adds A Cubano Twist To The Blues by World Cafe