ZZ Top Rocks Santiago

If rock ´n´ roll had its own personal Santa Claus, he would be twins, need fattening up and would have played the Movistar Arena in May.

Photo courtesy Cristian Crisrock Carrasco
Photo courtesy Cristian Crisrock Carrasco

ZZ Top’s guitarist Billy Gibbons and bassist Dusty Hill walked on stage like a set of black-leather-garbed, guitar-playing skinny Saint Nics, backed by the ironically clean-cut Frank Beard on drums.

Photo courtesy Cristian Crisrock Carrasco
Photo courtesy Cristian Crisrock Carrasco

Playing in Chile for the first time, the two front men, sporting their signature sun glasses and chest-length beards, now quite white, proved to the Santiago audience that this trio of 61-year-old Texans still had their licks.

The stage was notably bare, set only with a backdrop video screen and a pile of white stair-stacked amps on either side of the musicians and their gear. And although there were 9,000 in attendance, the entire upper tier of the Arena was blocked off, allowing all ticket holders to be much closer to the stage.

This rock-blues group is the only major band today whose original lineup has been intact for over 40 years. Although Gibbons’ whiskey voice has deepened, he still belted out classics like “Cheap Sunglasses,” “The Grange,” “Give Me All Your Loving,” “She’s Got Legs” and Jimi Hendrix’s, “Hey Joe.”

Gibbons showed off his Spanglish to an appreciative audience throughout the night, introducing songs, thanking the crowd and even a little skit with the obligatory scantily-clad blond.

Photo courtesy Cristian Crisrock Carrasco
Photo courtesy Cristian Crisrock Carrasco

The single screen video backdrop featured footage of the cars and guitars that they are known for collecting as well as some clips from the classic, “Treasure of the Sierra Madre.”

The guys had three costume changes in a little less than two hours, each time getting shinier. By the end of the show, they were all sequined out, biker style, ready for their rendition of Elvis’s, “Viva Las Vegas.”

The show openers were local Santiago blues rockers The Harrison Trio. An electric guitar was raffled off prior to the show by guest host, Coco LaGrande. All funds raised by the raffle will to go families affected by the earthquake.

One might have thought that these were limber old dogs, as they played and moved in sync to the beat of “I’m Bad. I’m Nationwide.”

But maybe instead of teaching old rockers new tricks, maybe it’s time we less-experienced folk admit that any tricks existing at all, quite possibly, were their invention.

Santiago was the first stop in South America during their world tour, which will continue on to Europe, Canada and finally back to the U.S.

ZZ Top, El Cruce, and Harrison Trio
Tuesday, 18 May 2010
MovieStar Arena
Santiago, Chile

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