'Same three guys, same three chords' - ZZ Top rock in Cork

ZZ Top - Live At The Marquee
If ever a band and its audience had a matchmaker to bring them together it was ZZ Top and their Irish fan base.

Without the late TV presenter Vincent Hanley and the Technicolor Lisdoonvarna-like carnival of MTV-USA to brighten our Sundays in 1980s Ireland, we may never have been introduced. Of course, the Texan three-piece did have the notable dowry of eye-popping videos. 1983’s Eliminator album coincided perfectly with the arrival of the three-hour weekly music television in 1984. It spawned a slew of singles; each promo video featuring a red customised 1933 Ford Coupe and promising all kinds of delights.

As soon as the band break into the opening chords of ‘Gimme All Your Lovin’, the first single culled from the album, the sense of that teenage crush being relived is palpable. Drummer Frank Beard beats out the intro but it’s those snaking guitars that set the pulse of the audience racing.

By then the band has already cruised through three numbers, going as far back as 1973’s Tres Hombres for he lascivious stomp of ‘Waiting For the Bus’ and the ragged squall of ‘Jesus Just Left Chicago’, the latter track including a reference to Cork.

If their patented 12-bar blues sound remains intact their keen sense of the visual is also present. An introductory trailer conjures images of desert heat and during ‘Jesus Just Left Chicago’ the visuals put us in the front seat of a car, the Jesus statue on the dash leaning with the turns. Guitarist Billy Gibbons and bassist Dusty Hill wear their trademark shades and sequined jackets.

Referencing their endurance Gibbons quips: “Same three guys. Same three chords.” Ageless and as incorrigible as ever.


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