ZZ Top: Tonite at Midnight

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Some live albums undergo more than a little studio engineering before hitting the shops; as one might hope with ZZ Top, they seem to have pressed “record” and what they played is what you get.

The mix on opener Got Me Under Pressure sounds a bit raw and if a drum fill starts a fraction of a second early, it’s left in. It’s all the better for it: ZZ Top found a winning sound of hard but simple blues / rock, double entendres the standard form of lyric, and you don’t want them gettin’ fancy; you want them to be “whippin’ wire, poundin’ skin, and rockin’ it way up,” as guitarist Billy Gibbons told us via a Press release.

The slightly dubious opener is probably the venue not the band: the 15 songs were recorded over several tours in 13 cities around the world, and track two (recorded in Las Vegas) is about three times beefier. Only Nashville and London shows get two tracks apiece, the latter presumably because one Mr Geoffrey Beck features.

The rhythm section is tighter than a well-combed beard and the guitar solos simple but 100% air guitar ready. Mid-set they hit a blues nirvana with La Grange, and stay there for some time. Bliss.

Other tracks include Cheap Sunglasses, Legs, Sharp Dressed Man, Gimme All Your Lovin and Tush — part of ZZ’s charm is that 67-year-old Gibbons can still claim to be lookin for the latter, over a riff Lemmy stole for Damage Case.

Get rockin’ here:

About jerobear

Weekly newspaper editor in Cheshire, England. I blog my editorials and the CDs I write about. I play drums, drink coffee, play music, meditate. I hate filling in forms.

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