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ZZ Top: Double Down Live 1980-2008

January 30, 2014
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Billy Gibbons and company throw down hard on this double DVD Tex fest. With gigs from two different eras, there’s pretty much something for every ZZ fan. The 1980 show in Germany is super funky, with Gibbons’ Les Paul tones at their meanest and his vibrato at its absolute greasiest. The camera work is great, with plenty of close-ups on the Rev’s hands (dig the hybrid-picked octaves on “I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide”). Gibbons is really on here, with perfect bends, awesome dynamics, and gut-punching power chords. Fast-forwarding to the 2008 gig, we get ZZ Top the little ol’ multinational corporation from Texas, but they still bring it in a big, fat way. Now primarily playing Gretsch guitars in lieu of Pearly Gates, Gibbons’ tones on “Blue Jean Blues” and “La Grange” are delicious—stringy and reedy in all the right ways. This disc has a lot more production value, and as a result it’s a little less immediate and raw than the 1980 footage. But the fact remains: this man is a card-carrying badass. When people talk about guys who can floor you with one note, they’re talking about BFG. You know what I’m talkin’ ’bout. Eagle Vision.

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