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Florida Theater, USA, 13 March 2007

As ZZ Top took the stage tonight they were met with a roar from the sold out Jacksonville crowd. Used to playing large arenas, their setup was dialed down to fit the intimate setting of the Florida Theater. Trunks of lighting and other various touring paraphernalia littered the sidewalks on Forsyth avenue. I counted five tour busses and three tractor trailers. This for three guys from Texas who played for two hours and were only in town for the day.

ZZ Top

The crew were out of their element clearly as there was confusion everywhere you looked. Confusion that kept this reviewer from seeing the entire show in-fact. A high decibel blast out of the PA right before the guys took the stage had the staff at the venue handing out earplugs to ease the fans pain. Aside from the sound man's faux paw and the one guy in the crowd yelling, 'If It's Too Loud, You're Too OLD!, the sound level was manageable.

Unfortunately, I can not describe to you what happened between the third song and the eighth due to the incompetence of the tour manager however, what I did see was worth seeing for the most part.

ZZ Top

Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard performed to the level for which the fans were used to from this threesome. Opening the show with their Southern anthem 'Thunderbird', they set the tone for what would be a greatest hits show.

No, the guys were not self indulgent with their set. They gave the sold out crowd, who were made up of mostly forty plus year olds exactly what they came to hear and were rewarded with standing ovations for it. Legs, LaGrange, Tush, Cheap Sunglasses, Gimmie All Your Lovin', Got Me Under Pressure, and Sharp Dressed Man were all on the set list tonight plus more.

ZZ Top

Perhaps it was the fact that they have been an arena act for so long that there was a loss of connection. The Florida Theater is an intimate venue. Artists can reach out and touch their fans and most of them enjoy and even look forward to this connection. The ZZ Top fans were doing their part however; Billy and Dusty did not take advantage of the opportunity to make the two way connection instead performing as if you were watching on the jumbo monitors as you would over at the arena.

Don't get me wrong, the choreography straight out of their eighties videos aroused the crowd each time they stepped to it but I felt they could have cut back on the act and showed us more of who they are. The bright moments for me were the Elvis songs. Both Jailhouse Rock and Viva Las Vegas were well delivered in a way that would have made the King proud and the Gibbons slide guitar work on 'Jut Got Paid'.

Was the show worth the price of the ticket ($100), hell yeah! Would I see them again, hell yeah! Would I experience a different show, probably not! Is that a reason not to go, hell NO!

Review and photos by Steve Janowicz

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