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ZZ Top Takes Us Back To Texas

ZZ Top / Ted Nugent
Alpine Valley Music Theater
East Troy, WI
May 25, 2003
ZZ Top
ZZ Top
Ted Nugent
Ted Nugent

Story and Photos by Terry Mayer

What better way to celebrate the Memorial Day weekend than with one of the biggest supporters of the American way of life than Ted Nugent. His take-no-prisoners and unapologetic conservative views of the world hold true because of his honesty.
The woods and rolling hills of Alpine Valley were the perfect setting for Ted to go wild and crazy. The natural amphitheater seemed to embrace him like a bald eagle that hasn't been seen in these parts for years. Emerging onto the stage and waving the old red, white and blue back and forth and saluting with the enthusiasm of a Boy Scout saying the Pledge of Allegiance for the first time, he couldn't wait to get his hands on his guitar. With a fire in his eyes and pang in his belly he started off with the manic drive of "Free for All."
ZZ Top He set the pace for the rest of the night with "Wango Tango," "Stormtroopin" and "Snakeskin." The power chords burst forth naturally like a wailing whirlwind. "Wang Dang" proved to be a crowd favorite and Ted didn't let up until newcomer Barry Sparks gave him a vocal break with the ballsy "Hey Baby." Off of last years release Craveman came "Rawdogs and Warhogs" and at the midpoint the band lit into the manic drive of "Fred Bear."
Of course Ted spoke his mind and on "Kiss My Ass" he told Jesse Jackson, the French and the Dixie Chicks among others to pucker up. The familiar guitar chords of "Cat Scratch Fever" blared from the stage and leads it's way into the weary but still powerful "Stranglehold" and then beat new life into "Great White Buffalo." Who could have asked for a better intro to Memorial Day?
A powerful force still lingered in the valley and the electric generator was sure to use every ounce of energy to supply the rest of the sparks on this night as ZZ Top took the stage. No one was asleep, but yet everyone was catching some ZZZZZ's. "Gimme All You're Lovin'" showed us Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard (the only one without a beard, ironically) were ready today as they were thirty some years ago. In a Alamo style setting and donning ponchos with white brimmed sombrero/cowboy hats, the illuminated beards gave way to the deep blackness of their sunglasses. It is unmistakable ZZ. "Pincushion" from Atenna was purely bred in the heart of Texas.
ZZ Top kept in time with a salty swing and sway. "Waitin' for a Bus" nicely combined the Texas hip with a slow dripping blues romp, where as "Jesus just left Chicago" was pure Chicago blues. The quirky "Manic Mechanic" was an odd deviation that broke the line. The first slow part of the night came with "Rough Boy," the eerily romantic guitar song for the lost souls in the shadows. Billy commented about the boyfriends cuddling up with their girlfriends in a sarcastic tone and then lit into "Cheap Sunglasses." The drums and bass laid the grave for the guitars melodic fire. Of course, they came to promote their new album Mescalero. "Buck Nekkid" was good old time ZZ Top. The boys couldn't stray too long from the classic stuff and charged into "I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide" yet another hit off of Deguello. El Loco's hit "Tube Snake Boogie" had everyone dancing in the cheap seats and the aisles as security got no break clearing the people out of the way. Perhaps the biggest hits for ZZ Top "Sharp Dressed Man" and "Legs' were favorites of the Eliminator days - smelly, but still brashly open. "LaGrange" and "Tush" finished out an exhausting, but fulfilling evening.

Ted Nugent
Ted Nugent goes patriotic.

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