Date: September 26th, 2021
On Sunday night, ZZ Top closed out the 2021 Pavilion season at Bethel Woods with their 50th Anniversary Tour. This years outdoor concert season ran later than any other year to date at Bethel Woods, probably, in no small part, due to Covid-19, and making up for a lost season in 2020.
This wasn’t ZZ Tops’ first time to play BW. They opened for the truly awful Kid Rock in 2013 at the same venue. It was however, their first time at this venue without the late, great Dusty Hill, who sadly passed away recently. Stepping in for (but not replacing) Dusty Hill was the bands former guitar tech of over 2 decades, Elwood Francis. He had some big shoes to try and fill for the iconic Dusty Hill. He stepped into the role naturally with his flowing white beard, locks and dark/ cheap sunglasses (see what I did there?). He even got in on the synchronized dance with Billy Gibbons and their guitars.
Speaking of Billy Gibbons, he sounded and looked as he has done for the past few decades, fresh as a Texas daisy. The band opened with “Got Me Under Pressure” from their 1983 album “Eliminator” and from there, basically played a medley which of course included some of their biggest hits. “Gimme All Your Lovin'” was played pretty early in the set much to the delight of the fairly sizable Sunday night crowd. They also covered the classic “Sixteen Tons” which has been covered many times, by many bands, to varying degrees of success….ZZ Top, of course, killed it.
All in all the show was probably better than what I expected, Billy Gibbons still sounded great. He still has his guitar chops, in fact, he didn’t miss a beat all night. Dusty Hill was of course acknowledged, as well as the fact that he wanted the band to continue after he died, which they continue to do for the foreseeable future. Between Gibbons and the beardless Frank beard, as well as Elwood, the band is as relevant as they ever were. They closed out the night with “Tush” with Dusty Hill on pre-recorded vocals. A nice tribute and perfect ending to the show, and indeed, the 2021 pavilion season.