ZZ Top – Wembley Arena, London – 24th June 2015

Tonight’s gig was ZZ Top’s only UK show, which would normally be more than enough to make this a gig not to miss, but to make it even better, the support act was Thunder, so two great bands on one bill.

Coming on stage to the sounds of the ACDC classic, “Thunderstruck”, Thunder got huge cheers – you could easily have thought they were the headliner judging by how well the crowd welcomed them.  Being a support slot, they had to condense their show down to mainly the hits, so kicked off with “Dirty love” and “River of pain” before playing a couple of tracks from the new album, Wonder days.  As always, Danny Bowes makes the job of fronting the band and getting the crowd involved look effortless (despite it being anything but easy), and the whole band look to be totally at home and having a great time in front of the large crowd.  With hits such as “Backstreet symphony”, “love walked in” and “I love you more than rock’n’roll” they were bound to go down well, and they certainly did.  A fantastic set from a great live band.

Thunder setlist:

Dirty Love
River of Pain
Black Water
Wonder Days
Backstreet Symphony
Love Walked In
The Thing I Want
I Love You More Than Rock ‘N’ Roll

After a break it was time for ZZ Top.  While some bands tour almost every year, ZZ Top visit the UK far less often than that so their gigs are always something to look forward to.  They kicked off with “Got me under pressure”, from their mega-selling “Eliminator” album, which got things off to a superb start.  In fact it was only a few more songs before they played one of their biggest hits – “Gimme all your lovin”, and when a band can afford to play a massive hit early on in the set, you know there’s plenty more to come.  While the Eliminator and Afterburner albums brought them massive success as a rock band, their earlier albums were much more Blues influenced, and tonight we get a cover version that shows their love of the blues – “Catfish blues”, a song by early Mississippi bluesman Robert Petway.  There’s also a Jimi Hendrix cover tonight (Foxy lady).

It’s a superb set from start to finish, and ending the show with “Legs” really did leave things on a high note.  The only question in my mind though was “How can they top that?”
Well the answer came fairly quickly.  They chose to top it not by holding back their biggest hits for the encore, but by bringing out a special guest, Jeff Beck.  He was celebrating his birthday and joined the band for the entire encore.  People who missed the gig missed a truly special night.

ZZ Top may be three guys all eligibile to claim their old age pensions but there really is no sign of that – they still sound just as good as they did 20 or 30 years ago, with the vocals still strong and the music flawless.  Where some bands rely on video screens and the like to distract away from weaknesses in their performance, with ZZ Top while they may have video screens, there is never a feeling that they need to be there – if you took them away the show would be just as enjoyable.

An absolutely superb performance from ZZ Top and the encore with Jeff Beck just made an already great gig even more special.


Got Me Under Pressure
Waitin’ for the Bus
Jesus Just Left Chicago
Gimme All Your Lovin’
I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide
I Gotta Get Paid
Foxy Lady        (The Jimi Hendrix Experience cover)
Catfish Blues        (Robert Petway cover)
Cheap Sunglasses
My Head’s in Mississippi
Sharp Dressed Man


Rough Boy
Sixteen Tons
La Grange / Sloppy Drunk Jam

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About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.