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Live in Germany

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Album Review

Interestingly, while always priding themselves on being a kick-ass live band, ZZ Top never got around to issuing a full-length live album during their 1970s/1980s peak. But as they say, it's better late than never, and 2011 finally saw the arrival of an archival live ZZ Top recording, Live in Germany 1980. Featuring half of the audio portion of their 2009 Double Down Live DVD, Live in Germany 1980 does a fantastic job of displaying all of the group's pre-Eliminator classics in a concert setting. And as expected, the tunes take on a life all their own throughout — "Jesus Just Left Chicago," "Precious and Grace," and "Cheap Sunglasses" sound even more muscular and strut-heavy on a concert stage. The word "explosive" springs to mind upon coming in close contact with "Heard It on the X" and "Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers," and the hits that made ZZ Top synonymous with classic rock radio are included as well — "La Grange," "Tush," etc. Shortly after this concert was recorded, ZZ Top got a bit handcuffed by gimmicks (long beards, wacky-looking guitars) and electronics. But in 1980, ZZ Top were one of the (if not the) most powerful trios in all of rock, and Live in Germany 1980 helps confirm this claim once and for all.

Biography

Formed: 1970 in Houston, TX

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A sturdy American blues-rock trio from Texas, ZZ Top specialized in down-and-dirty blues-rock during the '70s, then scored colorful MTV hits during the 1980s. Formed in Houston in 1970 by Billy Gibbons (guitar), Dusty Hill (bass), and Frank Beard (drums), the trio came from a pair of rival bands the Moving Sidewalks (Gibbons) and American Blues (Hill and Beard). Their first two albums reflected the strong blues roots and Texas humor of the band. Their third album (Tres Hombres) gained them national...
Full bio