ZZ Top are an American rock institution, revered in the band’s home state of Texas and recognized worldwide as formidable purveyors of all things bearded and blues. That ubiquity was not the case in 1980, when, with six albums and a healthy amount of road time and sales under its collective belt, ZZ Top moved from London Records to Warner Bros. The label was intent on breaking the band in Europe and the vaunted German Rockpalast program was suggested as the springboard.
Despite a 4 a.m. start time for the set captured here, the band garnered a standing ovation at its end. Transmitted across Europe via Univision, the performance sowed major seeds for the trio. Upon returning a year later, ZZ Top headlined a sold-out tour, playing in front of as many as thirty thousand fans at a time. Live in Germany 1980 captures this infamous show, released on CD for the first time.
The band is lock-step tight, swinging and swaggering through past hits like “Tush” and “Beer Drinkers And Hell Raisers”, along with a good part of then-new album, Deguello. Billy Gibbons is in particularly good form, tearing things the hell up on slide and standard guitar. ZZ Top has been no stranger to a live release over its 40 plus years, but Live in Germany 1980 may very well be the seminal live document in the band’s catalog.