Live in Germany 1980 (Eagle / Rockpalast)
Reviewed by Margaret Moser, Fri., July 1, 2011
ZZ TopLive in Germany 1980 (Eagle/Rockpalast)
Imagine what it was like to be ZZ Top in 1980, selling beards and old-school blues-rock to a world with a Mohawk attitude and punk ethic. It would be three years before MTV redeemed them as a soundtrack for spandex-clad New Wavers, but at the dawn of a soon-to-be-decadent new decade, the tight little ol' trio from Houston still spewed boozy, bluesy, druggy rock that cataloged its audience in song titles with requisite anthems of a generation: "Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers," "Heard It on the X," and "Arrested for Driving While Blind." Germany's Rockpalast broadcasters gobbled it up, and this audio spin-off from last year's DVD (see "Nasty Dogs & Funky Kings," Aug. 6, 2010) spoon-feeds heaping helpings of Texas guitar sex on "Fool for Your Stockings," "La Grange," and "Tush." The sound is crisp enough to pick up audience conversations at the start, a caption to its 1980s carbon-dating, but leave it to the then-unhippest act around to make you wish you were there.