For four decades now, ZZ Top has cranked out no-frills, guitar-driven, blues-based rock 'n' roll. It's no surprise, then, that ZZ Top: Live from Texas adopts a similarly stripped-down approach in documenting a 2007 concert from the band's home state.
Recorded in November, 2007, at the Nokia Theatre in Grand Prairie, Texas, Live from Texas is a blast of foot-stompin' rock 'n' roll courtesy Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard (he's the ironically named beardless guy). The show kicks off with a solid rendition of "Got Me Under Pressure," from ZZ Top's blockbuster 1983 album, "Eliminator." The 16 songs that follow include such well-known hits as "Cheap Sunglasses," "Pearl Sunglasses," "Sharp Dressed Man," "Legs" and "Tush." The caliber of the performances ranges from blistering to somewhat rote, but Gibbons' justly celebrated guitar mastery is evident on such numbers as "Jesus Just Left Chicago" and "Just Got Paid."
The full setlist is as follows:
1. "Got Me Under Pressure"
2. "Waitin' for the Bus"
3. "Jesus Just Left Chicago"
4. "I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide"
5. "Pin Cushion"
6. "Cheap Sunglasses"
7. "Pearl Necklace"
8. "Heard It on the X"
9. "Just Got Paid"
10. "Rough Boy"
11. "Blue Jean Blues"
12. "Gimme All Your Lovin'"
13. "Sharp Dressed Man"
15. "Tube Snake Boogie"
16. "La Grange"
ZZ Top fans will enjoy the straightforward performance. Gibbons and Hill are in their endearing full-blown shtick mode, sporting their trademark sunglasses, hats and beards that could turn a Hasidic rabbi green with envy. Aside from the obligatory shots of an appreciative audience, director Milton Lage doesn't gussy up the proceedings. What you see is what you get: a venerable rock band cranking out its greatest hits.
The picture is serviceable, but nothing to write home about (assuming that great picture quality for a concert DVD really is worth, you know, writing home about). There is a softness to the image, and colors tend to run a bit warm. Aspect ratio is 1.78:1.
Excellent sound is available in Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS Digital Surround Sound; both are sharp, clear and make terrific use of rear speakers for crowd noise. Less adventurous viewers can opt for Dolby Digital Stereo.
The extras include optional subtitles in French, Spanish and English for the hearing-impaired.
The 18-minute, 37-second Poker Game features the boys playing cards, but the real draw is their steady stream of reminiscences. The ZZ Top faithful will dig hearing about how the group formed, their introduction to Muddy Waters, induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and how Paula Abdul (!) taught them to dance.
Dallas Show Day (6:43) is a modest glimpse at the concert's preparations, while Photo Shoot (4:40) is a self-explanatory clip of the band members posing for pics. Also included is a leftover from the concert, a soggy cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Foxey Lady" (4:32).
ZZ Top: Live from Texas is a plum for the diehard fan, but it's not going to enthrall folks with only a casual interest in the trio. After all, it's been well more than 20 years since the group's heyday, and there is a perfunctory feel to much of this 2007 concert.