ZZ Top’s 1973 album, Tres Hombres, might have gotten them known throughout the United States (it went No. 8 on Billboard) and singles such as Tush, I Thank You and Cheap Sunglasses continued to keep their name in circulation, but it is Eliminator (1983) and Afterburner (1985) that really made the bearded rockers superstars. Like many acts who made it big in the ’80s, ZZ Top also had MTV to thank – it’s hard to imagine the MTV generation forgetting the clips for Legs and Sharp Dressed Men. By then, guitar fans had also realised that Billy Gibbons is an extraordinary guitarist and the group’s crunching boogie rock is as distinctive as Mark Knopfler’s licks.
But for this show, John Douglas (who is better known as a drum tech and artist) sat in for Frank Beard (hence the title of the disc) who had to have emergency appendix surgery. This is how Douglas explains the gig:
I was playing with X O X, a fairly popular band here in Houston when Frank Beard of ZZ Top came to see the band. He liked my drums and asked if I could paint a kit for him. That chance meeting has turned into a 17+ year friendship over which I have created 13 custom drumkits and traveled the world with ZZ Top as Frank’s drum tech.
In October of 2002, while on tour in Europe, Frank had an emergency appendectomy and I was asked to fill the drum spot. So with very little sleep and no rehearsal I played three sold out shows starting in Paris. In a career spanning 30+ years, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees ZZ Top have never performed without those three original guys, until then. Mucho thanks to Billy, Dusty and Frank for trusting me up there behind the kit. It was an honor and I had a blast!
A reviewer at zzlive.com commented: “This drummer did a super fine job, just perfect in fact. In an odd way, the drums almost seem to be too perfect. Without knowing it, I think most fans, even diehards would not know that this was not Frank Beard playing.”
This disc has just surfaced and thanks to Joe Blotz Records & Lawn Care for sharing the tracks.
Recorded live at Le Zenith, Paris, France; October 14, 2002.
Very good soundboard.
01. Introduction 0.21
02. Tube Steak Snake Boogie (Gibbons/Hill/Beard) 4.26
03. I Thank You (Porter/Hayes) 3.25
04. Pincushion (Gibbons/Hill/Beard) 4.23
05. Got Me Under Pressure (Gibbons/Hill/Beard) 4.13
06. Waitin’ For The Bus (Gibbons/Hill) 3.00
07. Jesus Just Left Chicago (Gibbons/Hill/Beard) 4.53
08. Future Blues (Brown) 3.53
09. I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide (Gibbons/Hill/Beard) 4.52
10. Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers (Gibbons/Hill/Beard) 3.39
11. Rough Boy (Gibbons/Hill/Beard) 5.21
12. Mexican Blackbird (Gibbons/Hill/Beard) 4.11
13. Cheap Sunglasses (Gibbons/Hill/Beard)
14, Just Got Paid (Gibbons/Ham)
15. I Love The Woman (Myles/Nath)
16. Bang Bang (unknown) 5.30
17. Gimme All Your Lovin’ (Gibbons/Hill/Beard) 4.31
18. Sharp Dressed Man (Gibbons/Hill/Beard) 4.48
19. Legs (Gibbons/Hill/Beard) 4.59
20. La Grange (Gibbons/Hill/Beard) 4.58
21. Tush (Gibbons/Hill/Beard) 3.31