Later this week upwards of 80,000 music fans will descend upon Manchester, Tennessee to see scores of bands, comedians, DJs and more at the 12th installment of the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. The fest humbly began back in 2002, hosting around 50 mostly jam-oriented bands across four stages. Over the past decade-plus Bonnaroo has grown exponentially and will see nearly as many acts perform on its first day alone then did as at the whole event during its inaugural year. For this year’s fest, the promoters have once again put together a lineup that is stacked from top to bottom with a little bit of something for nearly every type of music lover. As has become the norm around these parts, we will once again be dedicating a number of posts this week to all things ‘Roo.
With each passing year what we’ve come to love about Superfly’s approach to Bonnaroo is their free-wheeling spirit to book just about anyone, from any genre of music, especially when it comes to legacy artists, throwing festgoers a handful of unexpected curveballs each year. The 2013 edition of Bonnaroo is certainly no different, as you catch classic rock legends Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, country music icon Dwight Yoakam, parody song master “Weird” Al Yankovic and jazz-fusion courtesy of John McLaughlin & The 4th Dimension. While you certainly can’t go wrong in checking out any of the aforementioned acts, the one that got us talking the most around HT Headquarters was the prospect of seeing Texas boogie-rock-act ZZ Top, who surprisingly are making their Bonnaroo debut this year.
If all you know about ZZ Top are their long beards and string of goofy music videos that were in heavy rotation on MTV in the 1980’s, then here’s a quick primer on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame act. Formed in Houston in 1969, the three-piece act have sold over 25 million albums in their 40+ year career. The trio of Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard (yes that’s actually his last name, though he’s not one of the two that sports a lengthy one) built their reputation on playing a meaty blend that mixed the blues with hard rock and Texas boogie, becoming the Lone Star State’s answer to Cream.
While 1973’s Tres Hombres, broke the band thanks in part to songs like La Grange and Tush, it wasn’t until a decade later with 1983’s Eliminator and the help of MTV that pushed the trio into super-stardom. The record, which features Gimme’ All Your Lovin, Sharp Dressed Man and Legs, has sold over 10 million copies. ZZ Top, which has always have a flare for the dramatic, put on a fantastic live show that typically features coordinated dance moves and Texas-sized sets that echo back to the days of big arena rock shows.
Let’s check out this live performance of Waiting For The Bus > Jesus Just Left Chicago…
ZZ Top will take the stage at This Tent at 11:30 PM, shortly after Paul McCartney wraps up his headlining set on Friday night at the What Stage.