Concert Review: ZZ Top, Jeff Beck, Ann Wilson in Austin

Opener Ann Wilson, legend from trailblazers Heart from Seattle, impressed all with how powerful and strong her voice still is. After decades of great music, she’ on tour supporting her recent solo album, Fierce Bliss.

She played a short set but packed with hits like ‘Crazy on You’, ‘Magic Man’, and killer cover versions of Zeppelin’s ‘Black Dog’, The Who’s ‘Love, Reign O’er Me’, and ‘Let’s Dance’ as part of ‘Straight On’. Her band included serious pickers. We were surprised more fans hadn’t arrived early for her set-but it was an early 6:30pm start that could explain it.

courtesy Ann Wilson Facebook

Germania Amphitheater, Austin, Texas

Tonight was a hot, jam packed lineup of 3 legends-one night: Ann Wilson, Jeff Beck, ZZ Top. This is night one of Jeff Beck’s tour supporting album 18, with Johnny Depp. Beck plays 3 nights with Ann Wilson, 6 night with Texas legends, ZZ Top. He hits Austin, Dallas, and Houston on this tour.

Beck opened with a killer song then right into a trippy song that felt reflective. Known for his consistent attire, usually in all white, today Beck wore all black which was a nice contrast to his mostly all white guitars (many of them). His band was made of females- same bass guitar/singer Rhonda Smith- and a new drummer- Anika Nilles (who stole the spotlight several times on her solos), and keyboardist Robert Stevenson.
See all our concert photos on Austin 101.

Being on all the ‘top guitarists’ lists is not lost on us or his fans. The fact that he’s 78 is mind blowing. Seeing him play at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar festival in Dallas made us believers. Known for lots of innovation, playing with his fingers (he apparently insures them for millions), and reverb and sound effects. The entire production was stellar- from massive speakers, volume and bass sounds, to tons of amazing show lights. He continued with a beautiful ballad, then back into a jam with stand-out riffs. Standout songs included drummer Billy Cobham song he wrote, ‘Stratus’ and the Stevie Ray Vaughan song, ‘Little Wing’ (a nod to legend Stevie who was from Austin). And he blew our minds with Lennon cover ‘Day in the Life’.

Jeff Beck with band

Legends ZZ Top kicked off their set with ‘Got me Under Pressure’ and right into ‘I Thank You’ then ‘Waitin for the Bus’, giving shout outs to Austin. The crowd stood and barely ever sat for the duration of the show. The set itself was cool with trophy looking mic stands, massive videos including famous local dance hall, Gruene Hall. Their first guitars were vintage and they constantly changed out throughout the set. They rolled into hits ‘Pearl Necklace’, ‘I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide’

ZZ Top performs

The fact that these guys have been performing for 5 decades, are in their 70’s, doing it in the Texas heat, and without their Dusty Hill, who sadly passed last year- is insane. With Billy Gibbon’s character grin and the duos side strut that the band is known for, saying “Are we having a good time now?”.”We’re just making shit up as we go”. A fan shouted “take us way back”, he replied, “we’ll take you way back. How about Brown Sugar?” then proceeded to each get killer red guitars (double neck bass). They closed out set one with ‘Legs’ and huge version of ‘Sharp Dressed Man’ (which we thought would be in the encore). For these, they brought out the large white fuzzy guitars. Billy impressed playing one handed and showing his comic sticker on the back of his guitar that said plainly, ‘BEER’.

We were a bit surprised at the short main set at about one hour, but they came back for an encore for 4 songs that included Beck, and played hits, ‘Rough Boy’, ‘Tube Snake Boogie’, and more.

set lists:


Start me up
Got Me Under Pressure
I Thank You (Sam & Dave cover)
Waitin’ for the Bus
Jesus Just Left Chicago
Gimme All Your Lovin’
Pearl Necklace
I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide
I Gotsta Get Paid
My Head’s in Mississippi
Brown Sugar
Just Got Paid
Sharp Dressed Man
Rough Boy (with Jeff Beck)
Sixteen Tons (Merle Travis cover) (with Jeff Beck)
Tube Snake Boogie (with Jeff Beck)
La Grange (with Jeff Beck)

Ann Wilson setlist:

Even It Up (Heart song)
Black Wing
Magic Man (Heart song)
Rain of Hell
Crazy on You (Heart song)
Love, Reign O’er Me (The Who cover)
Barracuda (Heart song)
Straight On / Let’s Dance
Black Dog (Led Zeppelin cover)

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