This past Wednesday we saw ZZ Top in concert at the Centre in the Square, with opening guests Tim Montana and the Shrednecks. Normally we like seeing shows in this venue because the sound is so good but this time the balance was off. It was as if the instrument volume was at 11 and the vocals volume was at 6 so we couldn't really hear the vocals. Although they modified the vocals volume to about 8, the sound still wasn't balanced.
Adding to the balance issues is that ZZ Top's voices are a bit rough. They've been together for 46 years so it would be surprising if their voices weren't rough but it would have been nice to hear them a little better. Of course the main reason to see ZZ Top is the bass and guitar playing, which was awesome. Their voices may not be what they used to be, but their playing hasn't deteriorated at all.
They played all of their hits as well as a few new songs. It was neat to see some of their synchronized moves when they were playing, too, because that's part of what I expect to see from them. They did bring out the fuzzy guitars but they didn't spin them.
The opening act was pretty good except that we couldn't hear the vocals. They were pretty entertaining to watch and I did like their cover of Lose yourself because their music has a country sound to it.
It turns out that we're old fuddy-duddies now because we brought and wore earplugs during the show. We'd found the music during the Heart concert to be really loud and hurt our ears so we decided that avoiding ear damage was a good thing. The earplugs actually helped us hear the vocals as well because they blocked out some of the other sounds and made it possible to hear some of the nuances in the guitar playing. Wearing earplugs was definitely the right choice for us even if we did look a little silly.
Overall, the show was ok. If the sound had been balanced it would have been great but with those problems it wasn't as good as it could be. It's still early in their tour, though, so hopefully they'll get the sound issues worked out for their next stops. If you like ZZ Top and they're playing near you, I'd recommend seeing them. And if you want to wear earplugs, that's ok too.
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