MUSIC: ZZ Top Rocks Twin River
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons about midway through their Twin River show; perfect news for the enthusiastic crowd that joined them Friday night.
It’s a formula that worked well, when the “L’il Ole Band from Texas” visited Little Rhody for a ride through their hits last Friday night. They’re the longest running continuous rock band in America. The Rock Hall of Fame members have been together for over 40 years – the longest of any major act out there. The reason for their longevity is simple - Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard really know how to rock. All three are exceptional players – and with only three guys, you can’t miss a note!
All the Hits
At the casino, the band didn’t take a lot of chances; they play it safe, and there’s nothing wrong with that. They pounded out hit after hit, throwing in a few high powered deep cuts. Opening with the solid “Got Me Under Pressure,” the band charged into “Waitin’ for the Bus (Have Mercy)” and then a nice bluesy “Jesus Just Left Chicago.” The Blues-Rock slow groove sounds so nice on those early tunes.
After a spirited “Gimme all Your Lovin,” they settled in for a few deeper tracks including the classic “Certified Blues,” from their first album. Their Rock and Roll credentials were further displayed in a rollicking version of “Foxy Lady,” which brought the crowd back to its feet. It’s worth noting that guitarist Billy Gibbons was pretty much “discovered” by Jimi Hendrix, who brought him on tour in 1968.
Decades before the Red Sox made the scraggly beard all the rage, ZZ Top established the original fashion statement. It’s a brand recognized worldwide and adds to their appeal. (They were once offered a million dollars to shave the beards – they refused.) Throughout the show, a video screen flashed images of vintage cars, vintage guitars, scantily clad women, and old MTV videos reminding all present of the true meaning of Rock and Rock.
The bands commercial success can be attributed to their staying close to their roots while creating a brand, embracing a certain style and sticking to it. Let’s not forget how big they were in the early days of MTV, with hits like “Gimme All Your Lovin,” “Legs,” and “Cheap Sunglasses.” These were all FM radio staples, in heavy rotation, and are still heard frequently in TV advertising and sports stadiums.
A show highlight came on the first encore when Gibbons donned his Gibson SG and strummed out those familiar opening notes to “La Grange.” Have Mercy! After a sweet sounding “Tush,” the band’s final encore evoked the spirit of Elvis - they blasted into a mid tempo bluesy “Jailhouse Rock” featuring Dusty Hill on vocals.
The only problem with this show was its brevity. The band ripped through their 16 song set in about an hour and a quarter, way too brief for most concertgoers. At minimum, an opening act should have been arranged - the band even recognized local guitar legend Duke Robillard, who was in the house. Hmmm… there’s an idea. With premium pricing, and a known set list, it wouldn’t have been hard to set something up. Just a thought going forward.
Related Slideshow: Great Thanksgiving Events for the Family
Thanksgiving 1830s Style
This Thanksgiving, take the trip to Old Sturbridge Village to enjoy the holiday as it was celebrated in the 1830’s. Learn about a traditional 19th century meal where the favorite item was not cranberry sauce, or even Turkey—it was Marlborough pudding! Visitors will watch after dinner shooting matches, which was equivalent to our after dinner football. Also, American Indian traditions of giving thanks will be shared.
1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA. (508) 347-3362.
Where better to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday than right where is began? Visit Plimouth Plantation to enjoy classic roast turkey with all the fixings. There will be costumed Pilgrim and Native interpreters on site to greet you and tell you stories about the first feast in 1621.
137 Warren Ave, Plymouth, MA. (508) 746-1622.
Trot off Your Turkey
After the Thanksgiving feast and the madness of Black Friday, most people might assume it’s time to climb into a cocoon and hibernate for the winter. If you’re near Barrington, RI, though, this is not the case. The Saturday after Thanksgiving there will be a “Trot off Your Turkey” 5K/1.5 mile walk or run. Last year, there were over 1,000 participants!
10 Waldron Avenue, Barrington, RI.
Join in on a tradition in Provincetown, MA this Thanksgiving. On Wednesday, November 27 head down to the lower Cape for the 103rd annual lighting of the Pilgrim Monument. This special ceremony pays homage to the first Pilgrims that landed in America in Provincetown, on November 11, 1620.
High Pole Hill Road, Provincetown, MA. (508) 487-1310.
If you need to fulfill your craving for a parade this time of year, look no farther than the Plymouth Thanksgiving Parade. Plymouth was home to the first Thanksgiving, and they continue celebrating to this day. This is a very unique parade in that it is America’s only historically accurate parade. It chronicles the American experience and way of life from the 17th to the 21st century, making for a spectacular sight.
Route begins at Plymouth Historic Waterfront.
Native American Tales
If you’re looking for something fun to do with the little ones to get them excited about the season, why not take them to Providence Children’s Museum? On the day after Thanksgiving, storyteller Thawn Harris will be at the museum to share his Narragansett culture. He will use stories, song and dance and even invite visitors to join in!
100 South Street, Providence, RI. (401) 273-5437.
If you’re a college student living on campus far from home, there are a few disadvantages when it comes to the long Thanksgiving weekend. Maybe you aren’t able to make the trip home or cannot financially afford to do so. Maybe you are a foreign student who doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving. Whatever it is, Wanderu has got you covered. If you can take a train or get a ride into Boston, you can feast at their “Orphan Thanksgiving”, designed for college students, for FREE! In addition to a home cooked meal, also watch the game and play some pool.
19 Stuart Street, Boston, MA.
Blackstone Polar Express
Once Thanksgiving is over, we are in big holiday territory. What better way to celebrate this than with a ride on the Blackstone Valley Polar Express? Watch your kids’ imaginations soar as a family favorite becomes real life! Each train ride is ninety minutes, and riders will enjoy cookies and hot chocolate! Everyone will get to meet Santa and the conductor. Santa even has a special gift for each child on board.
Woonsocket Railroad Depot, 1 Depot Square, Woonsocket, RI.
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