Do rock and country mix as well as whiskey and coke? Grab a pair of cheap sunglasses, some boots (for boogying) and see for yourself. ZZ Top and Brooks & Dunn return to the area in what is sure to be an especially rowdy gig. ZZ Top is no stranger to the IE, having performed at the fabled Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino three times dating back to the mid-’70s. Early on, the Texas blues-rock trio had some minor hits, but 1983’s Eliminator album broke their career wide open. A deluxe 25th anniversary reissue, due out August 26, features unreleased live tracks, remixes, videos and rare television appearances.
“They’ve gone to the limit,” says guitarist Billy F. Gibbons, about the remastered edition. He thought that CD clicked with the masses because of the guys’ unique mix of blues-rock and then-popular synthesizers. “It was a time when music instrument manufacturers took a big leap into the new era. All these new-fangled contraptions started showing up and we got curious. We tore into the box, threw the manual away and just started punching.” Stylistically, ZZ Top was on its own island. “It worked for us and a goodly number of fans. We hadn’t changed much musically as far as the composition goes. We were still heavily steeped in the blues tradition—just with a different resonance.”
Recently, the band played “Sharp Dressed Man” on the American Idol finale with David Cook. A new studio release, produced by Rick Rubin, is expected by early 2009. The opening act in Devore is Rodney Atkins—whose platinum 2006 disc If You’re Going Through Hell spawned four No. 1 country singles (including the title track), so arrive early. (George A. Paul)
ZZ Top, Brooks & Dunn and Rodney Atkins at San Manuel Amphitheatre (formerly Hyundai Pavilion), 2575 Glen Helen Parkway, Devore, (909) 880-6500. Sunday, August 3, 7PM. $25.25–$80.75