Tres Hombres In Clarkston (Godfatherecords G.R. 707)
Pine Knob, Clarkston, Michigan – April 15, 1980
(68:16) I Thank You, Waitin’ For The Bus, Jesus Just Left Chicago, Precious And Grace, Francine, I’m Bad I’m Nationwide, Manic Mechanic, Heard It On The X, Fool For Your Stockings, Nasty Dogs & Funky Kings, Barefootin’, Cheap Sunglasses, Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers, La Grange/Sloppy Drunk/Bar-B-Q Medley, She Loves My Automobile (Lone Wolf Horn Section), Hi-Fi Mama (Lone Wolf Horn Section), Tush
ZZ Top’s Expect No Quarter Tour in support of Deguello (released November 1979) ran from November 20, 1979 through January 3, 1981. This included the band’s first trip outside of North America taking them to Europe for the first time. This was also the first tour featuring Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill with their famous chest length beards. The previous Worldwide Texas Tour did have shows planned for Europe, Japan, and Australia but were all cancelled due to quarantine issues with livestock which were part of the stage set.
Godfather presents an excellent sounding soundboard from Pine Knob in Michigan. The recording has all instruments clear in the mix with just enough of the audience in the background to give it a nice live atmosphere. Billy Gibbons’ guitar sounds nice and fat and crunchy. Some debate surrounding the date also places their show in Clarkston on August 20, 1980.
ZZ Top’s cover of Sam and Dave’s “I Thank You” opens the show as it does their sixth studio album, Deguello. Surprisingly, this was only the band’s second Top 40 single. The track segues into the classic duo from Tres Hombres, “Waitin’ For The Bus” and “Jesus Just Left Chicago”. “Waitin’ For The Bus” lacks the harmonica solo and instead you get to enjoy the fat rhythm the band is laying down. Billy sings “Then he came on up to Pine Knob, ya’ll know where it is” in “Jesus Just Left Chicago” authenticating the source before launching into one of his best solos of the night. “Precious And Grace” and “Francine” continue with more great badass grooves.
Billy and Dusty are ripping it up during the end of “I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide”. Some electric piano can be heard but it is unclear who is playing it. “Manic Mechanic” delivers some serious funk including some extra low vocals. It’s one of the most bizarre songs from Deguello but also has one of the coolest grooves of the night.
Dusty Hill takes on the lead vocal for “Heard It On The X”. “Blues time in Pine Knob” slows things down during “Fool For Your Stockings” and Gibbons really gets to do what he does best stretching out over some slow blues. They also break down the song where the Reverend Billy G. gives what is known as his crosses sermon. There is an unfortunate cut at 6:51 cleverly edited to not miss a beat.
Following “Nasty Dogs & Funky Kings” the crowd is treated to a cover and the only known live performance of Robert Parker’s 1965 hit “Barefootin”. The track fits so well into the set it might as well be one of their own and to have it captured in this quality is astonishing.
Billy and Dusty play a little call and answer and trade lead vocals in “Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers”. While Dusty seems to have a higher range than Gibbons, their voices compliment each other nicely. The main set finishes with a killer eight minute version of “La Grange” which includes references to a cover of “Sloppy Drunk Blues” and “Bar-B-Q” from their second album, Rio Grande Mud.
For the first two encores, “She Loves My Automobile” and “Hi-Fi Mama”, the band is augmented with the Lone Wolf Horn Section. These are pre-recorded horn parts played by Billy, Dusty, and Frank with video of the three projected on the screen behind them playing saxophones. The final encore, and perhaps what everyone’s been waiting to hear, “Tush”, features Dusty Hill on lead vocal again with some good but slightly out of tune slide work from Gibbons.
Tres Hombres In Clarkston comes packaged in Godfathers usual tri-fold paper case. It is a nice looking set packed with live photos of the band that holds up to the labels high production standards. Bottom line: This is a tremendous sounding release that no ZZ Top fan can be without.
Hmm. And not one of those that can be explained by the different calendar conventions on opposite sides of the Pond (MM/Day/YY cf Day/MM/YYYY).
Meanwhile, six months later…according to theconcertdatabase.com/venues/pine-knob-music-theater the actual date of this show is August 20, 1980. Opening act was The Outlaws
I questioned the date of this show when I read it; Pine Knob ( now DTE Energy Music Theatre ) is an outdoor venue and their schedule usually commences in May and runs through September. An April date outside in Michigan could be potentially dicey. I’ve frozen at many early-season Tigers games in the past! If I can find anything definitive regarding the ZZ Top date I’ll post the results. Again Godfather come to the fore with a title from a seriously under-booted band, further evidence as to why they are the single best label in the business today!