Sharp Dressed Men: Elvis Costello, Billy Gibbons Jam on ZZ Top Classics
Billy Gibbons linked up with Elvis Costello to play a handful of ZZ Top classics during a special charity gig in Nashville Sunday night, March 12.
Gibbons and Costello played a slew of hits, including ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man,” “Jesus Just Left Chicago,” “Thunderbird,” and “La Grange.” Gibbons also jammed on Sam & Dave’s “I Thank You,” Robert Johnson’s “Sweet Home Chicago,” and Costello’s regular encore song, “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding.”
Video of “Jesus Just Left Chicago” (via Ultimate Classic Rock) shows Gibbons, Costello & Co. playing a beefed-up arrangement since there were about twice as many musicians onstage as at your usual ZZ Top concert. The two-guitar arrangement (unusual since Gibbons is the only six-stringer in ZZ Top) allowed him to step out a bit, as did Steve Nieve’s keyboards. “Well, are we having a good time now,” he asked when done.
“La Grange” sounded similarly thick to the point that Gibbons begged, “Have mercy!”
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The concert was a benefit for the Musician Treatment Foundation, which “assists in delivering free and low-cost surgical and nonsurgical care for the shoulder, elbow, and hand injuries of uninsured and underinsured professional musicians.” Costello has been on the organization’s board of directors from its inception, in 2017. Other musicians who performed at the event include Daryl Jones of the Rolling Stones, and guitarist Charlie Sexton, who plays in Bob Dylan’s band.
Costello recently wrapped a special, 10-night engagement in New York that he called “100 Songs and More” during which he played unique set lists solo, with special guests, and with Nieve. At the first night, he paid tribute to his longtime collaborator, the late songwriting legend Burt Bacharach. The concert took place on the day Bacharach’s death was announced. “It’s been a tough day — I can’t deny,” he told the audience. “A really great man left us yesterday. And when somebody reached a great age, people say, ‘Well, it was a good ending.’ Yeah, it’s never time to say goodbye to somebody if you love them. I’m not ashamed to say I did love this man for everything he gave, Mr. Burt Bacharach.”