ZZ Top Show At Missouri State Fair A Miss With Fairgoers?
Was last night's ZZ Top show at the Missouri State Fair a miss with fairgoers?
One thing is for sure, the grandstand wasn't even close to being full. In fact, most everyone with a ticket could find a spot to stretch out and relax during the show if they wanted to.
Last night's ZZ Top concert was THE concert of the 2022 Missouri State Fair for me. I've wanted to see ZZ Top for years, and when I saw guitarist Billy Gibbon's side project a few years ago, it just made me want to see ZZ Top even more than I ever have.
My enthusiasm, combined with the fact that ZZ Top was all over MTV in the 1980s, and they have an extensive catalog of their Texas brand of rock n roll that's been played on the radio for decades, along with Foreigner / Night Ranger's crowded 2019 fair show made me think this could be one well-attended show. Yeah, not even close. Dare I say the Tesla / Fuel show last Friday may have filled the grandstand more than ZZ Top. So what happened?
First, Wednesday happened. Midweek concerts take effort to attend. Especially if you add into it having to work the next morning and the morning after that. Not to mention, unless you live in Sedalia, you've got a little bit of a ride home. So that certainly could be a factor.
Rain? The rain our area received on Tuesday might have dampened the enthusiasm of some fairgoers. It certainly might have dampened enthusiasm for the Casting Crowns show on Tuesday night. Yet, there was a light breeze last night, and I wasn't sitting there all day thinking about the potential for a storm to blow in at the last minute and cause a show cancellation or delay. So I doubt it was that.
It's possible younger fairgoers just aren't that familiar with ZZ Top's music pre-Eliminator. Yaknow, the blues-infused brand of Texas rock 'n roll the band cut their teeth on before the MTV era. I'm talking about "Tush", "My Head's In Mississippi", "LaGrange", "Cheap Sunglasses", "Pearl Necklace", and "I Thank You".
My partner in mischief for the fair and our Friday Happy Hour Show on Awesome 92.3, Mike Pettis, wasn't jazzed about a lot of that stuff, so it's possible the younger crowd wasn't interested in buying a ticket to hear the three or four hits they know, and the older fans, some of them may be aging out of wanting to deal with concerts period. Especially at a State Fair where you're sitting in folding chairs or bleachers.
Finally, the cost. Whether we want to admit it or not, everything's more expensive and the ZZ Top show was one of the most expensive concert tickets for a grandstand show. (Still reasonably priced if you ask me though.) That tier of ticket prices didn't stop folks from coming out to see Sam Hunt last Saturday night, yet it might have impacted the ZZ Top show.
Especially when you combine having to work the next day, the time you can spend hanging out at the fair because of work, and perhaps even seeing other fair shows. If you're the ZZ Top fan, and everyone else is jumping on the Sam Hunt bandwagon or preferring to head to the fair over a weekend, there's a good chance you may have made the decision to go on another date, or see the show your friends were more interested in.
We'll probably never know why a show that I thought would sell out, was lightly attended. It's just one of those things. So what'd I think of the show?
Solid. I thought the band did a nice job playing the hits that their fans wanted to hear and gave a nice performance. I enjoyed Gibbon's guitar playing immensely, although it wasn't as front and center as when I saw him perform with his band Billy Gibbons and the BFGs a few years ago. The sound seemed a little bit muddy to me, especially when the group played their Eliminator hits. The band's encore seemed rather perfunctory, as the crowd seemed somewhat subdued throughout the show, and couldn't really muster the type of rowdiness that would make me want to come back out on stage and play more tunes.
Bottom line, I'm glad I saw the show, and when it's all said and done all of us radio folks had a lot of fun Wednesday night. It'll be interesting to see who shows up to see KC and the Sunshine Band. That might be the non-Country music sleeper show of the fair that people come out to see.