Stray Cats, The Pretenders and ZZ Top
This was the Stray Cat’s first tour in a decade. No one has really cared about the The Pretenders since the early 80s. ZZ Top has maintained their original members for more than 35 years. What do these three aging bands have in common? Well, besides having songs on Guitar Hero, they make a great bill for a nostalgia tour and people will be willing to pay at least 30 bucks for a ticket.
That being said, I was stoked to see the Stray Cats. After all, the band invented rockabilly and Brian Setzer can play the shit out of a guitar. Unfortunately, their set was incredibly short—a little over a half hour—I suppose that’s what happens when you don’t gain stardom via MTV. Although I thought their set was way to short, they did play a lot of my favorite songs--“Rock This Town,” “Fishnet Stockings” and “Blast Off” were some of the highlights of the set. Age hasn’t worn Setzer’s voice, but none of the Stray Cats seem to be able to pay quite as fast as they could in the early 80s. Although I found myself singing too fast during certain parts of their songs, I wasn’t disappointed by it at all. I was seeing the fucking Stray Cats, a band that defined the rockabilly genre. It just goes to show that if you put a handful of amazing records out, people will pay to see you even as your talent starts to slip with old age.
During The Pretenders and ZZ Top, I hung out on the lawn—so far away from the stage that both bands looked flea-sized. Throughout The Pretenders set, Chrissie Hynde joked with members of the crowd that she’d be down to smoke with them during ZZ Top. It was slightly amusing, especially due to the massive drug problems the Pretenders dealt with in their early years as a band. The majority of the crowd on the lawn seemed slightly bored with the band and spent a great deal of time letting their conversations drown out the music.
As ZZ Top took the stage, the sun was finally starting to set over USANA. Although I was never a huge fan of ZZ Top, their performance pleased many. During their set, the stage was illuminated with flashing lights and fog machines and the concert took on more of the feel of an ampitheater show––slightly cheesy and very impersonal. ZZ Top’s sound has also remained intact over their almost 40-year existence and by the tail end of their set, fans who had paid upward of $100 for their tickets as well as those who had only forked out enough cash for lawn seats, were rocking out. I’m not sure if the show was worth $100 (not including the eight dollar beers that the majority of the crowd seemed to be consuming) but aging rock stars have to pay their mortgages off somehow.