ZZ TOP

NEWCASTLE     TELEWEST ARENA

JULY 28 2003

DUSTY HILL

BILLY GIBBONS

FRANK BEARD

Arrived, of course, way too early!!

Surmising, as I did, that since the band hadn't been in Newcastle since 1986, a few enthusiasts might turn up. Got my ticket at 3.30 from the box office and was told doors would open at 6.30. So I wasted an hour before returning to the venue to find...nobody there? I went round the back at 5.30 to check that the band had arrived and was reassured to find a plethora of tour transport in the compound.People started to mill around the front from 5.45 and by the time the doors opened there must have been perhaps 150 or so lined along the door ( Alice ... it was not!! )When the doors opened I rushed to the stage area, expecting a small stampede from the assembled throng but was aware that there was no competition!People went to the bar.... people went for a pee ... people went for a t-shirt....Nobody .... went to the barrier!!! Alone I stood  ... for a full 15 minutes after the doors opened!!Slowly ... people dribbled into the standing area. I was astonished as I expected a full and enthusiastic crowd .. but it didn't happen.Local, very young outfit, The Vault, played a short and very ordinary set which never earned the monicker 'Special  Guest Stars', nor justified the 31.40 I had paid to be there!!But then we got 'the li'l ol' band from Texas'No set lists taped to the floor for the Top, tho. Competent and entertaining ( specially when 2 cardboard guitars got flung onstage ) Gibbons and Hill seemed to enjoy going through it all again.Frank Beard however, often looked bored and robotic, on a fairly bare stage where all the amps were hidden behind curtains.Sound and lighting were excellent.Audience were a staid bunch ... not much movement in the 2500 present. Heads nodded and applause was rapturous between songs .. but atmosphere was zilch. Nobody broke sweat anywhere in the hall.Good show ... not a GREAT show ... but I am glad I saw them.

Doubt they will be back anytime soon ...

Y'all..