When ZZ Top took the stage on Essen, Germany’s Rockpalast television show in 1980, the band had just marked its 10th anniversary. When the Texas trio embarked on its Almost Now tour in 2008, it was nearing the 40-year mark, and was even longer in the tooth … and beard. If the band shows its age on either occasion—captured on this double- DVD set, it’s for the better. After years playing dive bars, the blues-rock trio had cemented a rhythmic bond that just wouldn’t budge. Bassist and singer Dusty Hill sounds fierce on the Rockpalast performance, plucking each note like he means it.
Some of Dusty’s lines may not look like much on paper, but make no mistake—the man can play. Proof abounds in the Rockpalast performance of “I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide,” where Hill unleashes some monstrous fills, all with a gnarly, super-saturated bass tone. Through the entire performance, the hits are tight, the unison riffs are massive, and the band’s trademark Texas blues shuffle swings so hard it almost hurts. Disc Two, with performances taken from various stops on the Almost Now tour, shows a band that has to reach a little to hit those high notes, but the bond is none the looser, and the dudes deliver. For any bassist looking to bone up on the blues, Double Down is a safe bet.