ZZ Top played their first concert since the death of bassist Dusty Hill on Friday in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
While guitarist Billy Gibbons didn’t speak at length about his late bandmate, he acknowledged the bassist a few times during the show, as well as Hill’s desire for the band to continue on without him.
“We’re gonna have a good time in here tonight,” Gibbons told the audience following the opener “Got Me Under Pressure.” “Got a new guy up here, as you know. Dusty gave me the directive. My friend, your pal, Elwood Francis is gonna hold it down behind me.”
Later in the show, Gibbons noted (via UCR), “How about that Elwood, tearing up that bottom there for Dusty.” Gibbons also joked that Francis was in the midst of growing a beard to fit his new role.
Francis had served as Hill’s substitute in recent weeks after Hill left the ZZ Top in order to deal with a hip issue. On July 28th, the band announced that Hill died in his sleep at his home in Houston, Texas at the age of 72. No cause of death was been revealed.
ZZ Top were scheduled to perform July 28th, but opted to postpone that gig “to get our wits together,” Gibbons told Variety in an interview after Hill’s death.
“I think everybody was relieved that we had a little bit of time to regroup and think things through. But at the same time, everybody was ready, standing on point. And they said, ‘Come on. You heard Dusty’s directive as he was bowing out to go off the deck. He turned and pointed and he said, ‘Come on. The show must go on.’”
Gibbons continued, “So here we are. [Friday] night, we’ll kind of pick up sticks and carry it on. I may grab his stage hat and throw it over his microphone, and I’ll sing one for the Dust.”