Molson Amphitheatre, Toronto - June 14, 1997

JANE STEVENSON -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

It was the ageing boys and their electrical toys last night at the Molson Amphitheatre as ZZ Top and Cheap Trick -- two of the biggest acts of the '70s -- came together to play on the same stage.

 

 And while it wasn't exactly a memorable trip back twenty years, there were some moments that were good for a chuckle, if nothing else.

 

 Headliners ZZ Top, with string-bean guitarist Billy Gibbons and dangerous-looking bass player Dusty Hill emerging from a thatched hut onto the stage, were slow off the top.

 

 Signature songs like Cheap Sunglasses, Legs (played with furry white instruments), Gimme All Your Lovin', Well Dressed Man, La Grange and Tush didn't come until the second half of their hour-and-15 minute show.

 

 And the band barely touched the material off their latest album, Rhythmeen.

 

 Still, there was something oddly appealing about two guys with long beards, sunglasses and hats (Hill wore a baseball cap while Gibbons appeared to be sporting a tea cozy), swaying in unison as they played.

 

 Regardless of the lack of big hits early on, the thin crowd of 5,000 appreciated older songs like Pin Cushion and Party On The Patio. ZZ Top's drummer, Frank Beard, commanded respect, playing behind an amazing looking, leopard-spotted kit.

 

 As for the opening act, Cheap Trick are lucky to still have showy guitarist Rick Nielsen along.

 

 Nielsen, dressed in a lime-green blazer, sunglasses and his trademark black baseball hat, was in fine and familiar form.

 

 He went through more than a dozen guitars -- including a five-neck, checkered instrument and another one in the shape of his own image -- and continuously tossed guitar picks out to the crowd. Nielsen was even wearing a guitar pick at the end of his long, braided goatee.

 

 Cheap Trick's material consisted of all the old favorites including I Want You To Want Me -- which kicked off their hour-long set -- Dream Police, Heaven Tonight and Surrender. Those songs even got a handful of women to the front of the stage.

 

 New material like Anytime, Say Goodbye and Carnival Game sounded fresh, boding well for the band who are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year.

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