Worldwide Texas Tour

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Worldwide Texas Tour: Taking Texas to the People
ZZTop WWTTPoster.jpg
Official tour poster
Concert tour by ZZ Top
Location United States
Associated album Fandango!, Tejas
Start date May 29, 1976 (1976-05-29)
End date December 31, 1977 (1977-12-31)
Legs 5
Shows 96
ZZ Top concert chronology
Fandango! Tour
(1975-1976)
Worldwide Texas Tour
(1976-1977)
Expect No Quarter Tour
(1979-1981)

The Worldwide Texas Tour was a concert tour by American rock band ZZ Top. Launched in support of their 1975 album Fandango!, the tour visited arenas and stadiums from 1976 to 1977. To mirror the newfound success of Fandango!, the tour was meant to differ from their previous expectations of the band. In contrast to ZZ Top's sparse stage setups from previous tours, the Worldwide Texas Tour was an elaborately staged event. It exaggerated the group's hometown culture by utilizing various props and wildlife on stage. To further their reputation as a successful touring act, ZZ Top adopted a more playful and self-deprecating image on tour. The Worldwide Texas Tour and Fandango! were central to the group's success in the 1970s.

The tour's concept was inspired by the outdoor environment and wildlife of Texas. The stage featured several scrims that formed a three-dimensional panorama of the Texas prairies stretching to the Sierra Madre mountains. Live animals, plants, and visual effects were incorporated into the shows. Although ZZ Top was known for their modest live performances in the early 1970s, the group's Worldwide Texas Tour performances were intentionally ironic and energetic; on stage, they wore studded Western suits.

With five legs and 96 shows, the tour began in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on May 29, 1976 and finished in Fort Worth, Texas, on December 31, 1977. After the cancellation of performances in Europe, Japan, Australia, and Mexico, a second route in the US was scheduled to begin in February 1977. Although the tour generated a variety of reactions from music critics, it was generally well-received. Along with broken attendance records and capacity audiences, the Worldwide Texas Tour sold around 1.2 million tickets over its five legs. The band's 1976 album Tejas, which expanded the group's musical boundaries, was recorded during breaks in the tour, and its songs were played in 1977.

Background[edit]

ZZ Top's 1973 album Tres Hombres and the supporting single, "La Grange", brought them to a national level of commercial and critical success in the United States. The band gained a reputation as one of the top rock acts in the country and earned them the nickname "that little ol' band from Texas", an image that was further employed after their September 1, 1974 Labor Day show at Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin. The concert—photographs of which were taken and used for their 1975 Fandango! album—was the last to be held at the stadium until a May 7, 1995 Eagles concert, as the artificial turf was damaged by rowdy fans.[1] In a 2008 Texas Monthly Talks interview, guitarist and vocalist Billy Gibbons recalled the event: "I remember having to sit face-to-face in front of Darrell Royal, trying to explain why his AstroTurf had been carved out in the shape of Texas, which took up the 50-yard line into the 40-yard line, but we had a great time. Santana came along, and Joe Cocker performed. Bad Company was there, as well as Jay Boy Adams and Jimmy Page. It was just such a huge turnout—a great, great event."[2]

Stage design and show production[edit]

The Worldwide Texas Tour stage was designed by Bill Narum, who also designed ZZ Top's album covers and tour posters.[3] In place of the ZZ Top's minimalistic productions of the early 1970s, the tour stage was an elaborate setup and designed to "bring Texas to the people".[4] The set included a 63-by-48 foot (19-by-15 m) stage that was tilted at a four-degree angle, which resembled the shape of Texas and weighed 35 tons (70,000 lbs), costing a reported US$100,000. The stage was constructed in a seven-hour process with the help of 40 crew members. The set's backdrop was an 180-foot (55 m) three-dimensional panorama that used five scrims measuring 36-by-20 feet (11-by-6 m), which were hand-painted and individually lit to show dawn and dusk effects. The presentation also included live animals such as a longhorn steer, black buffalo, two vultures, and two rattlesnakes. Various plants, such as yucca, agave, and cacti, also decorated the stage. The set used 260 speakers and 130 light fixtures, using over 136,000 watts of power. A crew of 50 people traveled in a series of 13 vehicles to transport 75 tons (150,000 lbs) of equipment. Over US$140,000 was spent to insure that the animals were healthy, traveling under the supervision of an animal expert and veterinarian. The entire production and crew were insured for $10 million.[5]

Planning, itinerary, and ticketing[edit]

Rehearsals for the tour began in May 1976 at Astroarena in Houston. The band and crew spent a week in the arena rehearsing the show, constructing and tweaking the stage set. Unlike many of the group's previous tours, which began shortly after or coincident with the release of a new album, the Worldwide Texas Tour started over a year after Fandango! was released, allowing fans the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the new songs. By opening night, the album had already been certified gold in the United States and sold over one million copies in Canada. The first leg of the tour, 30 shows in the US, alternated between stadiums and arenas. The band had planned overseas concerts in Europe, Japan, Australia, and Mexico, but were cancelled due to quarantine restrictions for buffalo.[6] By the time the third US leg began, Tejas had sold over half-a-million copies in the US. The leg, which began in February 1977, was the band's first full arena leg of the tour. Four days of heavy rain and hailstorms preceded the opening show at Groves Stadium, which decreased ticket sales to 20,000.[4] Tickets for two shows at The Summit in Houston sold out in less than twelve hours.[5] Ticket prices for outdoor venues were US$8.50 in advance and $10 on the day of the show, while indoor venues were $6 in advance and $7 at the door.[4] At its conclusion, the Worldwide Texas Tour sold over 1.2 million tickets.[7]

Setlist[edit]

Tour dates[edit]

Date City Country Venue Opening act(s)
Leg 1: arenas, auditoriums and stadiums in the United States
May 29, 1976 Winston-Salem United States Groves Stadium Lynyrd Skynyrd
Elvin Bishop
Point Blank
June 2, 1976 Norfolk Norfolk Scope Wet Willie
June 3, 1976 Richmond Richmond Coliseum
June 5, 1976 Atlanta Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium The Marshall Tucker Band
Elvin Bishop
Point Blank
June 6, 1976 Knoxville Knoxville Civic Coliseum
June 7, 1976 Louisville Freedom Hall
June 12, 1976 Pittsburgh Three Rivers Stadium Aerosmith
Point Blank
June 20, 1976 Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Coliseum
June 23, 1976 Niagara Falls Niagara Falls Convention Center Blue Öyster Cult
Starz
June 24, 1976 Binghamton Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena
June 25, 1976 South Yarmouth Cape Cod Coliseum Blue Öyster Cult
Starz
June 26, 1976 Philadelphia Spectrum Blue Öyster Cult
Ted Nugent
June 28, 1976 Richfield Coliseum at Richfield Bob Seger
Jay Boy Adams
June 30, 1976 Charleston Charleston Civic Center Blue Öyster Cult
July 1, 1976 Columbia Carolina Coliseum
July 4, 1976 Memphis Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium Lynyrd Skynyrd
Blue Öyster Cult
Outlaws
July 7, 1976 St. Louis Kiel Auditorium
July 9, 1976 Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben
July 11, 1976 Kansas City Arrowhead Stadium Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Jay Boy Adams
July 17, 1976 New Orleans Tulane Stadium The J. Geils Band
July 21, 1976 Duluth Duluth Arena Auditorium
July 23, 1976 Milwaukee MECCA Arena
July 25, 1976 Chicago Soldier Field
July 26, 1976 Clarkston Pine Knob Music Theatre REO Speedwagon
August 1, 1976 Denver McNichols Sports Arena Outlaws
Tommy Bolin
Rory Gallagher
August 4, 1976 Albuquerque Tingley Coliseum
August 7, 1976 Anaheim Anaheim Stadium Blue Öyster Cult
Johnny & Edgar Winter
Point Blank
August 9, 1976 San Diego San Diego Stadium Blue Öyster Cult
Johnny & Edgar Winter
August 10, 1976 Fresno Selland Arena
August 14, 1976 Daly City Cow Palace Ted Nugent
Leg 2: arenas, auditoriums and stadiums in the United States
September 9, 1976 Landover United States Capital Centre
September 10, 1976 New York City Madison Square Garden
September 12, 1976 Detroit Cobo Arena
September 17, 1976 Bismarck Bismarck Civic Center REO Speedwagon
September 18, 1976 Billings METRA
September 19, 1976 Laramie War Memorial Fieldhouse
September 21, 1976 Salt Lake City Salt Palace Roadwork
September 24, 1976 Tucson Tucson Community Center
September 25, 1976 Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway The Band
Cate Brothers
Jay Boy Adams
September 30, 1976 Lakeland Lakeland Civic Center Point Blank
October 2, 1976 Pembroke Pines Hollywood Sportatorium
October 8, 1976 Tallahassee Doak Campbell Stadium
October 14, 1976 Dayton University of Dayton Arena
October 16, 1976 Charlotte Bojangles' Coliseum Styx
October 17, 1976 Columbia Carolina Coliseum
October 21, 1976 Portland Veterans Memorial Coliseum
October 22, 1976 Spokane Spokane Coliseum
October 23, 1976 Seattle Seattle Center Coliseum Elvin Bishop
October 28, 1976 Pocatello ASISU MiniDome
October 31, 1976 Kansas City Municipal Auditorium Rory Gallagher
November 2, 1976 Oklahoma City Oklahoma State Fair Arena
November 4, 1976 Wichita Levitt Arena The Fools
November 7, 1976 Evansville Roberts Municipal Stadium
November 11, 1976 Landover Capital Centre Styx
Elvin Bishop
November 17, 1976 Passaic Capitol Theatre
November 19, 1976 Syracuse Onondaga County War Memorial
November 25, 1976 Houston The Summit Rory Gallagher
Jay Boy Adams
November 26, 1976
November 28, 1976 Fort Worth Tarrant County Convention Center
Leg 3: arenas, auditoriums and stadiums in the United States
February 10, 1977 Greensboro United States Greensboro Coliseum
February 16, 1977 Madison Dane County Coliseum
February 19, 1977 Chicago Chicago Stadium Atlanta Rhythm Section
Jay Boy Adams
February 22, 1977 Fort Wayne Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
February 23, 1977 Cincinnati Riverfront Coliseum Cate Brothers
February 24, 1977 Detroit Cobo Arena
March 3, 1977 Portland Cumberland County Civic Center The Blend
Jay Boy Adams
March 8, 1977 Binghamton Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena
March 16, 1977 Boston Boston Garden Santana
March 17, 1977
March 19, 1977 Jackson Mississippi Coliseum
March 23, 1977 Jackson Sudduth Coliseum Point Blank
April 1, 1977 Savannah Savannah Civic Center
April 3, 1977 Birmingham Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center Point Blank
April 15, 1977 Johnson City Freedom Hall Civic Center Blackfoot
April 21, 1977 Rochester Rochester Community War Memorial
April 23, 1977 Manchester John F. Kennedy Memorial Coliseum
April 24, 1977 Waterbury Palace Theater Piper
April 30, 1977 Providence Providence Civic Center
May 6, 1977 Hays Gross Memorial Coliseum
May 7, 1977 Lawrence Allen Fieldhouse Foreigner
Leg 4: arenas and auditoriums in the United States
June 7, 1977 Albuquerque United States Tingley Coliseum Climax Blues Band
Pure Prairie League
June 8, 1977 Tucson Tucson Community Center
June 9, 1977 Tempe ASU Activity Center
June 11, 1977 Inglewood The Forum Elvin Bishop
Jay Boy Adams
June 15, 1977 San Diego San Diego Sports Arena
June 18, 1977 El Paso El Paso County Coliseum
June 21, 1977 Fresno Selland Arena
June 24, 1977 Daly City Cow Palace Elvin Bishop
Jay Boy Adams
July 1, 1977 Honolulu Neal S. Blaisdell Arena Yellow Rose Band
July 2, 1977
July 8, 1977 Shreveport Hirsch Memorial Coliseum
July 9, 1977 Fargo North Dakota State University
Leg 5: arenas and auditoriums in the United States
December 28, 1977 Shreveport United States Hirsch Memorial Coliseum
December 29, 1977 Abilene Taylor County Expo Center Muddy Waters
Jay Boy Adams
December 30, 1977 San Antonio San Antonio Convention Center Muddy Waters
The Fools
December 31, 1977 Fort Worth Tarrant County Convention Center

Notes[edit]

References[edit]