Worldwide Texas Tour

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Worldwide Texas Tour
Concert by ZZ Top
ZZTop WWTTPoster.jpg
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
No. of shows 96
ZZ Top concert chronology

The Worldwide Texas Tour was a concert tour by American rock band ZZ Top. Arranged in support of their 1975 album Fandango!, the band visited arenas, stadiums, and auditoriums from 1976 to 1977. To match the newfound success of Fandango!, the tour was envisioned to differ from their past and surpass expectations of the band. Contrary to ZZ Top's modest stage setups from previous tours, the Worldwide Texas Tour was an elaborately staged multimedia event. It utilized audio and visual stimulation by striving to introduce "Texas paraphernalia" to its audience. To avoid their reputation for being insignificant and overly criticized, ZZ Top adopted a more playful and self-deprecating persona on tour. The Worldwide Texas Tour and Fandango! were essential to the group's success in the 1970s.

The tour's concept was inspired by competitive intricate presentations, resemblances of the American Southwest, the extravagant productions of the day, and regional wildlife. The backdrop featured several scrims that showed a three-dimensional panorama, visual effects, and a canyon landscape, along with a stage in the shape of Texas. Native fauna, flora, wagon wheels, corral fences, and longhorn skulls were included into the shows. On stage, Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill wore several costume items they designed, including rhinestone-embellished suits, handcrafted boots, and cowboy hats. In contrast to other ZZ Top tours, each of the Worldwide Texas Tour performances opened with newer songs before older material was played.

Encompassing five legs and 96 shows, the tour began in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on May 29, 1976 and ended in Fort Worth, Texas on December 31, 1977. After two arena and stadium legs, the tour's itinerary was expanded to include auditoriums for the final three legs, which was scheduled after the cancellation of performances in Europe, Australasia, and Japan. Despite a variety of reactions from music critics, the tour was generally well-received. In addition to being one of the highest-grossing US tours of 1976, the Worldwide Texas Tour sold approximately 1.2 million tickets over its five legs. The band's 1976 album Tejas, which elaborated on the tour's artistic theme, was recorded during a break in the tour, and its songs were played in 1977. Critics regard the Worldwide Texas Tour as one of rock's most memorable tours—in 2008, Guitar World′s Alan di Perna called it "one of the most ambitious and bizarre tours in all of rock history".[1]

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.[2] 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."[3]

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.[4] 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".[5] 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.[6]

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.[7] 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.[5] Tickets for two shows at The Summit in Houston sold out in less than twelve hours.[6] 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.[5] At its conclusion, the Worldwide Texas Tour sold over 1.2 million tickets.[8]

Setlist[edit]

Tour dates[edit]

List of concerts, showing date, city, country, venue, tickets sold, amount of available tickets and gross revenue
Date City Country Venue Opening Act(s) Attendance Revenue
Leg 1: arenas and stadiums in the United States
May 29, 1976 Winston-Salem United States Groves Stadium Lynyrd Skynyrd, Point Blank N/A N/A
June 2, 1976 Norfolk Norfolk Scope Wet Willie 8,309 / 12,000
June 3, 1976 Richmond Richmond Coliseum N/A
June 5, 1976 Atlanta Atlanta Fulton Stadium Marshall Tucker Band, Elvin Bishop 45,000 / 65,000 $425,000
June 6, 1976 Knoxville Knoxville Civic Coliseum N/A N/A
June 7, 1976 Louisville Freedom Hall
June 12, 1976 Pittsburgh Three Rivers Stadium Aerosmith, Point Blank 47,705 / 65,000 $425,000
June 20, 1976 Jacksonville Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Coliseum Elvin Bishop N/A N/A
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 The Spectrum Blue Öyster Cult, Ted Nugent 18,209 / 19,500 $104,568
June 28, 1976 Richfield Coliseum at Richfield Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band N/A N/A
June 30, 1976 Charleston Charleston Civic Center Blue Öyster Cult
July 4, 1976 Memphis Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Outlaws 32,000 / 60,000 $320,000
July 9, 1976 Omaha Omaha Civic Auditorium Arena N/A N/A
July 11, 1976 Kansas City Arrowhead Stadium Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Jay Boy Adams
July 14, 1976 St. Louis Kiel Auditorium Pure Prairie League
July 17, 1976 New Orleans Sugar Bowl Stadium The J. Geils Band 51,000 / 60,000 $500,000
July 21, 1976 Duluth Duluth Arena Auditorium N/A N/A
July 23, 1976 Milwaukee MECCA Arena
July 25, 1976 Notre Dame Athletic & Convocation Center
July 26, 1976 Clarkston Pine Knob Music Theatre REO Speedwagon
July 27, 1976
August 1, 1976 Denver McNichols Sports Arena Blue Öyster Cult, The Outlaws 17,102 / 17,102 $136,816
August 4, 1976 Albuquerque Tingley Coliseum Jay Boy Adams N/A N/A
August 7, 1976 Anaheim Anaheim Stadium Blue Öyster Cult, Johnny & Edgar Winter 49,169 / 60,000 $498,040
August 9, 1976 San Diego San Diego Stadium N/A N/A
August 10, 1976 Fresno Selland Arena
August 14, 1976 Daly City Cow Palace Ted Nugent 14,500 / 14,500 $79,844
Leg 2: arenas and stadiums in the United States
September 10, 1976 Waterloo United States McElroy Auditorium The Boys 5,000 / 7,000 $24,900
September 11, 1976 Bloomington Metropolitan Sports Center Pure Prairie League N/A N/A
September 12, 1976 Detroit Cobo Arena
September 17, 1976 Bismarck Bismarck Civic Center REO Speedwagon 4,200 / 8,000
September 18, 1976 Billings Yellowstone METRA 10,086 / 13,000
September 19, 1976 Laramie University of Wyoming Fieldhouse N/A
September 21, 1976 Salt Lake City Salt Palace Roadwork
September 24, 1976 Tucson Tucson Community Center Arena
September 25, 1976 Nashville Tennessee State Fairgrounds Grandstand
(Tennessee State Fair)
The Band, Cate Brothers $13,744
September 30, 1976 Lakeland Lakeland Civic Center Arena Point Blank N/A
October 2, 1976 Hollywood Hollywood Sportatorium
October 9, 1976 Tallahassee Doak Campbell Stadium Wet Willie, Point Blank 11,600 / 40,500 $82,000
October 14, 1976 Dayton University of Dayton Arena Wet Willie N/A N/A
October 16, 1976 Charlotte Charlotte Coliseum Styx 13,500 / 13,500
October 17, 1976 Columbia Carolina Coliseum N/A
October 21, 1976 Portland Veterans Memorial Coliseum Elvin Bishop
October 22, 1976 Spokane Spokane Coliseum 6,506 / 8,500
October 23, 1976 Seattle Seattle Center Coliseum N/A
October 28, 1976 Pocatello ASISU MiniDome 7,368 / 12,000
October 31, 1976 Kansas City Municipal Auditorium Rory Gallagher N/A
November 2, 1976 Oklahoma City Oklahoma State Fair Arena
November 4, 1976 Wichita Levitt Arena The Fools
November 7, 1976 Evansville Roberts Municipal Stadium 8,007 / 12,732 $51,686
November 11, 1976 Landover Capital Centre Styx, Elvin Bishop N/A N/A
November 17, 1976 Passaic Capitol Theatre
November 25, 1976 Houston The Summit Rory Gallagher
November 26, 1976
November 27, 1976 Fort Worth Tarrant County Convention Center Arena
November 28, 1976
Leg 3: arenas, auditoriums and stadiums in the United States
February 10, 1977 Greensboro United States Greensboro Coliseum N/A N/A
February 16, 1977 Madison Dane County Memorial Coliseum
February 17, 1977 Indianapolis Market Square Arena Elvin Bishop
February 19, 1977 Chicago Chicago Stadium Atlanta Rhythm Section
February 22, 1977 Fort Wayne Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
February 23, 1977 Cincinnati Riverfront Coliseum Cate Brothers 11,951 / 17,556 $78,764
February 24, 1977 Detroit Cobo Arena N/A N/A
March 3, 1977 Portland Cumberland County Civic Center The Blend 7,489 / 9,500
March 8, 1977 Binghamton Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena The Dictators N/A
March 16, 1977 Boston Boston Garden Santana
March 17, 1977
March 19, 1977 Jackson Mississippi Coliseum
March 23, 1977 Lake Charles Lake Charles Civic Center Point Blank
March 25, 1977 Springfield Hammons Center Arena
March 26, 1977 Lincoln Pershing Auditorium Styx
April 1, 1977 Savannah Savannah Civic Center
April 2, 1977 Mobile Mobile Municipal Auditorium Point Blank
April 3, 1977 Birmingham Birmingham–Jefferson Civic Center Coliseum
April 8, 1977 Hampton Hampton Coliseum Atlanta Rhythm Section, Nils Lofgren
April 10, 1977 Roanoke Roanoke Civic Center
April 15, 1977 Johnson City Freedom Hall Civic Center Blackfoot 5,688 / 8,500 $39,501
April 21, 1977 Rochester Rochester War Memorial Pure Prairie League N/A N/A
April 23, 1977 Manchester John F. Kennedy Memorial Coliseum The Dictators
April 24, 1977 Waterbury Palace Theater Piper 3,800 / 3,800 $28,500
April 30, 1977 Providence Providence Civic Center N/A N/A
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 Pure Prairie League, Climax Blues Band N/A N/A
June 8, 1977 Tucson Tucson Community Center Arena
June 9, 1977 Tempe Arizona State University Activity Center
June 11, 1977 Inglewood The Forum Elvin Bishop
June 14, 1977 Bakersfield Bakersfield Civic Auditorium
June 15, 1977 San Diego San Diego Sports Arena Elvin Bishop 9,921 / 14,800 $65,768
June 18, 1977 El Paso El Paso County Coliseum N/A N/A
June 21, 1977 Fresno Selland Arena
June 22, 1977 San Bernardino Swing Auditorium Elvin Bishop
June 24, 1977 Daly City Cow Palace 9,167 / 14,000 $62,039
July 1, 1977 Honolulu Neal S. Blaisdell Arena Yellow Rose Band N/A N/A
July 2, 1977
July 9, 1977 Fargo North Dakota State University
July 14, 1977 Lakeland Lakeland Civic Center Arena
Leg 5: arenas and auditoriums in the United States
December 28, 1977 Shreveport United States Hirsch Memorial Coliseum Sea Level N/A N/A
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 Arena Muddy Waters

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ di Perna, Alan (July 2008). "ZZ Top: Cars, Guitars, & Three Unlikely Rock Stars". Guitar World. Vol. 29 no. 7. 
  2. ^ The Alcalde 1995.
  3. ^ Texas Monthly Talks 2008.
  4. ^ Gray 2009.
  5. ^ a b c Billboard 1976.
  6. ^ a b Orb 1976.
  7. ^ Clark 1994.
  8. ^ Kerrang! 1981.

References[edit]