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ZZ rocks! Longtime fans flock to Keystone Centre gig

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/3/2014 (1203 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Wearing dark black sunglasses, a black leather jacket and blue jeans with an impressive long white beard, Gord McMaster looked like he was ready to rock with ZZ Top last night at the Keystone Centre.

McMaster and his wife Sharon were among the sea of fans lined up prior to last night’s show.

Dusty Hill and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top entertain fans during Wednesday night’s concert in Westman Place at the Keystone Centre.

BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN

Dusty Hill and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top entertain fans during Wednesday night’s concert in Westman Place at the Keystone Centre.

ZZ Top fans pack the ice level during Wednesday night’s concert in Westman Place at the Keystone Centre.

BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN

ZZ Top fans pack the ice level during Wednesday night’s concert in Westman Place at the Keystone Centre.

The pair of Brandonites said they’ve been longtime fans of the band since the 1970s.

"It’s loud but it’s nice loud," Sharon said with a laugh. "I really like their old stuff," admitting they had yet to listen to the American band’s 15th studio album "La Futura," which was released in 2012 and received good reviews.

Instead it was the band’s old school classics that McMaster said he was most looking forward to seeing performed lived Wednesday night.

"They’re just cool," McMaster said, his eyes shielded behind his dark black sunglasses. "They’ve stayed consistent with their theme, the way they play, nothing’s changed.

"They’re a big name band to come to Brandon."

ZZ Top is best known for tracks from the 1970s and ’80s, including "La Grange," "Sharp Dressed Man" and "Legs."

It was their earlier hits that also brought Todd Fugleberg, his wife Lisa as well as their son and his girlfriend out to last night’s show.

"We grew up listening to them," Todd said looking over at his wife, "so it’s kind of like going back to our teenage years."

Lisa added, "We’ve always listened to ZZ Top and it’s just good to have live music in Brandon, it’s great."

Members of the blues-inspired rock band — Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard, ironically the only member without a wealth of head-turning facial hair — stopped in Brandon as part of their seven-city Western Canada tour. Joining the blues rock veterans was Canadian band Flash Lightin’, who opened the 7:30 p.m. show. There was also a pre-show buffet with drink specials in the Keystone’s convention hall.

Tickets ranged in price from $55 to $65, which according to the Fuglebergs was a "reasonable price" to see the famous rock trio.

Keystone Centre general manager Neil Thomson said Wednesday afternoon he was expecting the arena to be about 80 per cent full, meaning 3,600 seats out of the 4,500 available would be filled.

Thomson said overall he was happy with how ticket sales went for the event, adding "We’re always requesting people from the community to come in and support these activities because without their support we can’t bring in acts."

Thomson said they’re always working on bringing in and attracting new events but nothing is lined up for the near future.

ZZ Top will play the MTS Centre in Winnipeg tonight before heading west for the remainder of the tour, which wraps up in Vancouver.

» lenns@brandonsun.com

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