Written by Jim Bille
May 16, 2009 at 12:00 PM
ImageThe only sure bet at the 134th running of the Preakness in Baltimore last Saturday was the show put on by Houston homeboys ZZ TOP.

On the third leg of my recent Northeast U.S. trip I found myself in Baltimore during Preakness weekend and figured why not go and check out the infamous Preakness infield fest and watch the world’s best ponies and the world’s best party band at the same time.

Historically, the infield-fest at the Preakness has always been the major drunk-fest of the East coast but after too many high jinks and shenanigans by local hooligans, the city of Baltimore decided to tone it down by not allowing coolers onto the infield this year. Instead they set up beer tents. The result was a much more subdued crowd since most didn’t want to pony up (pun intended) the $3.50 for a Budweiser draft. So I didn’t get to witness much of the legendary drunken debauchery like the famous running of the urinals, that can viewed at this link, Urinal Sprints , or public display of nudity….. OK, maybe once with the obligatory topless babe showing it all to Billy Gibbons, but it was still a good time.

The concert started off around noon with local Baltimore favorites The Charm City Devils. These guys’s really kicked it with some solid in your face blue collar rock that got the crowd warmed up quick. They have a new record being released soon and will be touring with Motley Crue’s Crüe Fest 2 with Mötley Crüe, Godsmack, Theory of a Deadman and Drowning Pool. That show will hit the Woodlands in August.

ImageThe second band to of the day was Buckcherry from L.A. These guys’s have been around since 1995 or so and are definitely setting the new standard for modern hard rock. After numerous releases they hit a grand slam with their 2006 platinum and Grammy nominated release ‘15’. This album included the monster hits ‘Crazy Bitch’ and ‘Sorry’. Buckcherry has been to H-town on a few occasions in recent years and are well worth checking out the next time around but you might consider wearing earplugs.

Around 1 pm, arriving under a police escort that included limos, motorcycle cops, sirens and flashers, ZZT’s procession snaked its way through the crowd.

Unannounced they took the stage and got it going with ‘Got Me Under Pressure’. Playing matching gold fleck guitars along with a deadly looking skull emblazed drum kit, Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard began their lesson in good old Texas Rock and Roll.

This is one band that can comfortably rest on their laurels without criticism considering their worldwide fan base and catalogue of hits produced over the years especially during the early MTV days. Their show featured what you might expect to hear. Songs like ‘Waitin’ for the Bus’, ‘Jesus Just Left Chicago’, ‘Cheep Sunglasses’, ‘La Grange’ and ‘Sharp Dressed Man’ were featured throughout the 45 minute or so show.

Gibbon’s remarked that they had to make it to Baltimore from Los Angeles that morning so they decided to drive. According to Billy G, they each made their own way driving individual Smart Cars. I know all three are hot-rod fans and I’m pretty sure he stretched the truth on that one.

The boys pulled all of the tricks out of the bag including the legendary fuzzy guitars and the synchronized ZZ dance steps. It was all there for the half drunken crowd’s delight.

I have to say that I was personally impressed with the feeling of Houston brotherhood seeing that ‘Lil Ole Band from Texas’ playing at The Preakness in Baltimore.

The boy’s did our city well on Saturday.