Nov 22, 2003: ZZ Top Plays Houston Summit Final Concert

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zz_top_01“ZZ walks out and Jesus walks in,” declared Billy Gibbons, ZZ Top guitarist, singer and songwriter when they played the final show at the Houston Summit, the longtime concert venue (and, yes, sports arena). It was being sold to prosperity gospel preacher Joel Osteen to become his high-tech Lakewood (truly mega-) Church.

Who better to send off the hall that had been the city’s main rock concert venue for 28 years, opening in 1975? After all, “the little ol’ band from Texas” are Gods in the Lone Star State, and nowhere more so than their hometown of Houston. Plus, they had played The Summit 23 times over the years, some of them multi-night stands.

They like to say they helped inaugurate the venue. The first show in the arena was by The Who, opening the American leg of their 1975 tour, on November 20. 1975. A week later ZZ Top played two sold-out concerts at The Summit, which from 1998 to 2003 was named the Compaq Center after the building’s naming rights were sold to the computer company. (Everyone in Houston and on the concert circuit still called it The Summit.)

A very long list of classic rockers played the arena over the years, many more than once. It was the site of audio and video recordings later released commercially by The Who, Kiss, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Journey, Parliament-Funkadelic and Little River Band.

But The Summit and ZZ Top had a special relationship. They rehearsed for some of their tours at the hall. Bassist Dusty Hill lived in a house nearby and held season tickets for the hall’s primary occupants, the NBA’s Houston Rockets. His girlfriend (later wife) had a condo across the street and Hill would literally walk over when the band played there.

It was their hometown hall. “The home shows are the fun shows,” Gibbons says. “You get to show off in front of your buddies, new girlfriends, old girlfriends, girlfriends you wish you had.”

Watch ZZ Top play in Houston during Super Bowl weekend 2017

Related: Dusty Hill died in 2021

ZZ Top have concerts scheduled well into 2024. Tickets are available here and here.

Best Classic Bands Staff

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