ZZ Top Performs for First Time Since Death of Legendary Bassist Dusty Hill

by Matthew Wilson

As the old adage goes, the show must go on. ZZ Top was back on stage and performing again but without one of its founding members present. The death of legendary bassist Dusty Hill loomed like a specter over their recent concert. But they say that music has a powerful quality to both heal and also to grieve.

So with heavy hearts, ZZ Top took to Tuscaloosa, Alabama for a planned performance. ZZ Top performed with Elwood Francis for a concert. ZZ Top founder Billy Gibbons discussed Elwood Francis replacing Hill for the concert. He said that Hill approved of his successor before he passed away.

“We’re gonna have a good time in here tonight,” Billy Gibbons told the audience, according to UltimateClassicRock.com. “Got a new guy up here, as you know. Dusty gave me the directive. My friend, your pal, Elwood Francis is gonna hold it down behind me.”

During the concert, Gibbons cheered on Elwood to continue to perform in tribute to Dusty Hill and his endearing legacy as a musician. “How about that Elwood? Tearing up that bottom there for Dusty,” Gibbons said.

ZZ Top Performs Again

Previously, Gibbons explained the choice to continue to perform in light of the tragedy. Dusty Hill stepped away from ZZ Top recently due to health problems. He was having trouble with his hip. The band had hoped that he would return to the fold. But sadly, that’s no longer the case. The Alabama concert is ZZ Top’s first performance since Hill’s passing.

“Yes. We’re making tracks down to southern Alabama,” Gibbons said. “We did elect to postpone last night’s performance out of just respect and trying to get our wits together. But at the same time, everybody was ready, standing on point. And they said, ‘Come on. You heard Dusty’s directive as he was bowing out to go off the deck. He turned and pointed and he said, ‘Come on. The show must go on.’”

According to Gibbons, ZZ Top will continue to perform due to Hill’s wishes. He said no one can replace Hill and his contributions across decades. But ZZ Top will continue to honor his legacy by performing for fans everywhere. The musician passed away in his sleep at the age of 72.

“We are saddened by the news today that our Compadre, Dusty Hill, has passed away in his sleep at home in Houston, TX,” the band said in a statement. “We, along with legions of ZZ Top fans around the world, will miss your steadfast presence, your good nature and enduring commitment to providing that monumental bottom to the ‘Top.'”

The band continued, saying Hill will be missed.

“We will forever be connected to that ‘Blues Shuffle in C,'” the statement continued. “You will be missed greatly, amigo.”