ZZ Top performed as scheduled on Friday night in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, less than 72 hours after the rock band announced the death of the band’s bassist Joseph “Dusty” Hill for more than half a century.
“Dusty gave me instructions,” Billy Gibbons, founder, guitarist and singer of ZZ Top Say On stage during the performance. “My friend, your friend, Elwood Francis (Elwood Francis) will stay low-end,” he told fans.
“How about Elwood tearing off the bottom for Dusty,” Mr. Gibbons said in another segment of the show, which was then shared online.
Shortly after Mr. Gibbons established the group in Houston, Texas in 1969, Mr. Hill joined ZZ Top. Before the death of the bassist, the trio played with drummer Frank Beard for more than 50 years.
When the band announced on Friday, July 23 that Mr. Hill must “solve a hip problem” and Mr. Francis would fill it up, ZZ Top has been touring to commemorate the band’s 50th anniversary.
Five days later, ZZ Top announced on Wednesday that Mr. Hill died in his sleep at his Houston home at the age of 72. The band cancelled the original performance that night, but returned to the stage two days later.
Within hours of ZZ Top’s announcement of Mr. Hill’s death, Mr. Gibbons, 71, said that his long-term music partner had instructed him: “Let the show go on!”
On Wednesday, Mr. Gibbons said in a message to a friend that the message was shared online and proved to be true.
ZZ Top currently plans to continue its 50th anniversary tour, and will hold dozens of performances in the United States and Canada in 2021 and 2022, including a show in Valdosta, Georgia next Saturday.