The ZZ Top Show Billy Gibbons Played Encore To A Single Person
The dream of playing with a band might come true by finding like-minded people also interested in music. Then, you might book a few studio sessions to rehearse, form a plan, and decide what to play together. If all goes well and you’re determined to achieve more than your usual garage band and rock the stage in numerous venues, you might need to find a proper manager.
Of course, an artist’s troubles don’t just end there. Let’s assume you managed to impress a manager and shake hands with a venue to take the stage and perform. If you have any original material, it will be unknown to the audience, so you might prefer to play covers of popular tracks in your first few gigs. And now that we have mentioned the audience… what about the audience? How do you gather and convince so many people to stand there and listen to your music?
As for ZZ Top, they had to convince their listeners to stay and give them a chance in some of their first performances. One night, the band had managed to book a gig in a venue, but they realized there was a problem when the show started. There was no one there but one guy. Still, the band didn’t give in and started to give him the show of a lifetime.
The band was eager to play one of their first gigs in Alvin, a small Texas town. So, while they were behind the stage, waiting to seize this opportunity, they wondered how many people would be there. However, they couldn’t see how crowded it was since the scene had curtains. Still, they were ready to play and prove themselves as a young band.
When the curtains opened, the question was quickly answered as only one person was in the venue, looking quite uncomfortable that he was the only one. In 2019’s documentary, ‘ZZ Top: That Little Ol’ Band From Texas,’ Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill recalled the show and disclosed their feelings when they saw only one guy standing there.
“[We] came down to this place in Alvin, Texas,” recalled Dusty and mentioned their curiosity about who they would be performing for that night. “[I] was expecting whatever, hoping for a sell-out, be happy for half full. This place had a stage, and it had curtains. And we’re behind the curtains.”
Billy continued, “And when the curtains opened, there was one guy, and he’s looking around like, ‘I’m in the wrong place.’ And he has turned around and started to leave. And we’re on the microphone, and we go, ‘Wow, wait a minute. Stick around. We’re going to play the whole set for you.’ He didn’t know what to do.”
Gibbons then mentioned that they appreciated listening to their set. The singer remarked, “We took a break and went out and kind of motioned to the guy, and we bought him a coke.” Dusty continued, “Yeah, we bought him a coke. ’Cause we were thankful he stuck around; then we played an encore. I mean, an encore is supposed to when they demand to have you back. We thought, ‘Well, the kid deserves more.’”
The singer said the guy would still come to their shows but refused to tell them his name. Billy Gibbons said, “That guy still comes around to this day, and he won’t tell us his name. He just says, ‘Remember me? I’m the guy.’ I said, ‘Of course, we remember you.’”
The early days of ZZ Top were challenging as the band struggled to find an audience, but even when there was only one person in the venue listening to their show, the band didn’t give in and played an entire set and encore for the young fan. This showed the band’s respect for themselves as musicians and their audience.