ZZ Top played its first concert following the death of longtime bassist Dusty Hill.
On Friday (July 30), the legendary Texas blues-rock band performed live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where Elwood Francis, the group’s guitar tech of 20 years, filled in for Hill. During the show, guitarist Billy Gibbons expressed the late bass player’s desire for the band to continue on after his passing.
“We’re gonna have a good time in here tonight. 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,” Gibbons told the crowd.
Later in the concert, Gibbons added, “How about that Elwood? Tearing up that bottom there for Dusty.”
ZZ Top announced in a statement on Wednesday (July 28) that Hill had died at age 72.
“We are saddened by the news today that our Compadre, Dusty Hill, has passed away in his sleep at home in Houston,” the group wrote. “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.’ We will forever be connected to that ‘Blues Shuffle in C.'”
ZZ Top was on tour when it announced July 23 that Hill, who joined the band in 1970, was heading home “to address a hip issue.” Per the group’s Facebook page, Hill had said that “the show must go on,” and so Francis filled in to play slide guitar, bass, and harmonica.
ZZ Top’s U.S. tour is currently scheduled to run through the end of the year, with the final show set for Dec. 12 in Midland, Texas.