Sep 282010

There are reasons we rarely close the comments on the issues that are discussed on Rock Town Hall. Among them, with our deep archives, we never know when someone will dig back into a once-hot topic and put his or her stamp on it. At times we try to recognize the new, key detail that’s been added to the rock discussion record. Today, we add yet another eyewitness account of ZZ Top‘s Worldwide Texas Tour, the legendary tour involving livestock on stage while the band performed. Because I’d never seen photos of the band performing surrounded by livestock, I called Bullshit On this tour! Thankfully, Townspeople like gregg were there…to call Counter-Bullshit On me! Thanks, gregg!


Snakes on a Stage

  40 Responses to “BREAKING NEWS: Yet Another Townsperson Steps Up to Call Bullshit on My Calling Bullshit on Livestock Claims Regarding ZZ Top’s Worldwide Texas Tour!”

  1. I have an MTV made book from 1986 about ZZ Top and I’m 99% sure there is a pic of the rattlesnake under plexiglass from the Tejas Tour. This book was written in 15 minutes by Kurt Loder (among others) and has many typos and questionable grammar. If I can find the pic then I will post.

  2. My mind has convinced me that I have seen a similar picture. The only Top I won is the double disc hits package (sorry, Hrundi), and I could have sworn that the picture was in there. In our initial discussion on this matter, I went to the booklet and found no evidence. Why does my brain tell me that I have seen this picture? Why is there no such picture out there for the world to behold? Jungle, is you’ve got the proof, lay it out there! (This is almost becoming an obsession.) I remember when I asked the RTH gods to deliver a clip of the living, breathing Chris Bell and it happened. Now, I ask for a picture with ZZ Top on a stage with live animals.


  3. hrrundivbakshi

    I cannot tell a lie. I have been sitting on photographic proof of the menagerie for a few months now, mainly due to laziness, but also out of a perverse desire to see more people who’d actually *seen* the menagerie pile on and make Mod’s life a living hell. I have to say, in all sincerity, that the dude who wrote the semi-lengthy post about his eyewitness account of the show really made me feel all kinds of rock wistful.

  4. Mr. Moderator

    Thanks to HVB for sending me the photo I doubted existed! What can I say?

  5. BRING IT FORTH! It’s time to see the photo. Let’s put this to rest ONCE AND FOR ALL!


  6. I see. I will reast a little easier. Now, where’s this picture I’ve seen of the buzzard. How can I picture this so vivdly?


  7. misterioso

    Ok, so now we’ve seen a picture of what I will take on faith are snakes under plexiglass. Were we not led to believe there were, like, herds of cattle roaming around on the stage?

  8. Mr. Moderator

    Correct, misterioso, we’ve yet to see the herds, but give folks credit for making some progress in calling Bullshit On Me.

  9. But wasn’t one of those witnesses an acid-addled guy who could only attest to having seen what he thought may have been an steer’s horn?

    I’m calling double reverse bullshit on this. This cattle on stage nonsense stands among the greatest frauds ever perpetrated upon the American public.

  10. alexmagic

    Misterioso is right once again. That is the proof? I’ll one up CDM here: I’m calling bullshit on you being called bullshit on you calling bullshit on the Worldwide Texas Tour. I AM INVOKING TRIPLE BULLSHIT.

    If anything, this photo (faux-to?) makes me doubt things even more. What is that? I don’t see any snakes there. That could just as easily be two Radio Flyer Wagon Wheels under a mesh mosquito tent. And if it is real, that’s the vaunted plexiglass snake container? Some rinky-dink trapezoid that doesn’t even reach Billy or Dusty’s waists – and wouldn’t reach the bottoms of their beards today – haphazardly positioned on stage with two sleeping snakes in a corner?

    And we’re just supposed to buy that the rest of the stage, which is conveniently cut off here, is otherwise filled with majestic herds of cattle and Frank Beard? Did Spinal Tap’s Stonehenge guys design this? This would be like ELO’s spaceship not being big enough to even fit Lynne’s afro, or if Prince’s ejaculating guitars could only gett off as far as the second row.

    This settles nothing, and now I’m worried that The Man has gotten to HVB.

  11. hrrundivbakshi

    I admit that plexi snake enclosure is dubious “proof” at best. This snippet from an online bulletin board sounds promising:

    I just saw on VH1 the 40 craziest or whatever concert moments and saw the 1976 ZZ Top World Wide Texas Tour listed with video of the show with animals, is this from a tape of a whole concert?…

  12. hrrundivbakshi

    Another eyewitness account can be found here:

  13. misterioso

    You know what else? If you look really closely at the plexiglass trapezoids, you can see the reflection of Mikey from the Life cereal commercials OD’ing on Poprocks. I am serious, check it out. And I’m pretty sure my cousin’s friend or maybe it was my friend’s cousin was at that show and he got, like, bitten by a snake that had escaped when there was a stampede and something like 800 steer were running around the stage, but ZZ Top never once stopped playing. That must have been awesome.

  14. Hmmm… Yet another “eyewitness” account in a desperate attempt to execute a Quaduple Bullshit Bypass. A tricky move to pull off under the best of circumstances, and here it fails miserably.

    1. Out of all of the hundreds of thousands of people who saw that tour, this is the first source that has claimed to actually have seen cattle and a bison on stage (as opposed to a glimpse of a horn). The odds of only one person being able to document something like that are ridiculous.

    2. No mention if they were real. Everyone seems to be taking for granted that the alleged cattle were live not stuffed.

    3. It only gets a cursory mention. No, “…and I looked up. and Holy Crap, there was figging LIVESTOCK on the stage!” Don’t you think that if you saw that you would be a little more psyched?

    4. Please review a few quotes from the “eyewitness’s” testimony, and consider if you would feel comfortable having this guy’s testimony as your entire argument for anything:
    “We had drunk beer and wine all night and smoked ourselves into a near coma-like condition.”


    “we sat beside I-10 sharing our weed and their whiskey”


    “After taking a few good pulls on the neck of the jug, I think it was Randy who said, ‘Man, that’s some funky tasting wine!’ ‘Oh, that’s not wine, it’s mushroom tea.’ Psilocybin, woops.”

    To sum up: as the kids say on the internet these days, if you don’t have a photo, it didn’t happen.

  15. BigSteve

    Enough with the eye-witness accounts. This tour was a long time ago, but it was not before the invention of cameras. Please. In those days there would probably have been an official tour photographer. Sorry, but the bullshit call stays in force until somebody produces photos showing the cattle.

  16. mockcarr

    I for one welcome our former bovine overlords.

    This hamburger tastes funny, however.

  17. RTH will prove once and for all that there was live cattle sharing a stage with ZZ Top. I can’t wait for this glorious day.



  18. Thanks for the hospitality Mr. Moderator.

    I remember the steer, snake and the buzzard. The PA was the biggest I’d ever seen and the sound was HUGE for only 3 guys. It was awesome. Too bad the whining wannabees missed it. They’re green with envy. Sucks to be them. I don’t need no stinkin’ picture I’ve got the memory.

  19. Gregg, I would kill to see such a thing. Unfortunately, I was only 1 when this tour took place. There’s too many witnesses and stories that document this event to deny that it actually happened. But, like Steve said, there’s bounds to be at least more than one photo from this tour. I find it highly unlikely that with all the information in this world, that the only photo we can find from this giant tour is the one posted here.

    I know that I’ve seen a picture of a buzzard. Why can’t I find it?


  20. Looks like we are not the only ones in pursuit of this information. Unless Mod is the one who asked this question…'s_Worldwide_Texas_Tour_have_livestock_on_stage_and_if_so_why_are_there_no_pictures_of_this


  21. Mr. Moderator

    That was not my question, TB, but it’s probably the result of our ongoing investigations.

    Rock Town Hall…pushing rock analysis to its limits!

  22. Mr. Moderator

    gregg, thanks for standing behind the power of your memory! Note, Townspeople, that gregg does not report first having ingested 2/3 of the DEA’s controlled substance list. From all accounts this Townsman entered the arena with a clear head.

  23. hrrundivbakshi

    Here’s Billy Gibbons’ own recollections of the livestock tour. Sadly, the Rev is a notorious bullshitter.

    Somehow I got it in my head that it would be a good idea to get a huge stage set and “take Texas to the people.” We had a stage in the shape of the state of Texas, and a number of rattlesnakes, vultures and even a couple of buffalo onstage. It was authentic! It was disastrous. At first, everything went well: the rattlers behaved, the birds seemed to stand the noise and the buffalo grazed quietly—until one night one buffalo decided he’d had enough. He rammed two glass cages containing the snakes. Suddenly we had a dozen rattlers crawling around onstage. Our drummer suggested we play “something quiet, to soothe them”—a stupid idea, ’cause most snakes are deaf. We didn’t even attempt it. We just fled and left the roadies to minimize the damage.

  24. hrrundivbakshi


    I thought I’d finally found the holy grail of photographic evidence here:

    … but later in the same slide show, the longhorn steer on stage was revealed to be…

  25. Mr. Moderator

    Yeah, I’ve been through that series of shots. Major letdown, no? For now I’m trusting the memory of my man gregg. He’s right, you guys are a bunch of whiners, like I used to be!

    Honestly, this is fun, and we’re right to be amazed that there’s not a stinking quality shot of one of these shows!

    By the way, when this first came up HVB pointed me in the direction of the man who designed that legendary stage set. I tried to contact him, reaching one of his associates, but sadly he’d passed away. His friend and colleague was super nice and said it was all true and that his old friend would have appreciated this ongoing investigation.

  26. hrrundivbakshi

    Thought it might be worth mentioning that when the Worldwide Texas Tour passed through Cleveland, none other than BOB FUCKING SEGER opened! Now THERE’s an eyewitness who can be trusted!

  27. In 1976 I was 16. I learned from wikipedia that the Jacksonville show that I saw was on June 20. I had just gotten my drivers license and drove myself and some buddies the hour and a half to the show. I was definitely straight as an arrow. It was a big deal to get the van from pop. I hadn’t even smoked pot yet. That came in ’78 at a Stones concert.

    TB does make a good point though, I can’t find a picture anywhere. There’s only one video on youtube that comes up if you search “World Wide Texas Tour” but you can’t see any livestock. It was a huge stage and the animals were on the sides and behind the speakers. I found a video of Dusty hill talking about a Buffalo incident but no pictures.

  28. misterioso

    I’m sure Gregg’s a good guy and all. I’m not saying he’s lying. But I need to hear it from Seger. He’s Like a Rock. Then, perhaps, I’ll believe.

  29. Mr. Moderator

    If gregg AND Seger can back this up, there’s no denying it!

    gregg, seriously, thanks for sticking with this topic and giving us your experience. I’m sure I’m not alone in loving to read about people’s early concert experiences.

  30. Mr. Moderator,

    This site has caused me to realize how many killer experiences I had back in the day. Concerts these days just aren’t the same. People can’t even smoke cigarettes anymore. I remember going into the concert hall and being knocked over by the smell of pot. You didn’t even have to smoke it and you’d get high. People would light a joint, take a couple of hits and pass it down the line. Plenty for everyone.

    One of my most significant experiences only lasted 3 songs. It was at a Led Zeppelin concert in 1977 at the Tangerine bowl in Tampa. We got there early and positioned ourselves on the field pretty close to the stage. There was no opening act. No one announced the band. All of the sudden a laser light projected a green undulating figure eight on the canopy above the stage. It stretched, rotated and transformed into other shapes. It moved faster and got bigger until everyone was watching it. Then they appeared. Page grabbed his guitar and hit the first chord to “The Song Remains the Same” and the shit was on.

    By the time the song was over we were already leaving the field for the stands. It was terrifying. You had about a square foot to stand on but it was moving all around because of a gazillion people pushing and shoving.

    I don’t remember what the second song was but the third one was “Nobody’s Fault But Mine”. By this time, after the sun shining brightly all day, black clouds consumed the sky and the wind started blowing. It was spooky. Plant’s hair was blowing straight out as he sang, “ah a ah a ahh ahh….”. It looked and felt surreal. It began to drizzle by the time they finished the song. People were hollering for “The Rain Song” but it wasn’t forthcoming. Plant said they were going to take a short break while the storm passed. He assured us, “We’re going to make this work”. They left the stage just before the bottom fell out and drenched everyone.

    After the initial burst it was announced that the concert would happen the next night and your ticket stub would get you in. Nobody would leave. It sounded like Robert Plant pleading with the people to exit the stadium in an orderly fashion but he was probably gone by then. By this time the rain had stopped and people weren’t going anywhere despite the constant pleas coming over the PA. At one point a lone cop walked out onto the huge stage, squatted at the edge and poofed a puff of tear gas at the crowd. There were 80,000 people and he looked tiny in comparison. What the hell was he trying to prove? As he was strutting off someone pegged him in the back of the neck with a Jack Daniels bottle. He ran the rest of the way to the back of the stage.

    After a while, as they kept imploring everyone to exit the stadium, we could see from our perch high up in the stands hundreds of cops gathering behind the plywood wall in front of the stage. The crowd couldn’t see them. At this point the wall was about to come down from the people pushing on it. All of the sudden the cops jumped over the wall and into the crowd swinging their billy clubs. I even saw some guy in a wheelchair get nailed. It was brutal. We got out of there and so did everyone else but it was not in “an orderly fashion”.

    The concert didn’t happen the next night. The tickets cost $15 and if you sent in the stub you could get a $10 refund. It was a really cool check, silver with gold embossed lettering labled “The Led Zepplin Refund Account”. I, of course, immediately cashed it but I sure wish I would have saved it. It might just be worth more than $10 today.

    Thanks for giving me an excuse to remember this story and write it down for the first time.

  31. Awesome account gregg.

    I won’t go into all the details here because I’ve told this one before but I saw Aerosmith in ’78 and the show ended after 5 songs because someone threw a bottle in Steven Tyler’s face.

    Also, I had tickets to see Lynyrd Skynyrd but their plane crashed a few weeks before the show. I sent my ticket in for a refund because I needed the $7 at the time. I have a xerox of the ticket somewhere but it’s not quite the same.

  32. cdm,

    At least you had the foresight to make a xerox, I didn’t even do that.

    I saw Skynyrd (before the crash) in Tampa. It was the night after they were to play in Jacksonville. I couldn’t get tix for that one because it was their home town and sold out fast. All I missed in Jacksonville was another riot. Ronnie Van Zant supposedly had a sore throat and had to quit after a few songs. Word was he was really just too drunk. They rocked in Tampa. I think it was outdoors at a race track. The crowd was surprisingly well behaved and enthusiastic. Van Zant told us “Beats the hell out of Jacksonville”.

  33. I guess one of the reasons there doesn’t seem to be any pictures of ZZ’s livestock is because everyone and their brother didn’t have cell phone cameras back then. We were all about living the moment. It never occurred to us to bring a camera.

  34. Mr. Moderator

    Right on, gregg. The instant-YouTubing via cell phones and all that jazz is a buzz killer. I’m sure when I saw Patti Smith in concert last December and she went off a bit on all the people taking videos on their cell phones of a show she was trying to keep “in the moment” it wasn’t the first time an artist has given this lecture. Hopefully we’ll make enough sense of the new technologies and cultural traditions to actually live in the moment again rather than try to capture it.

    Feel free to open this thread up to other rock concert memories, or gregg and others, feel free to write me offlist if you’d like to craft original pieces for The Main Stage.

    Younger concert-goers, don’t be intimidated by the war stories of us older Townspeople. It’s totally possible that you’ve got your own war stories that may even involve Tweeting and stuff like that, which tends to go over my head. Educate us, if you please.

  35. It’s a rainy morning here in NC so I’m sitting around thinking about the good ol’ days. I googled up the Led zeppelin concert and to my surprise I found this.
    Man! It’s all coming back. The comments were cool and it turns out my memories were pretty accurate. This one informs me it was a Lord Calvert bottle and not a Jack Daniels bottle that beaned the cop. Forgive me.

  36. misterioso

    Gregg, in the interest of strict historical accuracy, with the possible exception of Bonham, were there livestock on stage at that Zeppelin show?

  37. Misterioso,

    If we eliminate the beast Bonham, no. Jimmy Page was wearing a white silk jumpsuit with a colorful dragon on one side. I don’t consider dragons to be “livestock”. The closest thing to livestock was the jackass cop.

    BTW, I’m not dissing cops in general. I support them but that day was a disgrace.

  38. Its here the evidence you have been seeking. A TV report on the set up and performance of a Worldwide Texas Tour gig, including filmed evidence of snake, vulture and other animals on stage. No joke,. this is the real deal. Watch from 3.15 onwards

    What dya have to say about this amazing find, Mr Sceptical Mod??? 😉

  39. Amazing. There is actual footage of a bison and a steer on what appears to be a stage. If only they could have panned back a bit so that we could see it was ZZ Tops’s stage…

  40. AMAZING! HISTORIC! After how many years have we just about proven that ZZ Top’s Worldwide Texas Tour was NOT, in fact, a hoax! Thank you so much, The Evidence at Last, for sharing this find. I’m sure cdm is not the only Townsperson who is holding onto a modicum of doubt, but the video evidence captured here matches some of the still-photography claims others have posted here over the years. If nothing else, those behind the hoax are maintaining a high degree of consistency in this story:) Take care, and feel free to chime in on any other subject that catches your fancy!

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