Recently we received the following offlist message in regard to our long-running investigation into the validity of ZZ Top‘s supposed Worldwide Texas Tour. Although not directly confirmed, this third-hand account, verified by our anonymous reporter, may lend some credence to claims of this suspect tour, which no one seems to have captured by a clear photograph or snippet of film.
Dear Mr. Mod,
While hanging out with our daughters at the playground today with my friend Charlie and I started talking about music, as we usually do, in this case large arena shows. I mentioned that I’d never been to rock show in a venue which seated more than 2500 or so people and he said that was the case for him as well, at least in the last thirty or so years. In his youth however, in Des Moines, he used to go to all the big rock shows at Veterans Auditorium, the largest venue in Des Moines. He listed several bands he saw and then, to my surprise, said, “I never saw ZZ Top, but I remember my friend Jay going and telling me that they brought a longhorn steer out on to the stage, and I was pissed because I thought that would have been cool to see.” I did a double take, and then asked him to repeat what he had said, and he confirmed that in the mid-to-late-1970s, a friend of his said he saw ZZ Top perform with a longhorn steer on stage.
Now I’m not sure where the ZZ Top cattle on stage debate was last left, but as a historian, I find this pretty compelling evidence, considering Charlie hasn’t spoken to the person who told him this story in over thirty years.
For what it’s worth,
Well that settles it then! 😉
I think there is a picture in the MTV press produced ZZ Top book from about 1987. The animals are in plexi-glass on the front of the stage. I need to see if my brother still has that book!
Now let’s settle another rock conundrum – did Jim Morrison really whip it out onstage during a 1969 Doors concert in Miami? I once knew someone who claimed to be at the concert and said that Jimbo actually did the naughty deed.
Looking at the tags on this article and seeing the other members of the HVB Holy Trinity there just put a new thought into my head that might take this thing to a whole new level.
This inability to find any actual proof of the steer on stage during the tour, replaced with only hazy half-memories, reminds me of accounts of extraterrestrial encounters. And UFO lore has plenty of stories of spacecraft abducting cattle for unknown purposes.
Now, the Worldwide Texas Tour was in 1975. In 1978, ELO mounted the Out of the Blue tour, which featured the giant ELO UFO as its centerpiece. Is it possible that these tours are connected? That no one has anything more than vague, possibly implanted memories of the longhorns that toured with ZZ Top due to some unknown, possibly sinister Top/ELO conspiracy? And if so, where does Prince fit in?
The longhorns from the cattle are a symbol.
Prince’s guitar is fashioned with a longhorn type of apparatus on an otherwise basic shape.
Prince sings of purple rain, berets tasting of raspberries, and doves crying, and he is classically androgynous as extraterrestrial lore tells us true aliens must be. I believe he was well on his way to planetary domination before the Boss took over again.
How does Prince fit in? I’m not sure but if aliens are involved, Prince’s assless pants would have to make their scientific probings that much easier.
You guys may be onto something huge!
What if I told you that I did some more research and it turns out that the US dates for the Out Of The Blue tour matched up in the exact cities in the exact order as the Worldwide Texas Tour?
I mean, it’s probably not true, but what if I told you this?
Even the mere suggestion that you might tell me this practically confirms the possibility of a cross-Trinity hoax.
Remember that Super Bowl performance by Prince, when he started out in behind a screen, seen only in silhouette:
What if I told you that the cameras cut away just at the moment when his clearly longhorn-suggesting silhouette was joined by the silhouette of a rattler and a buzzard?
You have to wonder if Jimbo had a tiny dick if no one’s ever sure whether they saw it or not.
The rattlesnake was in plexiglass but the steer wasn’t. Neither were the vultures.
Okay Mr. M, as you may recall this topic is how I stumbled across your most excellent site. I saw the WWTT in Jacksonville, FL and can confirm the presence of livestock. Of course that’s not enough, you guys want proof and there doesn’t seem to be any. But I’ve got a lead for you. I found this ZZ Top bio which included a video however the uploader closed the account and it was no longer available. Hmmmmmm. The nugget I did get was the animal caretaker’s name was Ralph Fisher. A search of his name revealed he is still in the business of providing animals for events. There is an email address and a phone number.
Awesome research, gregg! I will see if I can schedule an interview with Mr. Fisher. Thank you.
Here’s the site with the non-video.
As I’m sure I have mentioned in the past, my cousin’s wife’s best friend from high school knew a guy whose best friend’s wife’s cousin was not only at one of those ZZ Top shows but also took tons of photos AND shot some 8mm film. Although I have not myself seen those photos or the film I know a guy whose brother had read an article written by a guy whose brother’s sister-in-law had seen the pictures and the movies and said they were awesome. But the problem was that there was this freak accident and the pictures and movies were destroyed–ironically, in a cattle stampede. I myself, personally know a guy who saw photos of the aftermath of the stampede on a website that, unfortunately, got shut down, which sucks. So, I think this should pretty much lay any doubts to rest.
Mod, I was chatting with one of my brothers in law tonight and he said he saw ZZ Top on their Fandango tour and he personally witnessed the snake, longhorn and the buffalo on stage. He said he was stone cold sober at the time. I’m going to try to get an official statement from him before he goes back to Denver tomorrow. Is there anything in specific that I should ask him aside from obvious questions like “Really?” and “Seriously?”
Wow, this is potentially big stuff! I would be curious to know his answers to the following questions:
1. Did any of the animals try go after each other on stage?
2. Did any of the animals try to go after the band members on stage?
3. Which animal had the best stage presence?
How about: “What kind of camera did you use to take pictures of this amazing spectacle?”
Here’s his take on the incident:
“It was the 1976 Fandango tour, Denver CO, McNichol’s Sports Arena. The tip of the stage stuck out like the southern tip of Texas. On the tip, was a glass prism, or pyramid, with a diamond back rattle snake in it. The snake sat coiled, seemingly frozen in time. In fact, I did not notice it until about the third or fourth song. Then, each time I looked back to it, the snake had changed it’s pose ever so slightly and the tongue would flick out every now and then. Now, there was a vulture of the buzzard variety, perched high above the stage. It sat throughout the show only turning its head from side to side as birds will do, and spreading it’s wings as if on cue during certain guitar solos or opening riffs to specific songs. Now, I realize these animals are not “live stock” per se, but they were very much alive.
Now, these were the days that only the drummer had a long beard and the other two were clean cut and in rhinestone suits ( I know this has little to do with the inquiry of animals on stage but more for a visual effect)
At the onset of the encore, a huge longhorn was lifted up, stage right, on an enormous lift of some sort. The beast appear fairly sedated but was more or less alive.
Lifted stage left, was a wooly buffalo (I do not know why they choose a buffalo, no one really associates Texas with a buffalo). This animal appeared quite bleary yet was most certainly alive.
Just for the record, I was only 16 years old and sober as can be. I had a hard time scoring that day and mid day alcohol was hard to come by ( the show was an afternoon concert).”
He adds that the vulture was tethered but the buffalo and the longhorn were not caged. He did not see any restraints on the livestock but they appeared to be sedated.
He said that the snake had the best stage presence because it was so creepy.
Alas, no photos. But he is willing to undergo a live inquisition during an episode of Saturday Night Shut In.
Subjecting a bird to a high decibel 2 hour rock show with no ability to escape seems cruel.
Follow up questions: Did any of the animals take a dump on stage? Did any of the band members?