Something I learned my first time seeing Zac Brown Band, almost ten years ago, is to expect the unexpected. With their roots firmly planted in country music, they have always kept fans on their toes, dabbling in genres from grunge to jazz and southern rock. As part of their ‘Welcome Home’ tour, Zac Brown Band, as well as their supporting acts, delivered exceptional performances, laden with the unexpected.
The show at Daily’s Place started right on time, as first opening act Caroline Jones took the stage. On tour to promote her newly released EP “Bare Feet,” Caroline’s melodious voice and uplifting energy was the perfect warmup for this sold out show. My favorite performance was “Tough Guys,” which had a more energized, honky-tonk feel.
For many, the evening’s most surprising treat was songwriter Darrell Scott’s performance, as was evident from the crowd response. He took the stage alone, just his vocals and an acoustic guitar. After several songs, though, including self-written “No Use Living for Today,” Zac Brown’s fiddle player, Jimmy De Martini and bassist Matt Mangano joined him. As each subsequent song was introduced, more members of the Zac Brown Band trickled onstage. By the end, the entire band was supporting him, treating us to crowd favorite, The Band’s “Up On Cripple Creek.”
Just moments after Scott and the band left the stage, the ZBB scrim dropped and the crowd jumped to their feet. They started with “Keep Me in Mind” and, for the next two hours, took us through a multitude of their fan favorites. Aside from the music, what I appreciated the most was that Zac took the time to thank and touch the hands of everyone within his reach. After much success and traveling, it’s easy for musicians to forget who it is that helps build that success – the fans. It’s refreshing to see that Zac Brown hasn’t lost sight of this fact.
Throughout the evening, Darrell Scott joined ZBB onstage, treating us to stellar guitar licks, as well as lead and harmony vocals. For me, the highlight of the evening was when Scott joined the band for a stellar performance of The Allman Brothers’ “Whipping Post.” Brown band’s multi-instrumentalist Clay Cook delivered a vocal performance that ended with a standing ovation from the crowd. I believe the band and crowd alike needed a set break after one of the best “Whipping Post” performance I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing.
As I said earlier, with Zac Brown Band, expect the unexpected. They incorporated a number of cover songs into their show, including Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody” and The Eagles’ “Take it to the Limit,” often blending ZBB originals with the covers. Fans remained on their feet for the duration of the show, singing along as they ran through fan-favorites such as “Colorado Man,” “Toes,” “Let it Go,” and “Family Table.”
It can’t be stated enough how talented and versatile the entire band is. Their sound blends genres like rock, country, bluegrass, soul, and funk and their harmonizing vocals are so well-blended and seemingly effortless. You can also see the joy, energy, and excitement between the members of the band, especially when they’re flashed on the screens behind them onstage. They are continually at the top of my list of performers to see live. This, coupled with the addition of Darrell Scott throughout the evening, made it a night I won’t soon forget.