Zac Brown Band Brings ‘Homegrown’ Music to West Palm Beach
What a year it has been! So much has changed during the pandemic: the way we interact with one another, crazy concert ticket prices, and never again taking the freedom to gather and enjoy live music for granted.
Three-time Grammy Award-winners Zac Brown Band rolled into West Palm Beach’s iTHINK Financial Amphitheater and gathered 20,000 of the band’s closest friends. Although most have never met Zac Brown personally, you wouldn’t know it; it’s the laid-back type of concert that brings people together bridging the gap between mega-country star and his most loyal fans that brought plenty of feel-good moments. Zac Brown doesn’t come across as anything more than a guy who wants every one of his fans to have a good time. On a perfect South Florida Saturday night, all the elements were in place, starting with cold beer, and there was plenty of it, helping to stir up a timely buzz for the sold-out show.
The set list that the band curates nightly is conceived with his fans in mind; after all, most of the band’s music is fun and engaging, that kept fans on their feet, dancing and singing along nearly word-for-word the entire night. The band is steeped in musical traditions ranging from folk and bluegrass to gospel, country, and rock. Zac Brown Band played plenty of original material, but mixed in covers of songs by Fleetwood Mac, The Charlie Daniels Band, Otis Redding, and Elton John, including some that pay homage to the band’s Georgia roots. Each song the band plays combines a medley of instruments that creates a distinctive sound with a Southern rock flare that gives fans attending a nice mix of sing-along tunes for the two-hour-plus non-stop jam session.
Not surprising, the Zac Brown Band is comprised of a group of talented multi-instrumentalists coming from diverse genres of music that includes Zac Brown (lead vocals, guitar), Jimmy De Martini (guitar, piano), John Driskell Hopkins (bass), Coy Bowles (guitar), Clay Cook (guitar), Chris Fryar (drums), Daniel De Los Reyes (percussion), and Matt Mangano (bass). They delivered a lively set of the band’s very best. ZBB kicked things off with “Homegrown” from the band’s fourth studio album Jekyll + Hyde. From there they continued into “Toes,” “Slow Burn,” “Big Love” (Fleetwood Mac), “Goodbye in Her Eyes,” “Keep Me in Mind,” “Same Boat,” “It’s Not OK,” “Sweet Annie,” “Tomorrow Never Comes,” “As She’s Walking Away,” “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” (The Charlie Daniels Band), “Old Love Song,” “Colder Weather,” “Hard to Handle (Otis Redding),” “Knee Deep,” and “Beautiful Drug.”
The continuous bursts of sound that filled the venue could be felt from those lucky enough to be in the pit and front rows through the upper reaches of the lawn where many fans watched the show from the massive video screens. A frequent guest of the band on the current tour is Caroline Jones, who is the only female performing with ZBB. She has become a regular collaborator with the band and adds a new wrinkle to the established group. After taking center stage, she joined Zac in a rapid-fire guitar jam session with the remaining band all jamming full of vitality and enthusiasm. Clearly Brown and Jones are high-quality musicians who work well together; perhaps we may see them in a more regular setting in the future.
After leaving it all on stage, it was clear that the fans wanted more; certainly there was at least one more song they came to hear. It didn’t take long for Zac and the band to succumb to the screams, applause, and whistles that the crowd demanded more. They obliged and returned, but, before restarting the music, Zac Brown declared, “There’s always being the worst guy in the band, but I believe this band behind me is the best one in the business, ladies and gentlemen,” before leading into a series of tunes that individually showcased and put the spotlight on each band member, giving each a chance to sing individually and reveal their own unique vocal abilities. After that they got into Elton John’s 1972 hit “Rocket Man,” followed by the final tune of the night, the band’s most commercially successful song and fan-favorite sing-along tune, “Chicken Fried.”
As fans left the venue the electric buzz slowly dissipated bringing us back to reality where several things came to mind. It was a night of feel-good, sing-out-loud and don’t-care-who’s-listening kind music. It was also a chance to connect with friends and perhaps make some new ones. This concert provided a brief respite from the real world problems we all face and a chance to be together as one voice and forget about all the things that divide us; after all aren’t we all Americans? Until the next time Zac Brown Band.
Tour: The Comeback Tour — remaining dates
Oct 10 – TAMPA, FL – MIDFLORIDA CREDIT UNION AMPHITHEATRE
Oct 15 – RALEIGH, NC – COASTAL CREDIT UNION MUSIC PARK AT WALNUT CREEK
Oct 16 – CHARLOTTE, NC – PNC MUSIC PAVILION
Oct 17 – NASHVILLE, TN – BRIDGESTONE ARENA
Nov 11 – ATLANTA, GA – MERCEDES-BENZ STADIUM (Opening for The Rolling Stones)
Nov 21 – RAPID CITY, SD – SUMMIT ARENA AT THE MONUMENT