Zac Brown Band brought a diverse mix of traditional mainstream country, bluegrass, gospel and even rock ‘n’ roll to create an unpredictable evening of music for an enthusiastic crowd at the Lakeview Amphitheater on Thursday July 21. The eight-piece group transitioned seamlessly from one music style to another while incorporating a unique array of sounds including a three man horn line, pizzicato violin interludes, Latin percussion and powerful backup vocalists.
The group kicked off their set with “Homegrown” followed by “Knee Deep” and “Whiskey’s Gone” before getting the crowed all revved up with the well-known “S.O.B.” (Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats cover). Brown was engaging and endearing throughout. He paused before playing “Tomorrow Never Comes” to invite the fans to “Forget whatever bull**** happened to you this week, this month or this year or whatever and just get lost in the music.” He took a moment to promote his new line of red wine and to let folks know it was being sold at the venue. The band also appeared to have a blast catapulting merchandise into the crowd using a hand-held cannon and giant slingshots.
The band took a short break midway through their set before coming back to delight fans with their notable covers of the Who’s “Baba O’Riley” and John Mellencamp’s “Jack and Diane.” Both were interesting choices for a country band but they performed them well and the crowd responded by dancing and singing along. They ended their set with fan favorite hit “Chicken Fried” before coming back onstage to perform a two song encore that included “Let’s Go Crazy” (Prince Cover) and “Beautiful Drug.”
Zac Brown Band proved that they are much more than a mainstream country act. The show was well worth long waits in traffic both getting to and leaving the venue. Hopefully, the venue’s powers that be will continue to work to improve the traffic situation before next season.
Set list: Homegrown, Knee Deep, Whiskey’s Gone, S.O.B. (Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats), Goodbye in Her Eyes, As She’s Walking Away, Tomorrow Never Comes, Colder Weather, Sweet Annie, It’s Not Ok, I’ll Be Your Man (Song For A Daughter), Baba O’Riley (The Who), Toes, Loving You Easy, Jack & Diane (John Mellencamp), Keep Me in Mind, Castaway, Chicken Fried
Encore: Let’s Go Crazy (Prince), Beautiful Drug