If you were one of the many confused fans at the Zac Brown Band concert “Down the Rabbit Hole” at Saratoga Performing Arts Center, you weren’t alone.
While the performance had all the familiar components of a Zac Brown Band concert, including dramatic visuals, beautifully blended harmonies, a master violinist who could rock country music without referencing sheet music, and a recurring theme of being present in the present, the concert was noticeably missing some of the band’s best-loved songs.
The first few covers, including “Devil Went Down to Georgia,” brought the fans to their feet, dancing and screaming with enthusiasm. The huge crowd turned out to close the live nation season at SPAC, and their excitement was palpable. The crowd roared in waves and embraced the well thought out visual accompaniments to their song choices. Covering Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” might’ve been the highlight of the covers, with Brown’s velvety voice smoothing over the roughness of the meaning of the song.
The violinist’s talent, simply put, stole the show. Mashing up ZBB songs with well-adored songs like “Isn’t she lovely,” the group highlighted the rapid and technically accurate string instrument.
By the second set, fans were ready for the traditional ZBB songs. But the band really went into the rabbit hole, jamming on the Allman Brother’s song “Whipping Post” way beyond what most fans could sustain focus for.
ZBB gave a mind-blowing performance, exhibiting talent beyond what is expected at most concerts. And fans eventually got their well-loved songs, but not all of the big titles made the cut that night.
They closed out a season of memorable nights with more songs that weren’t their own than those that were and left fans feeling a bit disoriented. No one goes to a concert like ZBB expecting that many covers. And while they were covered with precision, musicianship, and creativity, fans voiced on their way out a sense of missing something that night.
They missed Zac Brown Band’s hits. Those hits are what brings fans in to see them, again and again.