For the last 17 years, Zac Brown Band have be reinventing themselves with nearly every album, keeping their sound and live shows fresh and unique. The bands newest album The Owl, which was released on BMG Rights Management, is no exception to their musical evolution. This time, the band collaborated with DJ Skrillex, Benny Blanco, Jason Boyd, Max Martin, Shawn Mendes, Ryan Tedder and Andrew Watt. And for the track “Finish What We Started”, features singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile.
The record was just released on September 20th and had already taken the thrown on Billboard‘s Top County Albums Chart by October 1st. The first single “Someone I Used to Know”, picked up momentum and shot to number 23 on the airplay- streaming- and sales-fueled Hot Country Songs chart and number 31 on Country Airplay. Tonight in Tampa, the Zac Brown Band will show us all why they’re number 1!
When the curtain comes down, it reveals not on the entire eight man group, but also the elaborate stage setup and LED panels that are served as the back drop. As the crowds cheers echo across the nearly sold out venue, “Homegrown” is the first song of the night from the bands Jekyll & Hyde album. Guitarist Clay Cook took to the runway to to show off a mandolin solo and get the crowd worked up. And what was surprising to see so early in their set, which nobody in their right mind would complain about was the fan favorite “Free/Into the Mystic.”
No country show is every really complete without an exploding cover of the legendary Charlie Daniels Band’s “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”, which to no surprise caused the fans to erupt with excitement. But it was when Zac Brown not only brought out opening act Luke Nelson, but also his entire band, that really stepped up the show. This brought the musician count on stage to a staggering thirteen, which would create a wall of sound that would help deliver the bands soulful hit “Find Yourself”.
After all the high energy of the first half of the set, Zac Brown Band slow it down for a more intimate setting. The band all gather together at the corner of the stage with their acoustics and chairs. First up is a powerful cover of Jason Isbell’s “Cover Me Up”. To bring it more up beat, the band plays their acoustic hit “Toes” giving everyone in attendance a chance to have their singing voices be heard. And to close out our little campfire session is the closing track off of The Owl is the piano and violin driven ballad “Leaving Love Behind”.
As a well deserved intermission concludes, Zac Brown Band come back to the stage and “Jump Right In’, both figuratively and musically. But the highlights from this part of the night was the medley of the somber hit “Cold Weather” and Eagles classic “Take It to the Limit” and a cover of a little known hit by The Marshall Tucker Band (heavy sarcasm implied) “Can’t You See”.
After the thunderous applause starts to die out, the song everyone has waited all night to hear starts to take shape. When the crowd realizes “Chicken Fried” is being served they become as loud if not louder then at any point throughout the show.
Most bands would let a stellar twenty song night speak for itself and call it a night, but Zac Brown Brown Band always have to up the ante. Guitarists Clay Cook and Coy Bowles displayed their talents on the six string by having a guitar dual back and forth, with it rounding off with the White Stripes “Seven Nation Army”. But that was just a taste of the encore. Van Halens “Hot For Teacher” was a big surprise and pulled off to perfection, as was the Def Leppard classic “Pour Sugar On Me”.
The crescendo of not only the encore, but the entire show was the bands take of the Rage Against The Machine anthem “Bulls On Parade”. Jimmy De Martini took control of the mic while he spit and flowed with attitude throughout the song. Another nice touch was they broke into Led Zeppelin’s “Heartbreaker” as a interlude before nailing the famous scratch solo. To say Zac Brown Band is merely a country band would be false. Musically there’s nothing they can’t accomplish and with that, can show how dynamic they are in any range or genre.
After a long 6 months on the road promoting The Owl, the tour concluded in Dallas Saturday night. The next chance you’ll have to see Zak Brown Band will be in Atlanta, Georgia for the Night of Candles at The Coca Cola Roxy at the Battery. This is not your typical show! 100% of every ticket sold goes directly to benefit Zac Brown’s passion project Camp Southern Ground, which really means you’re making a charitable donation and, in return, you get a concert. (And the joy of giving to an organization that serves kids and veterans!)