by Pete Griesbach
August 21st, 2015
On a perfect summer night, at a ball park in Queens, Zac Brown declared to the thousands in attendance; “Oh, It’s On!”
Indeed it was.
As part of its Jekyll & Hyde Tour, The Zac Brown Band kicked off a two night residency at CitiField in fine fashion. Opening with “Sweet Annie”, the band instantly showcased their incredibly strong vocal styling. The smooth and effortless harmonies filled the ball park to the delight of the crowd. The powerful opener led to a first set laden with fan favorites such as “Knee Deep”, “As She’s Walking Away” and “Toes”. Straying from their own catalog, the band electrified the audience early with a rockin’ version of the Led Zeppelin classic “Kashmir”, and a ripping version of “Devil Went Down To Georgia”. The Charlie Daniels burner showed the bands extraordinary musicianship. Particularly the guitar playing of Zac Brown and the fast fiddling of Jimmy DeMartini; who were exceptional.
A rousing rendition of “Piano Man” by New York’s own Billy Joel was the highlight of the first set and possibly the evening. The packed house enthusiastically sang along and belted out the iconic chorus, producing one of those elusive “goose bump” moments that you tend to remember forever.
The band returned from a brief intermission with “Beautiful Drug”, a groovy and melodic number off the band’s latest studio effort. The song set the tone for a set that would feature more of the bands improvisational skills. The Zac Brown Band has a way of jamming without coming off like a proverbial “jam band”. The whole band plays off of one another with purpose and direction. When they catch a groove; it goes somewhere. As opposed to the endless noodling and drifting that plagues other acts, The Zac Brown Band always brought it home.
After performing more of their hits such as “Keep Me In Mind”, “Loving You Is Easy” and “Who Knows”, the band paid homage to the man who brought them to CitiField as an opening act back in 2010. Dave Matthews. A stellar version of the DMB hit “Stay” had the entire crowd singing and dancing like no one was watching. Closing out the evening, the boys produced the smash hit sing along “Chicken Fried”, the beautifully melodic “Colder Weather” and the steady and driving “Homegrown”.
The Zac Brown Band finds itself in rarified air. They have an ability to produce radio and fan friendly hits that cross music genres. All the while, they maintain their integrity with their fine and precise musicianship. Concerts like the one tonight, at the beautiful ball park in Queens, will keep their adoring and enthusiastic fans coming back for more time and time again.
Catch Zac Brown Band on their Jekyll + Hyde tour, dates listed here.
Complete set list:
(Led Zeppelin cover) (Vocals by Clay Cook / snippet)
(The Charlie Daniels Band cover)
(Jason Isbell cover)
(Billy Joel cover)
(With “Empire State of Mind”… more )
(Dave Matthews Band cover)