Written By | Therese Enberg
As I was on my way to photograph Zac Brown Band and their sold out show at Bridgestone Arena, of course I would end up stuck in a traffic jam because of a wreck. Welcome to Nashville, y’all. Though when I finally arrived at Bridgestone Arena I was accommodated by the most incredible event staff, super friendly and professional. It was slightly overwhelming walking through the venue as it almost felt like a maze, but my nerves were on fire and I couldn’t contain my large smile.
I arrived at my incredible seats and the first song that Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors, Nashville locals, played was a song dedicated to his wife. Drew Holcomb has such smooth vocals and the band is really the perfect opener for Zac Brown Band. Their set continued and they sure showed off their incredible musicianship with the song Dragons, the harmonies were smooth.
Their set was kept rather simple, and had a mellow twang to it, they didn’t use the entire stage, and the lights were minimal. Though that let the crowd focus on the music instead rather than the show.
Drew Holcomb’s powerful voice surely showed through when they did the cover of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down”. The gorgeous acoustics at Bridgestone Arena, with the crowd joining in made the performance magical and I had goosebumps.
The second to last song, “Ring The Bells” got crowd going, dancing and belting the lyrics. It really made the crowd hyped up for Zac Brown Band.
Zac Brown and his 7 piece band are from Atlanta, GA surely showed the Nashville crowd what a sold out arena show should look like. Lasers, moving LED light screens, lit up stage stairs, and even a light up outline of the stage which split in two strips outwards in the crowd.
Their energy was incredible, and made sure everyone knew that each individual person was aware how phenomenal chemistry the band had, and that they are all insanely talented musicians.
In the beginning of the set, Zac Brown Band revealed that they are currently working on a new record coming out this summer – it sent the crowd into a frenzy.
During their 29(!) song set, they played multiple covers along their original pieces. Some of the more memorable ones were “Use Somebody” by Kings Of Leon, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by Charlie Daniels Band, “Jeremy” by Pearl Jam and even “Hot for Teacher” by Van Halen. Some rather interesting choices, but they executed the songs to perfection.
The cover that stood out the most was “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by Charlie Daniels Band. It truly showed the undying love that Nashville has for Zac Brown Band, and the phenomenal Jimmy De Martini on the fiddle showed how it was done. The crowd was dancing and singing along. It was incredible to see an older generation let loose just as if they were back to being teenagers.
The drums and percussion are fantastic and made the band sound very filling. In addition to the amazing set they had already had so far they had an incredible surprise for Nashville. Guest musician, Billy Sheehan. He’s considered one of the world’s best bassists and fit right in with the band. He gave Zac Brown Band a whole different blues sounds. The long impromptu session showed off the talent.
Each musician in the band had a way to incorporate their talent. The Guitar solo by Coy Bowles was to die for, he interacted with everyone on stage and the crowd, going out on the strips, putting on a hell of a show.
In conclusion, Zac Brown Band sure did bring out the real country out of Nashville. The beers and bourbon were flowing, and I’ve never seen so many flannels, cowboy and trucker hats in one crowd before. They truly managed to get the atmosphere just right, as I left the venue it felt like the crowd was one big happy family.