In its years of touring, the Zac Brown Band didn't really make a name for itself in terms of showmanship. The band doesn't need pyrotechnics, dry ice blasts or laser effects to put on a show. In its show Saturday night at Intrust Bank Arena, it stayed true to its roots.
The band put on a show that banked on the group's fast fiddle play, even faster hands of Zac Brown on the guitar and an uncanny connection between his voice and a crowd in the mood to move.
It didn't take long for the band to get completely comfortable and turn "Who Knows," a five-minute song from its second album, into an 11-minute jam session as a stage decorated to feel like a southern country warehouse became filled with musicians playing their worries away.
Renowned dobro player Jerry Douglas made a guest appearance, and pretty soon he found himself in a one-on-one showdown with Casey Dreissen, the concert's opening act, which returned to the stage to join Zac Brown in the middle of its set.
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The country concert turned into something much more as the Zac Brown Band joined in full blast, and a guitar-heavy arrangement rumbled through the arena. It gave off the vibe of a rock concert for a moment, and the crowd seemed to be into every chord.
Zac Brown Band showed its versatility as it mixed elements from all genres in its set, while playing through its famous hits including "Toes," "Chicken Fried" and "As She's Walking Away."
In the second song of its set. "Where The Boat Leaves From," the band transitioned into Bob Marley's "One Love" during the bridge. Zac Brown encouraged the crowd to sing along, rock back and forth and move to the reggae before bringing it back to "Get away to where the boat leaves from. Wash away all of your big problems."
The band further demonstrated that its Southern roots don't just stem from country, as it adequately performed a rendition of "Georgia" in the closing moments of the concert, then appropriately followed with a southern Baptist hymn.
But make no mistake, the band knew why the people filed into Intrust Bank Arena. Zac Brown serenaded the crowd with slow hits "Free" and "Martin" to make sure all of its true country fans went home happy.
Casey Dreissen, the opening act, brought a unique aspect to the concert. The three-piece band with a fiddle lead used mostly instrumental songs, including "The Yellow Jackets and the Humming Birds," setting the stage for both Zac Brown and the second act, the Wood Brothers.