Review: Zac Brown Band Rely on Hits Across Decades for WE Fest 2017 Show
Zac Brown Band do not discriminate. Rock, classic rock, Southern rock and heavy metal all found their way into the group's dynamic WE Fest set on Friday night (Aug. 4). Their own catalog was almost overshadowed. Almost.
"Keep Me in Mind" started an extended set list, but a cover of Charlie Daniels Band's "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" quickly followed. This is a staple of the group's live show. In fact, it's hard to call any of the multiple covers unique to Friday night, but each was individually unique. Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody" was followed by Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely," and just a few songs later it was Metallica's "Enter Sandman."
Could any other band get away with this? Zac Brown Band's musicianship keeps the show on the rails. If Clay Cook, John Driskell Hopkins and company were merely adequate musicians or if Brown himself insisted on fronting every song they would seem like insincere pacifiers. Instead, one of the show's highlights was Cook singing the Allman Brothers Band's "Whipping Post" as first Brown and then Coy Boyles ripped off epic solos. Who is going to be upset about this? Who in their right mind would skip it for a beer or bathroom break in hopes they might finally get to hits like "Castaway" or "Homegrown"?
The answer was literally no one. The WE Fest crowd remained packed tight throughout the two-hour long jam session that also included odes to Nirvana, Guns N' Roses, AC/DC and Jimi Hendrix. "Chicken Fried" closed the show without an encore. That may have been the night's only disappointment. The energy never wavered, nor did the crowd's response. New songs like their current single "Roots" came back to them powerfully and yes, if you're wondering, that chorus does sound as pristine on stage as it does on the Welcome Home album.
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