–by Robert Shaw. Photos by Keith Brake.
Friday night at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater the Zac Brown Band played the next to
last show of their Down the Rabbit-hole Tour. Luke Nelson and the Promise of the Real opened
the show. Luke has added conga drums to his band since last I saw them, and it added some
Afro-Caribbean beat to some of his music. The band played “Diamonds in the Soles of Her Shoes”
from Paul Simon’s Graceland album; it was the band’s best song of the Afro-Caribbean rhythms.
Nelson and Promise of the Real brought a lot of energy to the bustling crowd.
The crowd was filled with energy and anticipation as they dropped the Down Rabbit-hole
screen while the stagehands worked their magic setting up for Zac Brown. While the set-up
took a little while, the production value added by the crew was phenomenal!
Zac opened the show with “Homegrown” and never let up from there. To say this band has
world-class musicians may be an understatement. Anyone who follows Zac Brown Band knows
no two tours are the same, except for the quality of the show which is always A+. Friday night
Zac and the boys did not disappoint. The overflow crowd got a great mix of band standards and
rock and pop covers done in ZBB style. One of my favorites was “Colder Weather,” which was
mixed with the Eagles “Take It to the Limit.” The two tunes were seamlessly linked, Zac’s vocal
was dead on (per usual).
The Hollywood Amphitheater crowd was on its collective feet from the first note strummed by
Zac and the boys to the echo of the final note played. The night was filled with Zac urging the
willing crowd to participate in the band’s classic tunes. The crowd eagerly and loudly
responded. This band is masterful at bringing its fan base into the show and making the crowd
feel like family. The boys played 12 songs before taking a break, included were covers of Charlie
Daniels’ ”The Devil Went Down to Georgia” and the Allman Brother’s song” Whipping Post”,
both of which rocked the amphitheater. Zac also played a tune from his upcoming release, a
beautiful song called “Someone I Used to Know”. After a brief intermission the band came out
and formed a drumline. Every member of the band drummed their way into a rousing rendition
of a medley of “Tomorrow Never Comes/Wake Me Up/Little Lion Man/I will Wait”, bringing the
already pumped up crowd to a new level of excitement.
We did get something very different Friday night…rap was introduced to Zac Brown Band’s
repertoire. Zac’s fiddle player can spit lyrics with the best of them. Zac himself added a rap song
from his upcoming release. While admittedly I am not a fan of singers rapping or rappers
singing it wasn’t terrible…it also wasn’t Dr,Dre or Eminem. All in all, Zac Brown Band kicked
fanny and took names, leaving everyone in the house happy and wanting more.
St. Louis is getting the best acts in the land and fan support has been over the top! Keep it up
fellow music lovers, we have so many great venues hosting so many fantastic acts, please keep
going and enjoying the St. Louis music scene.