The Zac Brown Band’s first of two nights at the Hollywood Bowl felt like a family affair: country sing-alongs, favorite rock ‘n’ roll throwbacks, fun rivalry and a sense of comfort.
The Atlanta-based band are on their “Welcome Home Tour” in support of their newest album, Welcome Home which was released May 12. The two-night stint in Los Angeles will wrap up the 40+ date tour, with night one being broadcast on Sirius XM’s Zac Brown Band station.
It was almost surprising that any Angeleno was at the Bowl that night. Before Zac Brown and friends came to the stage, there was much hubbub of the Dodger game (which ended in victory for the team). As supporting act Darrell Scott’s set ended, a man broadcasting the ballgame yelled, with a fist in the air, “six, one!” He made a strong attempt at starting a chant: “Let’s go Dodgers.” A portion of his section joined in; the crowd was amped for the show.
ZBB kicked off the night with “Keep Me in Mind,” a pop-tinged country tune with a nice drummy beat. “Feels amazing out here tonight,” Brown said at song’s end. The 17,000 plus inhabitants of the Hollywood Bowl, after all, were immediately on their feet. They plunged right into the next song, with Brown asking the audience to “sing a little bit on this one.” It was time for “Toes,” one of the band’s many number one hits. “Ohhs” of surprise and then excitement ricocheted across the venue. It was as if the audience were taken aback that this song would be played so early in the set, but nevertheless happy. “I got my toes in the water, ass in the sand / Not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand” — it felt like a farewell to summer.
After “Whiskey’s Gone,” Brown informed the crowd that “we’re gonna do a big family table tonight. Pull up a chair and come on in.” The band played into “Family Table” and followed with a lightly twanged cover of Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody.” If someone was sitting, they weren’t anymore. And though not a traditional country song, Brown sang the stadium rock tune with just as much ease.
ZBB slowed things down for the first time that night with a “Cold Weather”/ “Take it to the Limit” mashup. Possibly the loudest echo of the night came from a resounding “Take it to the limit” repeated over. The remainder of the first half of the set, followed by an intermission, featured a duet with opener Caroline Jones (“Tomorrow Never Comes”) and an Allman Brothers tribute (“Whipping Post”).
The show started up again with a drum solo that flowed into a “Jump Right In”/ “Castaway”/ “Where the Boat Leaves From”/ “Knee Deep” mashup. The second act continued like the first: there was not much rhyme or reason. The crowd was treated to a swinging “Sunday Finest,” an honorable “You Don’t Know How it Feels” and a highly-spirited “Chicken Fried.” ZBB slowed things down with their rendition of John Prine’s “All the Best,” featured on Welcome Home. Brown also took a moment to honor veterans and note that money from every ticket went to Camp Southern Ground, Brown’s summer camp for children with military family members. In true encore fashion, however, ZBB took the energy up a notch with guitar battle, which included tidbits of “Sweet Child O’Mine” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” and played out into Van Halen’s “Panama.” It was a night for country music, but also for rock ‘n’ roll, proving the Zac Brown Band are true musicians at their core.
Keep Me in Mind
Use Somebody (Kings of Leon cover)
Cold Weather/ Take it to the Limit (Eagles cover)
Highway 20 Ride
Loving You Easy
Tomorrow Never Comes (with Caroline Jones)
Whipping Post (Allman Brothers cover)
Jump Right In/ Castaway/ Where the Boat Leaves From/ Knee Deep
Sunday Finest (Sir Rosevelt)
The Eye (Brandi Carlile cover)
Great Day to be Alive (Darrell Scott cover/duet)
You Don’t Know How it Feels (Tom Petty cover)
All the Best (John Prine cover)
Panama (Van Halen cover)