Most casual observers likely wouldn’t think of Boston, MA as a hotbed of country music, most casual observers are wrong. When Zac Brown Band rolled into Fenway Park on Saturday, they arrived knowing they would be playing to a full house on both nights of their weekend stand. The sold-out shows were record-setters as the Atlanta based band played their 10th and 11th consecutive sold-out shows at the 35,000+ capacity ballpark. Their sellout streak dates back to June of 2014 when they first took to Fenway Park after outgrowing the 19,000 capacity Xfinity Center south of Boston.
This time around Zac Brown Band are touring ahead of their forthcoming album, The Owl, due out September 20th. They’ve come a long way from their days as a strictly country band, these days the group incorporates all sorts of sounds into their music. Songwriter and producer credits on The Owl include names such as Shawn Mendes and Skrillex along with a feature from Brandi Carlie. The live show ZBB are touring with ahead of the record mirrors that as their setlist had a little bit for everyone.
The show opened with “Homegrown” a popular track from ZBB’s 2015 record Jekyll + Hyde. It didn’t take them long to work a cover into the set as the third song in; the band played through their version of the Kings of Leon classic “Use Somebody” which was at peak popularity when ZBB started. Cover songs would be a reoccurring theme throughout the night as they would also work in songs from The Marshall Tucker Band, Beastie Boys, and The Wood Brothers. Their eclectic mix of songs secured a spot in the setlist for almost everyone’s preferred musical taste.
Samples from their upcoming album included “Someone I Used to Know” and “Leaving Love Behind” two tracks that fit in superbly in the night’s second set. There was even a local flavored moment when ZBB brought out a contest wheel filled with James Taylor songs that was spun by a young girl from the audience to determine which of Taylor’s songs they would cover. “Sweet Baby James” ended up winning out, and much to the delight of the New England crowd was performed all acoustic on the end of the band’s ramp jutting out from the stage.
One would have to feel that hardcore fans of Zac Brown Band may have felt a little let down by the setlist as when all was said and done there weren’t many deep cuts involved in the night’s festivities. It did feel as if the band’s show was geared more towards the folks who showed up solely for the Saturday night out experience. But when the band closed the encore out with a mashup of covers that included Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and Rage Against the Machine’s “Bulls on Parade” it was evident that everyone was having a good time at that point.
At this point in their career, Zac Brown Band have long surpassed being a one genre band and evolved into the kind of outfit that will pack stadiums for years to come. Fans turned out from all over New England, some driving hours on end for their most anticipated show of the summer, while some happened upon the show and decided they would check it out on a whim. Either way, Zac Brown Band found a way to entertain them all. They are at their core, showmen who know exactly how to enthrall massive crowds for almost two and a half hours.
The night’s festivities were kicked off with a set from Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real. Nelson is the son of country music icon Willie Nelson, and the younger Nelson has carved out a pretty excellent career on his own, touring with the likes of Neil Young throughout his music career.
Pre-order Zac Brown Band’s upcoming album The Owl by clicking HERE.
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real:
Zac Brown Band: