The Zac Brown Band burst onto the country music scene in 2008 with their Grammy-winning album “The Foundation.” The band has toured relentlessly over the past three years, and has finally returned to Connecticut for a two-night stand at the Mohegan Sun arena on August 31 and September 1. These two shows would also signal the beginning of their 2012 fall tour which will conclude on November 17 at Madison Square Garden.
A full night of music began with a 45-minute set from one of country music’s newest singer/songwriters Levi Lowrey. He mixed in slow ballads with country romps as he performed songs from his latest album, “I Confess I Was A Fool.”
After waiting another 45 minutes, the lights finally went out as a countdown appeared on a white curtain hiding the stage and band behind it. As the countdown hit zero, the Zac Brown Band kicked off the night with country groove of “Keep Me In Mind” and the fast-paced hoe-down of “Whiskey’s Gone.” The high energy that the band displayed was felt throughout the arena as the audience got up on their feet and swayed to the island sound of “Knee Deep.”
The Zac Brown Band is touring behind their new #1 album, “Uncaged”. A few songs from this album were scattered throughout the set list and fit in perfectly with past hits like “Highway 20 Ride” and “Free.” After a jamming version of “Who Knows,” which including a blazing guitar solo from Clay Cook, the band convened halfway up the catwalk for a three song acoustic set.
The set began with the Zac Brown Band inviting opening act Levi Lowery to sing his song “Wherever We Break Down.” Then they continued with a brand-new song entitled “One Day” before finishing with a countrified version of Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion.”
The band kicked it into high gear with “Jump Right In,” “Toes” and a mash-up of Stevie Wonder’s song “Isn’t She Lovely” and John Mayer’s song “Neon.” They closed the set with a fiery version of “The Devil Went Down To Georgia,” highlighted by Jimmy De Martini violin playing.
After screams and stomps from the audience, percussionist Daniel de los Reyes and drummer Chris Fryer entertained with a drum solo which lead into “The Wind.” The band continued with “No Hurry” before feeling very patriotic by performing an excellent rendition of “America The Beautiful.” Their two hour performance came to a close with an outstanding performance of their Grammy nominated, #1 single “Chicken Fried.”
As night one concluded, the band seemed uplifted by their visit to Connecticut and to one of the state’s premier concert spots.
Setlist: Keep Me In Mind, Whiskey’s Gone, Knee Deep, Uncaged, Highway 20 Ride, Natural Disaster, Who Knows, Whenever We Break Down (acoustic), One Day (acoustic), Sweet Emotion (acoustic), Free, Jump Right In, As She’s Walking Away, The Day That I Die, Toes, Isn’t She Lovely/Neon, The Devil Went Down To Georgia
Encore: The Wind, No Hurry, America The Beautiful, Chicken Fried