Seeing the Zac Brown Band on stage for the first time was quite an experience for me. With 8 band members it was hard to know where to look and who to photograph. The Zac Brown Band are comprised of Zac Brown (lead vocals & guitar), Chris Fryar (drums), Clay Cook (numerous instruments), Coy Bowles (guitar & organ), Daniel De Los Reyes (percussion), Jimmy De Martini (violin & vocals), John Driscoll Hopkins (numerous instruments) & Matt Mangano (bass).
There is no doubting the musical talent of the band and their popularity with the fans. Last night’s performance was after a sold out concert in Melbourne and this one, if it wasn’t a sell out would have been very close to being sold out. I know of fans that headed in to line up early in the morning so they could be first in and close to the stage.
With 4 studio albums released over the past seven years The Foundation (2008), You Get What You Give (2010), Uncaged (2010) and Jeykll + Hyde (to be released this month) and the Grohl Sessions EP (2013) there were plenty of choices of great songs to include in the set list. Surprisingly last night’s set list included a number of covers which a country band would not usually perform including an awesome performance of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Metallica’s “Enter the Sandman”.
The Zac Brown Band were fantastic on the night and whilst they didn’t perform some of my favourite songs they performed most of their hits including “Sweet Annie”, “Toes”, “Colder Weather”, “Chicken Fried”, “Goodbye in her Eyes”, “Free” and “As She’s Walking Away” (minus Alan Jackson who was guest vocalist on the You Get What You Give album version). Other songs performed at the Hordern Pavilion that night included Charlie Daniel’s Band’s “Devil Went Down to Georgia”, “Whiskey Gone”, “Day for the Dead”, “Heavy is the Head”, “Keep Me In Mind” and “Knee Deep”.
There was a brief moment when during a long instrumental as part of the introduction of the band members that I felt they lost the audience as I could see and here a lot of them talking. It didn’t take long for them to reconnect to the audience though.
I can’t put my finger on what exactly makes the Zac Brown Band so appealing. They have great harmony, their lyrics are meaningful, the music is amazing and the number of different instruments that they play throughout the night adds to their appeal. All the band members seem passionate abut their music and it shows on stage by how much they seem to be enjoying performing.
It was my first time shooting at the Hordern Pavilion and as a venue I thought that it was great. It didn’t seem to matter where anyone was sitting or standing they weren’t far from the stage. It was a great atmosphere and the lighting and sound were awesome. In fact it was the first time that I recall being there since The Police performed there in 1980!
Anyone heading to the Byron Bay Blues Festival will be in for a treat as the Zac Brown Band are performing there on the 3rd April, 2015.
Originally published in the Get Shot Magazine 2.4.15