For this Independence Day weekend, the Zac Brown Band returned to Detroit for his “Black Out The Sun” tour and to pay tribute to the US Military.
02-July-2016: While many people in Michigan run off to beaches of sand and lakes for the Independence Day holiday weekend, nearly 16,000 fans stayed behind to partake in the festivities at the DTE Energy Music Theatre on Saturday night as the Zac Brown Band came to town to celebrate with their fans.
With stars and stripes in many forms of apparel and flags flying from vehicles in the parking lots and flagpoles throughout the venue’s property, the scene was patriotic and seemed fitting for the holiday weekend.
As the crowds prepared for the evening’s event, sounds of the Zac Brown Band echoed from vehicle speakers as fans tailgated beforehand with friends of old and new. Members of the ZacFamily street team were also on hand and visited various tailgating parties to discuss the perks of joining the Zac Brown Band Fan Club.
As the theatre gates opened the diehard fans ran to their desired spots up on the lawn while those with reserved pavilion seats took their time strolling along to their seats.
Drake White and his band The Big Fire opened the show performing songs from his debut upcoming full-length album Spark that is scheduled to be released in August.
Warming up the crowd Drake bounced around on stage, sometimes with his guitar and other times with his tambourine making sure everyone was having fun by having the crowd jump around and bounce with him. With his debut single “Simple Life,” Drake described himself as a simple man who like most in attendance likes his beer, fireworks and America.
In between songs, Drake made sure to thank everyone for staying in town and attending the show. He wished the crowd a Happy Fourth of July and was glad to be able to be in Detroit on a holiday weekend. He loves being in the Detroit area and all the country music fans from the surrounding areas.
Earlier in the day, Drake had teamed up with Ford Motor Co. to provide community service with Habitat For Humanity and the “Livin’ The Dream” community service tour. Thus the reasoning for his attire of the evening of cut off work pant shorts and work boots.
Drake finished his musical set with the current single “Livin’ The Dream” off the coming album as the crowd applauded and sang the song back to him and his band.
As he is continuously tagged as one of Country’s Top Artist To Watch In 2016, Drake has become a rising southern country-blues-rock sensation in country music today that is often placed in the same category of musical style as Chris Stapleton.
When showtime approached, the white screen that draped in front of the stage raised to expose the stage again, you could see all the band members standing on stage with Zac Brown. Appearing at stage center with his guitar, they started the show off with the lead single “Home Grown” to their latest album Jekyll + Hyde. For anyone who had been sitting in their seats or up on the lawn at this point had all jumped up to be added as background vocalists.
As Zac and the band progressed on throughout their show, they entertained the crowd with musical brilliance and craft. With song selections from their first four major label studio albums, the band also chose to keep the crowd pumped up and unexpected with a few of the band’s favorites from other artists and musical genres.
During the musical performance of rock icons The Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” Zac made sure to step back out of the spotlight to share the stage with his band as they all showed off a bit of their music specialty. At this time, two back up singers arrived on stage to assist in vocals before Coy Bowles took to center stage for a finishing guitar solo.
The softest part of the evening came as the three time Grammy winners slowed the mood down with the fan favorite “Colder Weather.” Walking the front of the stage, Zac reached out to make contact with the crowd as they sang along to the band. At the conclusion of the song, Zac pumped the crowd back up by mentioning that the song had been completed after attending the Downtown Hoedown in Detroit a few years back, at the studio of Detroit’s own Kid Rock.
During the performance of “Castaway” the current single off the Jekyll + Hyde album, three sections of horn were added to the stage as a trumpet, trombone and saxophone player joined in.
Before the playing of “Remedy,” Zac made a note to everyone that for all that bought a ticket to the show, donations from those tickets were going to Camp Southern Ground. Camp Southern Ground is a camp under construction in Georgia that will help children overcome academic, social and emotional difficulties.
Next, Zac and his band congregated at the front of the stage to launch out t-shirts to the crowd with large rubber bands and a pressurized t-shirt gun as they waited for the stage hands to arrange the stage for an acoustic part of the show.
Sitting as a group at center stage, the Zac Brown Band played acoustically their wildly popular hit “Toes” before “Supply And Demand” by Amos Lee. Zac next dedicated a song to all the fathers in the crowd with “I’ll Be Your Man (Song For A Daughter).”
When the band got up and left the stage, the large white screen dropped down once again displaying a running timer to indicate the return to the show.
Returning back to the stage, the Zac Brown Band played “Keep Me In Mind” as Zac introduced all the members of the band allowing them all to solo out and show off their musical talents. The band consists of: Coy Bowles (Guitar), Clay Cook (Guitar, Keys), Daniel De Los Reyes (Percussion), Jimmy De Martini (Fiddle), Chris Fryar (Drums), John Driskell Hopkins (Guitar) and Matt Mangano (Bass).
In another showcase of talents, John sang out “Enter Sandman” a Metallica cover, while Jimmy showed off his fiddle extraordinaire by playing the guitar solos with his fiddle.
The set ended with last fall’s hit “Beautiful Drug.”
After a short break, Zac and the rest of the guys returned for an encore to a crowd of screaming fans. In tribute to the late Prince, the white screen lowered half way this time while a purple cross appeared on the screen. Hopkins gave the introductory sermon, before Bowles belted out the singing and guitar solos of “Let’s Go Crazy.”
With the crowd still dancing everywhere through the venue and singing intensely, the energy and volumes escalated under the pavilion roof as the band finished off the night with their multi platinum debut hit “Chicken Fried.” As the band played on and Zac sang the words “I thank God for my life and for the Stars and Stripes may freedom forever fly, let it ring. Salute the ones who gave their lives so we don’t have to sacrifice all the things we love,” the video screens on stage displayed an American Flag waving in the breeze with a saluting member of the US Marines standing at center stage on the upper platform.
A conclusion that only seemed fitting on this Independence Day weekend.
Zac Brown setlist:
1. Homegrown, 2. Knee Deep, 3. Baba O’Riley (The Who cover), 4. Colder Weather, 5. Castaway, 6. Remedy, 7. S.O.B. (Nathaniel Rateliff cover), 8. Toes – Acoustic, 9. Supply And Demand (Amos Lee cover) – Acoustic, 10. I’ll Be Your Man (Song For A Daughter) – Acoustic, 11. Keep Me In Mind, 12. Enter Sandman (Metallica cover), 13.Tomorrow Never Comes, 14. Don’t Let Me Down (The Chainsmokers cover), 15. Loving You Easy, 16. Day That I Die, 17. Beautiful Drug, Encore: 18. Let’s Go Crazy (Prince cover), 19. Chicken Fried