Zac Brown Band’s Down the Rabbit Hole Tour is as intriguing as its name. The acclaimed eight-piece band brought the dynamic show to Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Thursday (March 28) for an incredible two-hour set packed with such hits as “Chicken Fried,” “Colder Weather,” “As She’s Walking Away” and many more. Here are five of our favorite moments from the Nashville production of Zac Brown Band’s Down the Rabbit Hole tour.
1. “Devil Went Down to Georgia”
The band’s cover of the Charlie Daniels classic has been a staple in their live show for years, and the group enamored the Nashville crowd with their distinct style of musicianship. Zac Brown used it as an opportunity to venture down one wing of the stage that brought him into the audience, allowing fans in the front row to get an close and personal look at his feverish guitar playing, his fingers moving at light speed. Their rendition of the legendary song made for one most electrifying moments of the night.
2. “Whipping Post”
In addition to “Devil Went Down to Georgia,” the band packed in a variety of other noteworthy cover songs throughout the elaborate show, one of which being a fierce rendition of The Allman Brothers Band’s “Whipping Post,” accompanied by revered bassist Billy Sheehan. The gritty song allowed Clay Cook to shine as he sang each lyric from his soul while passionately playing the organ, and it was almost as if Brown and his fellow musicians forgot they were playing to an arena full of thousands of fans, becoming fully immersed in the intense jam session that took over the stage and warranted an extended standing ovation.
3. Pickin’ party
After lighting up the crowd with country and southern rock classics, the band brought the energy to a more intimate level by gathering at the foot of the stage for a living room style acoustic set. Brown explained how the tour’s name comes from the eclectic mix of artists that have shaped their individual music identities, and how bringing them all together is like diving down a rabbit hole. One of Brown’s artistic influences is James Taylor, and he paid homage to the legendary songwriter with a poignant rendition of “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight.” He followed this with a thoughtful reflection about how he fell in love with harmonies listening to Simon & Garfunkel, a touching sentiment that led to an equally powerful version of the duo’s iconic hit, “The Boxer.”
The light-hearted hit is one of the Grammy winning band’s most recognizable, and the capacity crowd proved that with how invested they were in the song’s carefree spirit. In between the poignant James Taylor and Simon & Garfunkel numbers, the group provided a three-minute escape with “Toes,” eliciting a full-arena-sing-along to the breezy tune that had the roughly 20,000 fans chanting such popular lyrics as “I got my toes in the water, ass in the sand” and “adios and vaya con dios” at the top of their lungs, making for a euphoric moment.
5. The musicianship
Fans have long been captivated by the group’s stellar musicianship, and they had it on full display in Nashville, demonstrating their catalogue comprised of beautiful melodies and harmonies to match. Between Jimmy De Martini’s haunting fiddle solo preluding “Free,” to Brown’s lightning-like guitar playing and the power of the band’s stirring voices when they united in harmony, Zac Brown Band created magic with each song, so much so that we couldn’t help but think, “damn they’re good.”
Zac Brown Band’s next trek, The Owl Tour, kicks off in May.