Zac Brown Band ‘Comeback’ to Virginia

The country group are touring ahead of the deluxe re-issue of their 2021 album

Zac Brown Band gave fans at Jiffy Lube Live a career retrospective on Saturday (Aug 27th). Their concert was broken up into three distinct acts, and played a country music memoir.

Shortly after 8:15, Brown simply walked out by himself with no fanfare, adorned in his classic hat and a black shirt. Neon shone bright on a bar set that would make any Broadway play jealous. He offered an acoustic rendition of “Toes,” before individually introducing his band members. John Driskell Hopkins and Jimmy Di Martini joined for a beautiful rendition of “Free / Into the Mystic.”

Bassist Matt Mangano and string player Coy Bowles were introduced next. After “ Whiskey’s Gone,” the percussion section consisting of Chris Frayer on drums and Daniel de los Reyes on other percussion joined for the rest of this intimate bar set.

Though the full band was present, it had a stripped-down feel. There’s no telling what songs you’ll here at Zac’s traveling establishment, but one things for sure: it’s country music in its biggest, yet purest form.

Driskell has showed no sign of slowing down, despite an ALS diagnosis. In a video message with his band mates, the OG ZBB member promised fans that the slow progression of the dead’s means he’ll be “Rocking for many years to come.” The band sells special “Hop on a Cure” tees with proceeds going to ALS research.

After a 10 minute intermission, ZBB returned with three horn players and two backing vocalists for a more standard arena set. Backed with gorgeous faux trees and a wide riser made of mountainous granite, Zac and crew plowed through 10 more fan favorites.

“Keep Me in Mind” and the poppier “Loving You Easy” featured the horn section prominently. And most other numbers, paradoxically to Brown’s rootsy style—effortlessly incorporated the section.

Opening act Robert Randolph joined Zac Brown Band for a barn-burning jam on “GA Clay.” Brown is known for treating his opening acts like royalty. After all, Nashville recording artist Caroline Jones went from opening act to featured backing vocalist on his tours.

To say much more would be to spoil the surprises that Brown and Co. have in store on their Out in the Middle Tour. Fans will be happy to know that this tour focuses on ZBB’s country music, and their forays into other genres are mostly absent on the setlist. The way the show itself builds from intimate gathering to a southern spectacle is refreshing. Yet, to paraphrase the final song of the night, the concert had everything it needed, and nothing that it didn’t.

The Music Universe would like to thank Tina Gardner and Claudia Friar at Jiffy Lube Live for their tireless assistance during our coverage at their venue this season. We’ll see you in 2023!

Matt Bailey
Matt Bailey

Matt Bailey is podcast producer and writer located in the Northeast. Since 2013, Bailey has produced more than 160 episodes of his own online radio show, Talk For Two. In 2016 alone, he interviewed Kevin Bacon, Crystal Gayle, Bob Barker, and Gilbert Gottfried, among several other stars. As a Correspondent for The Music Universe, his focus is Broadway, country music and concert reviews.