Zac Brown Band at Red Rocks, 5/8/13

Categories: Concert Reviews

Eric Gruneisen
Zac Brown on stage at Red Rocks last night, the first night of a three-night run. Slide show: Zac Brown Band and fans at Red Rocks

"We're gonna warm it up!" Zac Brown said just before he launched into "Toes," one of the handful of Jimmy Buffettized country-rock tunes his band played at Red Rocks last night. That song ("Toes in the water/Ass in the sand"... don't act like you haven't heard it) was nothing less than an act of charity on Brown's part, as sporadic rains had much of the crowd freezing in their cowboy boots.

See also:
- Slide show: Zac Brown Band and fans at Red Rocks last night
- Q&A: Zac Brown Band's Jimmy De Martini on genre-bending country songs
- The fifty best concerts of spring

Eric Gruneisen
Slide show: Zac Brown Band and fans at Red Rocks

Sure, "Toes" is a silly tune, but that's part of Brown's easygoing, disarming charm. In recordings and on stage last night (his first of a three-night run at Red Rocks), Brown has come to embody an Everyman image that is too often lacking in country music. No tailored clothes or custom boots. The guy could've easily just sold you a margarita. On the beach.

Eric Gruneisen
Slide show: Zac Brown Band and fans at Red Rocks

That humility was on full display at this gig, which was also laden with radio hits that span the band's very brief (five-year) career. "Colder Weather," one of the singles from 2010's You Get What You Give, was the first of many songs the audience knew by heart. "Knee Deep," a tune so reminiscent of Buffett that Buffett himself sang on the original recording, came next. Behind stage, projected images of beaches were interspersed with closeups of the band performing. Are you beginning to see a pattern here?

Eric Gruneisen
The Zac Brown Band on stage at Red Rocks Amphitheatre last night. Slide show: Zac Brown Band and fans at Red Rocks

The night wasn't just beach music. "It's Not OK," from Brown's first album, The Foundation, showcased a band that has moved effortlessly between genres, bridging gaps between 1970s folk and '90s jam band noodling -- at points during the show, Brown's guitar picking became so strained and urgent that it appeared he was attacking the damn thing. Other songs, all fronted by Brown with his acoustic guitar and good-but-not-great baritone, adhered to a similar mid-tempo pop vibe, no sharp edges, nothing too offensive.

Location Info


Red Rocks Amphitheatre

18300 W. Alameda Parkway, Morrison, CO

Category: General

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Larry AndDana Burke
Larry AndDana Burke

Taking a chance playing at Red Rocks this early in the year. I remember going to an Allmans show in June... Rained so much they had to "tent" Gregg Allman in so he could play his keyboards. They were up there blowing on their fingers in order to keep them warm enough to play guitar. These Southern Boys aint used to all this! Kudos to the band for playing in less than desirable conditions!

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