Oh, Sweet Murray: Zac Brown Band energizes CFSB

Megan Godby/The News Zac Brown performs “Southern Wind” to open the show at the CFSB Center Saturday night.

Megan Godby/The News
Zac Brown performs “Southern Wind” to open the show at the CFSB Center Saturday night.

Mother Nature decided to cooperate Saturday night for the Zac Brown Band concert. Several students broke out their cowboy boots for the occasion, while others were rocking the Zac Brown beard and sock hat.

Around 6 p.m. the CFSB Center began to fill up. Although the show was not sold out, children, college students, high school students and community members filled seats all the way up to the nosebleed section.

Promptly at 7 p.m. the A.J. Ghent Band from Atlanta, Ga., took the stage.

“I enjoyed the A.J. Ghent Band because it was energetic and upbeat,” said Stephanie Tapia, sophomore from Danville, Ky.

The band also did covers of “Purple Rain” by Prince and “Boondocks” by Little Big Town.

Levi Lowrey followed the A.J. Ghent Band. The atmosphere of the concert shifted from soul and intricate guitar solos to classic country-bluegrass with an edge.

Lowery started slowly with “December Thirty-One” and picked it up with his second song, “The Problem with Freedom,” during which he had a unique electric violin solo.

After Levi Lowrey and his band cleared the stage, the audience waited in anticipation for the Zac Brown Band.

Finally, the lights dimmed and a translucent curtain that covered the stage lit up, revealing the silhouette of a band member.

Static came through the sound system with the occasional fragment of a song, much like an old radio tuner. The static cleared and the seats buzzed with the reverb of the bass.

Zac came out from underneath the curtain with his guitar and played “Southern Winds.” After his solo, the curtain dropped and the entire band was revealed.

The next set of songs went back to country roots. The curtain behind the stage lit up to look like stars as the band performed “The Wind,” followed by “As She’s Walking Away” featuring A.J. Ghent on guitar, “All Alright” and “Whiskey’s Gone” featuring a trio between the guitar, violin and banjo.

“(Zac Brown Band) was always so energized,” said Alex Pologruto, from Murray. “They kept the good vibes going throughout the whole concert.”

In contrast to the bluegrass-like sounds of the previous set the next song was a cover of “Enter Sandman” by Metallica.

The song was completely true to form with no country or bluegrass twists. When that iconic guitar riff started, the crowd went nuts.

“(Zac Brown Band) played a variety of different tastes,” said Aaron Clayton, from Murray. “It was a true live concert. It literally had something from every genre of music.”

The band then seamlessly transitioned from heavy metal to the acoustic “Sweet Annie.” Following the transition, the band performed “Toes.” Everyone in the stands instantly stood up and began to sing along.

Next on the agenda was a cover of “Can’t You See” by the Marshall Tucker Band that included solos by each band member. The performance morphed into an on-stage jam-session.

Following that performance, each band member sat in a semi-circle. Zac Brown dedicated the next song to a friend of theirs who died in a car accident.

“He was one of the best souls and musicians we’ve ever known, so we wrote this song for him,” Brown said. “This is called ‘Lance’s Song.’”

“Lance’s Song” transitioned into a cover of “Piano Man” by Billy Joel. Cellphones were up, friends swung their arms around each others’ shoulders, swayed to the beat and sang along. Finally, to close the concert, they performed “Chicken Fried.”

“Raise the roof off this bitch,” Brown said as he sang the first chorus.

The band said its goodbyes and walked off stage. As people exited the CFSB, monotonous music began to play.

Suddenly, a skeleton face appeared on the screen and the band walked out wearing neon skeleton suits and masks which lit up under the blacklights. Even their instruments lit up.

“The skeleton part at the end was my favorite,” said Kaitlyn Walker, from Murray. “I loved all the fireworks in the background.”

Zac Brown also performed covers of “Cashmere” by Led Zeppelin and “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by Charlie Daniels during their eerie encore.

“Overall, it had a good musical texture,” said Alex Brumley, from Murray. “Many genres were played which proves it’s a good song if it can be played in any genre.”

According to students, Zac Brown Band kept up the energy the entire show and never let the audience down. The band played favorites and threw in a couple shockers to keep the audience on their toes.

Also, attendees who bought tickets donated a dollar to Zac Brown’s new camp called Camp Southern Ground for children with special needs.

The universal theme of the concert rang true in every song as stated by Zac himself.

“Let it rain,” Brown said. “Let all the bullshit come and go.”


Story by Madison Wepfer, Staff writer