You don’t want to hear it and I don’t want to say it but it’s true…summer is almost over people. The snow and frigid temperatures will be here before you know it. Keeping that in mind, I’m trying to get as much outdoors time in as I can and there’s no better way to do so than a show in the great outdoors. Okay, so sitting in a press box doesn’t exactly constitute as the great outdoors but, hey, the windows were open so that has to count for something…. Right?
The summer vibes reigned supreme throughout opener Caroline Jones’ set. Although she was just here about a month ago to open for the Jimmie Buffet and The Eagles, Caroline seems to still be an up and coming act. That won’t stay the same for much longer. Her beautiful voice, charming smile, and anthemic yet sensitive sings are sure to catapult this woman straight to the top in no time. Her cover of “Babylon” by David Gray was nothing short of stunning. It also showcased how she is so much more than just another country pop star. There’s versatility behind her and her sound and I, for one, can’t wait to see what she brings in the future.
After the quick 15 minute set from Caroline and a rapid stage changeover, it was time for OneRepublic. I may not like to admit it but this band has some to that I just can’t resist singing along to. Since 2002 they have released 4 full length albums that have produced more hits than I couple possibly list. Sure, I admit I joked about having to see this band that I thought was a one hit wonder and only played the “car crash” song (you either know what I’m talking about or don’t…. No use in me explaining it). The second song was one of those to and a personal favorite of mine “Secrets” and from that song on I realized that OneRepublic is so much more than a one hit wonder band.
Vocalist Ryan Tedder sounded beyond perfect. I was amazed how his voice sounded exactly like it does on the radio as it did during the performance. Mix that with the clearly well thought out set list order and the outstanding stage ore ensue and I was honestly left with a performance I was not expecting. Although I recognized a bunch of the songs, there were still some new ones that I had never heard before and, judging by the crowd, neither had they but that didn’t stop anyone from dancing around a title bit. There wasa sense of charm and personality that came off the stage as Ryan spoke between songs. Like a couple other huge stadiums shows I’ve been to lately, the vibe from OneRepublic matched the vibe in a smaller club show better than the huge size of Target Field which led to an amazing set. (The beautiful cover of Beyonce’s “Halo” – which Ryan wrote- was just the icing on the cake.) The band promised a return for early 2019 with a new album- I’ll be there.
Closing out the beautiful night was the one and only Zac Brown Band. Much like OneRepublic, I thought I knew very little about this group walking in but was proven wrong within just a couple of songs from what would turn into an extensive set that lasted well into the night. This band has been around since the early 2000’s and seem to dance lines between genres with every song and album the put out. Although the country influences are clear, there are elements of rock and roll, reggae, jazz, and a little bit of everything else thrown into the mix creating a dynamic sound that is impossible to hate.
Although clearly at superstar status, their live show kept the music as the main focus. Sure there were blinding lights and a screen behind the band playing simple yet beautiful different visual tongs but there wasn’t much else to distract you from the music. Why should there be? This was clearly a concert for music fans and, as a music fan, I truly appreciated it. I also loved the way that the cameras would move from member to member giving you a chance to get a feel for each of the band members on stage. It was obvious that everyone brought something different to the band and seeing that on the giant screens that were on either side of the stage added a dynamic to this band that you joint get when listening to them at home.
With just over twenty songs in the set list, The Zac Brown Band brought a little bit of something for everyone. The list of covers they played pretty much says it all. “Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin, “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” by The Charlie Daniels Band, Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”, “Bohemian Rhapsody”… the list goes on and on but that diversity kept a person like me (who isn’t quite convinced that country music is as good as people say) captivated by the performance. Even with the multiple covers, there was something about them that just screamed The Zac Brown Band. I love when bands can perform covers but it’s clear that they aren’t trying to be the band they are covering. There was no point during their performance last night where I was confused about who I was seeing or that a song completely stood out from the rest.
Don’t shoot the messenger but summer is just about done. Make sure to get out there and enjoy the sun and warmth while you still can! I hear going to a show outside (or in a pressbox with the windows open) is a great way to celebrate the last few weeks of beautiful weather!