Zac Brown Band will surely be in the Summerfest hall of fame as they consistently bring in some of the biggest crowds to the festival’s amphitheater. Last night was no exception, as the “Chicken Fried” Grammy-winning artists brought "The Comeback Tour" to Milwaukee for a special comeback of their own.
Here are four reasons you shouldn’t have missed Zac Brown Band’s Friday night performance at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater:
1. They are Summerfest staples
Zac Brown Band is no stranger to Summerfest. Having played the lakeside festival a number of times in the past decade, including performances in 2019, 2017 and 2012, it raises the question: Is it even Summerfest if Zac Brown Band isn’t there? And despite performing at Summerfest consistently throughout the years, fans continue to show up year after year and in massive numbers, validating the type of performances that the band delivers. Last night was easily one of Summerfest’s biggest crowds of the year with barely an empty seat in the house.
So if you missed out last night, don’t beat yourself up because you’ll surely have a chance to redeem yourself in the next couple years.
2. Two sets are better than one
The band again delivered their BOGO model of performances as they gave fans two different sets during their headlining performance, complete with an intermission and an entertaining encore.
The evening’s first set started off with some of the band’s biggest hits including “Homegrown” and “Same Boat." The set also was highlighted with a couple of jam sessions as the Atlanta natives performed covers of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” and “Can’t You See” which put a spotlight on every member of the band, although two members of the band (Coy Bowles and Matt Mangano) were noticeably absent. Although they were technically shorthanded, there were more than enough talented musicians on stage to make for a full performance of every song on the set list.
The second set of the night began with the Zac Brown Band’s 2018 track, “Someone I Used to Know," which was co-written by another Summerfest alum: singer Shawn Mendes. Next the group performed a new song, “Old Love Song”, from the band’s forthcoming album. “I can’t wait to get this album out for all of ya’ll,” Brown told the packed crowd after teasing their new project. The band went on to perform five more songs to complete their second set of the night.
3. An encore to remember
The evening’s encore performance alone was worth the price of admission and had something for everyone. Zac Brown kicked off the encore with a number of covers across all different genres, including Metallica’s “Enter Sandman," Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” and even Los Lobos’ “La Bamba." Next the night’s headliners performed one last cover: an emotional rendition of Elton John’s 1972 hit, “Rocketman."
But while the covers were great, there was only one song that could have put an exclamation mark on an already great night, that being the band's biggest hit single, “Chicken Fried”, a country music staple with lyrics so iconic that they are printed in large block letters in the 200 level of the newly revamped amphitheater. Mr. Brown sounded great, but Milwaukee sounded even better as the packed crowd did the heavy lifting from start to finish for the last track of the night.
4. Gabby Barrett
If a couple sets and an encore from Zac Brown Band wasn’t enough, fans who found their seats early were treated with an opening set from country music’s Gabby Barrett. Known first from her third place finish on "American Idol," Barrett has now made a name for herself with her own music, including “The Good Ones” and “I Hope” which closed out her set on Friday night.
The Pennsylvania native’s pop-infused country sound casts a wide net and can be enjoyed by Top 40 and country music fans alike, which is why she is one of the biggest emerging names in country today and a great choice to get the crowd warm last evening.
"The Devil Went Down to Georgia" (The Charlie Daniels Band cover)
"It’s Not OK"
"As She’s Walking Away"
"Can’t You See" (The Marshall Tucker Band cover)
"Tomorrow Never Comes"
"Day That I Die"
"Someone I Used to Know"
"Old Love Song"
"Big Love" (Fleetwood Mac cover)
"Enter Sandman"/"I Want You to Want Me"/"In the Air Tonight"/"La Bamba"/"What’s Going On" (covers)
"Rocket Man" (Elton John cover)