It was a crystal clear, sunny California evening that kicked off with a furiousness as New Orleans-native Trombone Shorty took immediate command of the stage at FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine, CA. Opening for Zac Brown Band on July 25th, 2019, Trombone Shorty (born, Troy Adams) and his wily band surprised the crowd, kicking off the night with their song “I Just Want My Heart Back” that got people off their feet and dancing. Having first picked up the trombone at the age of four, Trombone Shorty has come to develop his own sound of jazz mixed with blues and funk. Combined with Shorty’s raw and unequivocal trombone talent, his smooth, sweet vocals were sharing stories through his songs. With his full band including sax, trumpet, drums and a pair of fantastically gorgeous backup singers, Trombone Shorty’s ensemble proved they are a musical force to be reckoned with. After a full-blown party on stage, Trombone Shorty left the stage, reminding fans, “Don’t forget, we love you!”
As the sun dipped down on the warm summer evening, Georgia boys Zac Brown Band lit the night on fire. Celebrating the band’s The Owl Tour, they opened up the night with crowd favorite “Knee Deep” and rolled into a rowdy rendition of “Devil Went Down to Georgia” that had the crowd singing along loudly. In high anticipation of the release of their new album The Owl, the band announced new music with Trombone Shorty. The band shared the new song “Shoe Fly Pie”, a fun song that got the crowd up and dancing. Slowing the night down for a moment, the band played their hit “Goodbye In Her Eyes”, while multi-instrumentalist Clay Cook broke into song, showing off his vocal ability.
Honoring his love for James Taylor, Brown brought out the ‘James Taylor Wheel Of Fortune’. A young local girl from San Clemente, California got to spin the wheel to select the JT song that the band would sing next, landing on “Country Road”. The group took to the catwalk for an incredible acoustic version of the song, followed by “Toes In The Water”, which sent the crowd into a sing-along frenzy, toasting each other.
Just when you thought their near two and half hour set was over, Zac Brown Band came back for an encore of epic proportions.
Before taking a short intermission, the band spoke about the upcoming September release of the new album and shared their latest single “Leaving Love Behind”. With a clock on the big screen counting down the minutes and seconds until the return of Zac Brown Band, fans mixed and mingled sharing their favorite moments of the show thus far. As the time wound down, anxious fans started counting down with 10 seconds left. As the clock hit zero, the band reemerged rolling right into a cover of the Eagles’ hit “Take It To The Limit”. Continuing to tease fans with the sounds of the new album, the band jumped into the single “Me and The Boys In The Band”. Showing off his mad banjo skills, Brown and the band then played “Beautiful Drug”.
In honor of the troops fighting to defend our freedom, the band showcased the song “Warrior” off the upcoming album. The group brought out members of the U.S. Armed Forces and paid tribute to them as the crowd gave a heartfelt standing ovation. And, it wouldn’t be a Zac Brown Band Concert without them playing “Chicken Fried”, driving fans into a massive sing-along that had to have been heard for miles, closing out the fun-filled night.
Just when you thought their near two and half hour set was over, Zac Brown Band came back for an encore of epic proportions. They launched into playing bits of Dire Straits’ “Money For Nothing,” before going off the hook into the most insane covers of Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher” and Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me”, leaving the crowd dancing and singing as they left the venue.
Be sure to catch up with Zac Brown this summer and grab their album The Owl when it drops in September.
Photography by Jenni Lynne