One of the most adventurous ensembles to grace the country charts these days is the Zac Brown Band. And that pioneering spirit is especially evident in the group’s eclectic live shows. Currently on their Jekyll & Hyde Tour, named for their latest album, which was released in April and vaulted straight to Number One, the group takes plenty of inspiration from the literary characters that inspired the LP and tour title.
One minute they’re showcasing their Southern roots with covers from the Marshall Tucker Band (“Can’t You See”) and the Charlie Daniels Band (“The Devil Went Down to Georgia”), then doing an ocean-hopping about-face the next with takes on Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” and Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic.”
Of course, the 10-piece band’s set list is full of their radio-friendly hits, too, including “Toes,” “Colder Weather,” “Chicken Fried” and “Homegrown.” But one of the show’s highlights on nearly every stop along the trek has been a cover of the Beatles’ “Let It Be.” With Brown at the piano, leading the charge, the tune becomes a swaying, arm-waving sing-along, just as it has at nearly every Sir Paul McCartney performance over the past 40-plus years. The song’s theme offers a perfect description of the Grammy-winning band’s own creative philosophy, allowing whatever is meant to happen next to be fully embraced and celebrated without reservation.
Months before Jekyll & Hyde was released, Brown hinted that the group would be stepping up their game when it came to taking risks and keeping fans guessing what they’d be doing next.
“We’re all continuing to grow up and get better as musicians and the chemistry as a band continues to deepen,” he told Rolling Stone Country late last year. “Our boundaries have dissolved and we’re going to still do things that are somewhat familiar that people like, but we’re also going to stretch out and take chances beyond what we’ve done before. Some people are going to be really surprised.”
Next up for Zac Brown Band is a three-night stint at Boston’s venerable Fenway Park, August 7th—9th. See more the group’s upcoming tour dates here.