Zac Brown Band RodeoHouston, Reliant Stadium March 12, 2012
As the Zac Brown Band began to play through the last verse of "Highway 20 Ride," just as Brown finished singing, "And my whole world, it begins and ends with you" while lightly picking at his guitar strings, our dad reached over, placed his arm around us and gave our shoulder a firm squeeze. With a slight smile, he said simply, "Good song."
At any other time, Aftermath might have disagreed with the old man out of principle, solely for the sake of argument. After all, we don't want him getting Alzheimer's or anything, so we make a point to pit his verbal and mental dukes against ours as often as possible.
It keeps him sharp. Some might call it bickering; we call it a well-developed rapport between a man and his overly opinionated son. Who are you to judge anyway?
But having just heard a father's song to his son in which he tells the boy, in spite of all his failings, that he tried his hardest to be a good dad and only hopes that, when he crosses his son's mind, the young man smiles, we thought better of disagreeing and decided instead to smile and nod in agreement.
It may not have touched our hearts, but seeing those lyrics strike a chord with our own dad was close enough.
Some songs may not hit you the first time you hear them, but in the right situation, they can knock you on your emotional ass.
First and foremost, the members of the Zac Brown Band are patriotic. Secondly, they're definitely some form of country. And thirdly, they're extremely talented musicians. Monday night, at Reliant Stadium, ZBB combined those characteristics into an hour-long hodgepodge of musical madness.
It took three or four songs, but by the time they played "Highway 20 Ride," we were hooked. From then on, we were tapping our feet, drumming our hands on the bar in front of us and, when the choruses were catch enough, even singing along. After "20," Brown kept the mood somber (lyrically) while picking up the tempo a bit for "As She's Walking Away."
The rest of the evening was filled with plenty of ZBB's better-known hits, two cuts off their upcoming album, including "Where the Wind Blows" - and plenty of jam sessions. We couldn't quite tell who enjoyed the musical showmanship more: The crowd or the band. Either way, it seemed like a win-win situation to us.
As ZBB ended their performance with "Chicken Fried," we couldn't help but chuckle at the song's lyrics that, before Monday, seemed clichéd and tired in our minds. Instead, sitting there with our dad, watching him smile and get into the tunes, we left humming the verse:
It's funny how it's the little things in life that mean the most. Not where you live, what you drive or the price tag on your clothes There's no dollar sign on a peace of mind, this I've come to know So if you agree, have a drink on me and raise your glasses for a toast.
And yes, we like a little bit of chicken fried.
Personal Bias: Had ZBB stepped onstage, played their cover of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" and left, we still would have loved their performance. Jimmy De Martini is a monster on that fiddle.
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Overheard In the Crowd: "I kind of like how some of the musicians are goofy-looking. I mean, they're no George Clooneys, you know? I like that it's all about the music. Also, why's he wearing that hat? It looks like it's hot."
Random Notebook Dump: Zac Brown's teeth are really, really white.