As the show started, an enormous silky white curtain draped across the stage, billowing and building suspense for the coming music. Meanwhile, band took the stage and performed a medley as back lights cast silhouettes of the musicians and instruments.
The drape dropped, and the band opened in earnest with “Jump Right In.” Lyrics urged “let the music pull you in,” and that’s precisely what fans did as Brown and his talented band strutted their virtuosity and versatility. Their set corralled their Grammy-winning classic country sound, as well as reggae, percussive Latin and rock that smacked more of acid than sweet tea.
The show included plenty of favorites such as “Good-bye In Her Eyes,” “Colder Weather,” “Toes” and “As She’s Walking Away.” ZBB also bowed to musical influences, weaving portions of other artists’ songs into their eclectic set. Most notably, “Free” morphed into Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic.” The band did their version of the Charlie Daniels Band’s “Devil Went Down to Georgia” at auctioneer tempo, plus Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb,” Metalica’s “Never Never Land” and Bob Marley’s “One Love.”
For an upcoming compilation memorializing longtime Colorado resident Dan Fogelberg, the band recorded a live version of “Leader of the Band.”
“This is one of my favorite songs of all times,” Brown said. His band added gooseflesh-inducing harmonies to the sentimental tune.
This was followed by a 4-song encore dressed in glow-in-the-dark skeleton suits and masks.
Brown’s trademark stocking cap was functional on a cold Colorado spring night on the rocks. But ZBB generated enough heat that many concertgoers left feeling chicken-fried and “free as we’ll ever be.”
Jason Bullinger is a graphic designer, illustrator and photographer and a new contributor with Reverb.
Colleen Smith, a longtime contributor to The Denver Post, is the author of “Glass Halo”—a novel set in Denver–and “Laid-Back Skier,” both by Friday Jones Publishing.