By Arthur Gonick
SARATOGA SPRINGS – In modern English language, the world ‘awesome’ is one of the most abused around. As such, it becomes common currency. Everything is awesome, dude. I got a stain out of my t-shirt at Cudney’s – awesome. My dog didn’t bite anybody today – awesome! I got 14 likes on my Facebook post – awesome!
You get the idea. So I propose to reclaim the word for what it is supposed to mean. At the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) on Sunday night, August 24, I heard Zac Brown say this to the large crowd:
“We truly appreciate each and every one of you coming. We remember what it was like to play for beer money not so long ago, and we take nothing for granted, I assure you.”
Now, in the sometimes jaded world of big-time rock ‘n’ roll, THAT’s awesome, ladies and gents. And while we’re at it, the music was pretty darned special as well. That seemed to be the consensus in the electric amphitheater and from the jammed (and jamming) lawn crowd. The weather made it a great night to wander and be among the people, as it were.
Not only does the Zac Brown Band have some sparkling originals that span a wide spectrum of genres such as country, reggae, bluegrass and rock (a personal favorite in tonight’s set was “Whiskey’s Gone,” but you could make a case for several others), but spices things up with a similar variety of popular cover tunes, each stylized in their own way and running the gamut from James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” to Metallica’s “Never, Never Land” to Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” and back over to Marshall Tucker’s “Can’t you see?”
The latter tune found me next to a father/daughter combo with Dad explaining to his pre-teen daughter that this was one of Peter Frampton’s biggest hits. I was having such a nice time, as were they, I didn’t have the heart to tell them it was someone else.
So all in all, this was the fourth time I have seen ZBB and he’s yet to disappoint. They are my ‘go-to’ guys for a guaranteed good time. Brown is the new Black – and that’s awesome!