Pop Break Live: Zac Brown Band ‘From the Fire Tour’ with Tenille Townes and King Calaway at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ on October 7, 2023
Words + Photos by Julie Hoffman
Zac Brown Band, the multi-platinum, GRAMMY award-winning Southern rock group headlined their FROM THE FIRE TOUR Saturday night (October 7th, 2023) at PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ. Special guests included Tenille Townes and King Calaway.
The show was the last show of the 2023 concert season for PNC Bank Arts Center.
King Calaway is an American – Gibraltarian country band. The band members include Chris Deaton [drums] , Simon Dumas [guitar, lead vocals], Chad Michael Jervis [guitar/ lead vocals], and Caleb Miller [lead guitar]. The band has been mentored by Zac Brown, and Zac produced seven of the songs on their album ’Tennessee’s Waiting’. The group was the opening act and brought high energy and fun songs, perfect for kicking the night off.
Tenille Townes is a Canadian country music singer. This year she received her second country Album of the year for her project Masquerades at the 2023 JUNO awards.
Her performance Saturday night was filled with moving and beautiful country vocals.
Zac Brown Band
Zac Brown band members include:
Zac Brown, the bands founder and frontman [lead vocalist, guitar], Coy Bowles [guitar, keyboards], Clay Cook[guitar, keyboards, mandolin, steel guitar, vocals], Daniel De Los Reyes [drums and percussion], Jimmy De Martini [violin], Chris Fryar [drums], John Driskell Hopkins [bass guitar, guitar, vocals], Matt Mangano [bass], Caroline Jones [guitar, keyboards, vocals]
The night at PNC Bank Arts center was packed with fans eager to dance and sing along with the Zac Brown Band. Cowboy boots and hats were the attire of choice for many.
The ZBB show opened up with Zac performing in front of a large and somewhat sheer sheet, which not too soon after the start of the first song, lifted to reveal the entire band. This caused the crowd to cheer and go wild as he began his first song, ‘Make This Day’.
Throughout the night, the theme of fun, love and friendship could be felt. Zac captivated the audience with his smooth vocals and charismatic stage presence. Each song choice was met with cheers and clapping hands. It was hard not to sing along to the many fan favorites, including several amazing covers.
A highlight of the night included the beautiful tribute to the late Jimmy Buffett. He made an appearance on video during the song ‘Knee Deep’ and you could nearly hear a collaborative gasp emerge from the crowd as the tune started and the screens revealed Jimmy. It quickly turned into more cheers and clapping. The love and friendship between this band and Jimmy is undeniable. Looking around most had tears in their eyes with smiles on their faces. It was arguably one of the most moving moments of a concert I’ve ever experienced.
Zac said he likes to give everyone a voice, and he truly did. Both the opening acts, Tenilles Townes and King Calaway, took turns coming out on stage to sing along with the Zac Brown Band. He also gave each band member their time in the spotlight. Song covers were extremely entertaining and each member brought their own personality to the selection.
Caroline Jones, Zac Brown Band’s first and only female band member, performed one of the most beautiful covers of Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You’. The crowd completely love this, going wild cheering and singing along.
Caroline Jones first opened for the band back in the 2017 tour. After three consecutive years as their staple opening act, she joined the band as a special guest in 2021, and became a full time member in 2022. Zac Brown co-produced her new single ‘Million Little Bandaids’. She is an amazing singer and performer and this was an incredible experience to enjoy her performance as part of ZBB. While also touring with ZBB, she arranged a four night tour at various iconic venues throughout the country titled ‘Barefoot and Pregnant Tour’- a play on her debut album title ‘Bare Feet’ and her current pregnancy. She also performed this night’s show barefoot, which I completely love.
ZBB performed covers throughout the night as well. It’s hard to pick a favorite, each one brought everyone to their feet to dance and sing along. Covers included ‘Margarittaville’ (Jimmy Buffett)- salt, Salt, SALT!, ‘Sabotage ‘(Beastie Boys – because who doesn’t love a good Beastie Boys cover), and ‘With or Without You’ (U2).
The band ended the night with the song EVERYONE was waiting for – ‘Chicken Fried’.