Zac Brown Band at Target Center, 11/10/12

Zac Brown Band
Target Center, Minneapolis
Saturday, November 10, 2012

See also: Ten reasons Zac Brown Band will never win us over

No seriously. See also: Ten reasons why Zac Brown Band will never win us over. Never! Read that, and then you'll appreciate why writing this review of Zac Brown Band's Saturday night Target Center performance is gonna be kiiiiiiinda tough because, well, their bass player read that list that we posted on Friday. And then kinda sent us an e-mail asking if we'd like a pair of tickets to the show. "The downside," he offered, "is that we might win you over."

Challenge accepted!

So maybe I'm writing this review with an audience of one in mind, ZBB bassist John Driskell Hopkins, as if for his own amusement. Or perhaps for the redemption of his band -- his band I've so cattily hated on. Or perhaps for my own redemption, as someone who writes catty shit online and then gets called out on it. Or if for none of that, at least in thanks to John for personally hooking us up with some pretty sweet seats to his sold-out show.

But on the other hand, I've got my journalistic (HA!) integrity (HA! HA! HA!) to think of! What to do, what to do...

I will say this: after hearing from Hopkins, I really hoped his band would win me over. Because how do you rip apart a dude who's been charming enough to reach out to his critic in the entirely friendly, good-natured way that he did?

Lucky for me, it turned out Hopkins was right. While I won't count myself a superfan, two songs into their two-hour performance and well, unless I'm to belabor a man's beanie, I realized there wasn't a word I could say to bring these dudes down a peg. It was immediately evident on Saturday that this band brings it. What, precisely, do they bring? Well, in addition to a beanie, a T-shirt cannon, and a dude who whittles on stage (yes - Arrested Development had a "spiritual advisor" on their stage in the '90s, and ZBB today has its own whittler), in addition to all these things, Zac Brown Band brings a palpable energy, as well as commendable positivity, sincerity and heart to their live performance. They also bring a band that can, member-for-member, play the hell out of its instruments, from fiddle to whittle to voice.

I say this not to amuse John Driskell Hopkins, not to redeem his band or myself or to thank him for the great seats (but thanks, by the way!). I say this as someone who walked into the show crabby as all hell. Crabby that the man to my left was wearing neatly-pressed fashion "Western" jeans with just-so distressing on the pockets and perfectly frayed fringe at the ankles dangling over seriously immaculate black cowboy boots. Crabby at the drunk lady behind him who would not stop screaming to her friend down the row, "SO WHAT if I think Taylor Hicks is hot! Is that so bad?!?" Crabby that every single bartender I approached in the lobby put tonic water in my drink when I'd requested soda (why?). Crabby that I had to be downtown on a Saturday night. Crabby that beanies outnumbered cowboy hats in the audience. Crabby that I was in an arena show, because hate is not a strong enough word to convey my feelings about arena shows. Try instead "herpes." "Tax audits." "Wet socks." "Bedbugs." I seriously herpes tax audit arena shows. They're so bad, that I wet sock bedbug them. Never liked 'em.

And yet, two songs in and crabby ol' me found herself having a really good time. I texted my ZBB superfan mom to tell her that sitting through this feel-good, bouncy-happy-music concert, I found that I was the happiest I'd been in weeks.

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