"We're at one big family table. Welcome to dinner time," Zac Brown declared before launching into the homespun hit "Family Table" at the Alaska Airlines Center on Friday night.
The warm and timely musical invitation to gather with friends and family before summer welcomed the crowd into the band's fold. And the multiple Grammy-winning eight-man band held them there for nearly three hours, encore included.
For Brown, Friday's concert was his second Alaska performance in less than a week. Last Sunday, Brown, sans the band, shared the stage with Jewel at Salmonfest on the Kenai Peninsula.
The band is categorized as country, but the boys are clearly lovers of myriad music genres, and they're comfortable, and more than capable, of playing in a smorgasbord of styles.
During the encore, the band tore into the intro of "Smells Like Teen Spirit," and some Jimi Hendrix licks.
Sunny day reggae came courtesy of the Jimmy Buffett-esque "Toes," featuring laid-back lyrics like "got my toes in the water, (backside) in the sand/Not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand/Life is good today." Video of tropical oases, rolling waves and frosty brews completed the sonic scene.
The most emotional musical moment of the night played out against the sweet, slow "My Old Man," a tribute to Brown's dad Jim Brown, Brown's late mentor Rodney Shelton, and fathers everywhere.
The emotions were heightened by the onstage presence of Jim and Brown's son Alexander Frost, 3. Jim Brown held the little boy and stood by Zac's side and Brown family photos flashed on the video screen.
The band also threw in some fun covers, including a fierce and fiery version of the Charlie Daniels Band classic "The Devil Went Down to Georgia."
The band's fantastically fast and nimble Jimmy De Martini played that fiddle hard. And the devil, his fiddling contest opponent, did not get his soul.
The final number of the show was a loyal, less screechy version of Guns N' Roses' "Paradise City."
The audience screamed and stomped for a second encore, but Zac said they'd be back tomorrow night, and they all left the stage for good.
Still hungry for more, the crowd reluctantly got up from their seats at the temporary Zac Brown Band family table.