City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Zac Brown Band Brings In 2012 To a Sold Out, Spirited Crowd At Philips Arena

Zac Brown and the Zac Brown Band performed to a spirited sold out crowd Saturday night at Philips Arena. This marked the second year in a row that the ZBB played on New Year’s Eve at the downtown venue. They were joined by the following artists from Zac’s Southern Ground Artist label: Blackberry Smoke, The Wheeler Boys, Nic Cowan, Sonia Leigh, The Wood Brothers, Sarah Dugas and Levi Lowrey. The ZBB lineup consists of Zac Brown (vocals, guitar, bass guitar, percussion), Jimmy De Martini (fiddle, vocals), John Driskell Hopkins (bass guitar, guitar, vocals), Coy Bowles (guitar, keyboards), Chris Fryar (drums) and Clay Cook (guitar, keyboards, mandolin, steel guitar, vocals). The ZBB has toured throughout the United States, including a slot on the 2009 and 2010 Bonnaroo Music Festival. They have also recorded four studio albums, and charted eight Number One singles on the Billboard country charts: “Chicken Fried”, “Toes”, “Highway 20 Ride”, “Free”, “As She’s Walking Away”, “Colder Weather”, “Knee Deep” and “Keep Me In Mind”, in addition to the single “Whatever It Is,” which peaked at number 2 on the same chart.

AJC photographer Robb Cohen covered the event with his camera. Check out online photo gallery. What did you think of the show?





What is your favorite ZBB song? Which of the Southern Ground artists do you enjoy?

(Photo Credit: Robb D. Cohen/  For other concert photography linked to Access Atlanta, please visit  Atlanta concert galleries.)

24 comments Add your comment


January 1st, 2012
9:36 pm

What an amazing concert! I was celebrating my 40th Birthday, and I have to say I wouldn’t have wanted to do it any other way! Very impressed with most of the opening acts also. The only thing I can say is, I was a little confused by the song he chose to end the night, kind of a headbanging, profanity laced song that didn’t seem to go with the rest of the night. Just kind of didn’t end it on a good note for me after such an incredible night. Overall best concert I have ever attended!


January 2nd, 2012
8:16 am

You incorrectly have Clay Cook labeled as Coy Bowles in your photo gallery. Awesome show! 2nd NYE spent with ZBB. Loved every second, and loved the Rage Against the Machine to close out the show.


January 2nd, 2012
9:50 am

I totally enjoyed the concert! Some of the opening acts were good, some were not. Zac Brown Band did a great concert, especially loved Jimmy D’Martini. He’s incredibly talented. There was one downside – the ending song. I didn’t even know it had a name until I read the post by Joe. I thought it ended an amazing concert on a bad note. After hearing all the songs we love and they had just finished “Chicken Fried”, why did they feel the need to go into a song where ever other word was the “F” bomb? It was innappropriate in my book. I just don’t think it was needed. End the concert on an up beat note. Still glad I went though, I just wish I had left when he said “Take the children home before this last song.”

[...] the second year in a row, the Zac Brown Band rang in New Year’s Eve with a show at Philips Arena in Atlanta: Zac Brown and the Zac Brown Band [...]


January 2nd, 2012
10:27 am

Hey Lisa, he did tell you to take the kiddies home, like 12 times, before launching into the last song.


January 2nd, 2012
1:48 pm

Great show. ZBB was awesome as usual. And the Wheeler Boys were amazing- great energy!


January 2nd, 2012
2:11 pm

He did warn us before the last song – but there was no warning that the rap group in the opening would have the filth and inappropriate language and content in their performance. Rather, Zac encouraged us to be open to the “diversity.” I was very disheartened by that and even though the performances by ZBB and many of the other opening acts were impressive – I will not go back to a ZBB concert. He can’t have it both ways. You can’t warn us that the kids should not listen when you have already encouraged them to listen to something that was filled with cursing and other content not appropriate for their ears. I am glad my child was not in the audience.


January 2nd, 2012
2:34 pm

RT, as someone who was at the show, you can’t single out the rap group, The Wheeler Boys, for foul language when the southern rock group, Blackberry Smoke, sang just as vulgar lyrics, if not more inappropraite in the fact you could clearly understand every word. I really enjoyed all the acts, it was appaling to hear people boo a talented group who were giving it their all. Just because rap might not be your particular cup of tea, doesn’t mean they don’t deserve as much respect as everyone else recieved. Obviously Zac sees a lot of promise in this group, as he has signed them to his label. Also, if you are a loyal ZBB follower you know that he will rap during a song at most of as shows as well as have his bodyguard come out on stage and rap as well. And he has lyrics in his songs which are not appropriate for children, Whiskey’s Gone anyone? If you want a child approprate show, take em to see the Wiggles.


January 2nd, 2012
4:00 pm

for those wringing their hands over occasional profanity, get over yourselves. your kids aren’t damaged by profane language. however, they may be damaged by being subjected to such poor quality music.


January 2nd, 2012
5:39 pm

Yes, I know he did warn us but I still feel it was out of place. And reno88, it was “occasional profanity”, the last song probably used the “F” word 40+ times. I found it interesting on one hand that Zac Brown is trying to raise money for a camp for kids, which is admirable yet on the other hand he sang a song full of the “F” word railing against the establishment and authority. If I had young children, would I want that kind of influence? Ok, I’m sure he wouldn’t use that language around the camp kids but he really should think of the impression he leaves with an arena full of people.


January 2nd, 2012
5:41 pm

I meant to say “wasn’t occasional profanity” instead of was. And Hattie, I didn’t want a “child appropriate show” but there are a lot of adults who do not wish to hear explicit lyrics and the “F” bomb dropped. Zac Brown is talented and he doesn’t need to rely on that to make his concert great. I enjoyed the rest of the songs. I had never heard them live before and I did not know what to expect.

Jacob Loan

January 2nd, 2012
6:08 pm

We had skyclub seat and the sound was aweful! You couldn’t understand a word they were singing. Zac’s band was better but next time I’ll be on the floor instead of so high up. I feel like I got screwed out of hearing him at his finest.

Wheels fall off boys

January 2nd, 2012
6:49 pm

The Wheeler Boys were terrible. I would be willing to bet less than 100 people at that concert enjoyed hearing them. When the only words you could understand were mother f er, you know it’s bad. Many people were disgusted with them.


January 2nd, 2012
8:17 pm

Quit you’re bitching people. At least ZBB warned you guys there was a song with obsenities coming!! I think it’s AWESOME he covered Rage Against The Machine!! They are were an awesome band!!! I agree the Wheeler Boys were HORRIBLE, I’ve not heard people booed like that in quite a while. Kudos to Zac for not only trying to diversify his own label but HIS show as well. I really hope he doesn’t let naysayers effect any other bands he might want to cover in the future!


January 3rd, 2012
1:19 am

Used to go see Zac all the time in college at small bars before his “radio days.” He used to cover Rage Against The Machine all the time. Glad to see he is still doing it

Mr. C

January 3rd, 2012
12:39 pm

I enjoyed the show very much. The acts I did not care for we just got up and walked around until they were finished. When they announced this show they said he would feature many different acts, or as they say “special guests”. We got to see some new groups and most importantly ZBB put on a great show. We left right before the final song so we left with a smile on our faces.


January 3rd, 2012
2:10 pm

i was on the very last row….. It was still the best concert ive ever attended.


January 3rd, 2012
4:10 pm

The only word I would use to describe the Wheeler Boys experiment would be “weird.” It was a weird choice of act, weird choice to put them in the lineup where he did and weird reaction from the crowd–booed the second song and cheered the third song? As far as I’m concerned, Zac can do whatever he chooses with his shows and record label (his money), but the Wheeler Boys’ appearance definitely affected the vibe of the show (the crowd’s reaction has as much to do with this as anything), and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of his fans avoid live shows in the future. I, too was also a little disapointed in RATM song at the end, but that’s really only because I didn’t know the song and would have hoped for something more along the lines of the “Can’t You See” cover he had already done. Awesome show and nobody can ever doubt the band’s effort or Zac’s willingness to stick his neck on the line for what he believes in, but it did have some odd moments.

ryan b

January 3rd, 2012
8:47 pm

i loved everything EXCEPT the wheeler boys.. I didnt hear anything original or talented in there two too many songs. All they did was ruin my buzz

Robb Cohen

January 4th, 2012
4:02 pm

SW, I believe the crowd cheering the final song of The Wheeler Boys was a sarcastic message that the crowd was glad they were finished.


January 4th, 2012
10:02 pm

Rena Jones And for all of you who thought you were Judges on The ‘Gong Show”,and BOOED the Wheeler Boys—>The last song that Zac Brown and his band sang ‘,WAS DEDICATED TO YOU’ !!!!Cheers Zac Brown Band and to ALL Southern Ground Artists.Follow your Dreams and may they come true in 2012.Happy New Year!!!!!!
2 hours ago ·

Jim Knox

January 4th, 2012
10:05 pm

For those of us that have been following Zac since 2004, you know that the RATM song has been a staple in his set list for years. I wonder what the reaction would have been if he had played “Big Fat Bitch.” I’m just glad he still has the balls to play these songs. As far as the Wheeler Boys are concerned, I wasn’t there but I can only imagine.


January 5th, 2012
10:37 am

You people are hilarious. ZBB is really more of a jam band than that of a pure country band, and they love to experiment with all kinds of genres: rap, r&b, blues, country, rock, etc. I think it keeps the shows fresh. I’m just glad all you whiners weren’t at the Southern Ground Music Festival in Charleston where they did a straight cover set of Panic, Rage and Pink Floyd. Thank goodness you all got your Cchicken Fried or there would have been a rebellion. And as for all the booers of the Wheeler Boys: I hope someone boos your kids when they try to accomplish a dream.

Adrianne Williams

January 6th, 2012
10:45 am

This was a wonderful New Years Night. It was the first New Year that my husband and I have ever spent alone. (With no children). ZBB put on one awesome show! I was amazed at all the good acts that are signed to the Southern Ground Label. They were all awesome. But of course the Best was Zac Brown Band! They were as always awesome! It was definitely a night to remember! Thanks to all that were there @ Phillips arena on 12/30/11-1/1/12. It was amazing!!