The Indy 500 is certainly one of the most iconic events in racing. Its home, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, is also known for the entertainment it provides off the track, creating a point of intersection between
car historyand the music industry.
The Legends Day concert of 2019, headlined by Zac Brown Band, is a particularly memorable example of such an event.
The Indy 500 Legends Day
The Indianapolis Star, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has hosted a number of concerts. For lovers of dance music, there are performances at the Indy 500 Snake Pit party, and Carb Day features music to excite rock fans.
Since its 2014 debut, the Indy 500 Legends Day concert has had a healthy tradition of country headliners, with big names like Jason Aldean gracing the stage.
In 2019, the music of Legends Day delighted country, hip-hop, metal, and pop fans who were treated to the eclectic country-roots sounds of Zac Brown Band at Turn Four of the speedway the day before the big race.
Zac Brown Band at the Indy 500
Zac Brown Band performed a variety of original songs and covers at the Memorial Day weekend Indy 500 Legends Day event.
Their chart-topping hits "Toes," "Colder Weather," and "Chicken Fried" thrilled the crowd, who were also given a sneak peek of two songs, "God Given" and "Someone I Used to Know" from a then-unreleased album.
Covers were plentiful in the setlist, which included the Charlie Daniels Band's "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage," "Enter Sandman" by Metallica, and Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody," which was re-worked with a fiddle.
The Zac Brown Band cover of "Bohemian Rhapsody" generated one of those feel-good sing-along moments that make concerts such transportive experiences.
Country purists got the opening act, Carly Pearce. Along with her own songs, she did covers of Shania Twain, Garth Brooks, and Dolly Parton.
Why pick Zac Brown Band to headline?
They won a Grammy for a reason. The group's decision to play "Sabotage" before "God Given" and to parachute an American flag onto the infield during "Chicken Fried" demonstrated good showmanship.
According to The Indianapolis Star, Zac Brown Band made only passing references to the Indy 500 occasion, but their efforts sufficed.
After all, the band's star power is bright with a host of musicians including talented fiddler and vocalist Jimmy De Martini, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist John Driskell Hopkins, and the man himself, Zac Brown.
Had McLaren driver Fernando Alonso qualified for the 2019 Indy 500, McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown could have shown up alongside the band in a whimsical twist of fate, but it wasn’t to be.
Ultimately, Zac Brown Band's fame, breadth of musical choices, and skill as performers made them a strong choice to headline the Legends Day concert.
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