INDIO - Stagecoach country music festival headliners Zac Brown Band and Darius Rucker earned some of their biggest ovations with cover songs on Sunday night.

The Zac Brown Brown performed Metallica's "Enter Sandman" and The Charlie Daniels Band's "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" during their set while Rucker selected Old Crow Medicine Show's "Wagon Wheel" and Prince's "Purple Rain."

Before the Daniels song, the group described the performer who played the same song less than an hour before on the side Palomino Stage as "a living legend" to cheers while the opening guitar riff of sandman sent the mane stage crowd into a headbanging frenzy.

Rucker's "Wagon Wheel, a hit for him this year, made the crowd line dance, sing, pour beer, join hands together and even play a simulated game of football but "Purple Rain" drew both people leaving for the exits and a singalong.

While the Zac Brown Band are admittedly not one of my favorite acts because I can't get into the way they blend their different musical styles together, there was no denying the effect their well engineered sound and songs had on the rabid audience, which appeared to be the largest for any headliner.

The group performed songs such as "It's not OK" and "Toes" from 2008's "The Foundation" and "Colder Weather" from 2010's "You Get What You Give.


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Rucker, who's baritone sounds exactly the same as it did in the mid 1990's with Hootie & the Blowfish, performed "Only Wanna Be With You" and "Hold My Hand" from his old group as well as 2010's "This" and 2008's "It Won't Be Like This For Long."

I liked Rucker's sound and choice of songs and despite some people leaving during "Purple Rain," it appeared most of the audience appreciated it too.

wes.woods@inlandnewspapers.com