As an avid Music in the Zoo concert series goer, I was excited for the Guster show! It was a beautiful yet unusually cool July evening at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley as Guster played to a sold-out crowd.
The Weesner Family Amphitheater was nearly full by the time opener Van William began. With a style similar to the headliner, they proved to be one of the best opening bands I’ve seen in years. The lead singer and front man kept our interest as we watched his feet jumping and dancing around the stage. As many artists at the Minnesota Zoo do, they mentioned hanging out with the tigers earlier in the day. It makes me wonder – does the green room look at the tiger cage?
As Guster took the stage, lead singer and guitarist Ryan Miller exclaimed, “We feel at home here, it’s like I’m in my living room, in my underwear. We’re only going places we love, playing songs we love, in these two weeks.” This American alternative rock band from Boston, Massachusetts greatly appreciates its Minnesota supporters!
On stage, between his keyboard and his xylophone, Miller played a variety of instruments, including an organ. He even got down in the pit, hands in the air, dancing with the people, where he exclaimed, “THAT’S being alive!”
This was not only a concert! This guy is a comedian too. He talked and joked between most of the songs. “I’m not mad at you,” he said to the sitters, “I get it, I’m getting older too.” But Guster quickly brought the entire crowd to their feet. Everywhere I looked, heads were bobbing, shoulders swaying, and people smiling. Guitarist and vocalist, Adam Gardner’s voice filled the night air with a calm and dreamy vibe.
This kind band even accommodated the request of a newly engaged couple, which lead to an impromptu rendition of “Ross and Jenny, did it in the Zoo.” Keeping the comedy going, they surprised us with an Adam Sandler-esque song “Just when you thought it couldn’t get any whiter, a Jew from Texas,” about the Zoo!
Guster did not disappoint, playing several of their better-known songs, a few new ones off their upcoming album, as well as some really old ones. Between the numerous instruments, horns, and harmonizing voices, the night air was filled with lighthearted joy and a sense of peace. I appreciated their comedic honesty about the encore process! After just a moment off stage, they quickly returned, ending with “Happier” meer minutes before the Zoo’s strict 10:30 p.m. curfew.
“It’s been a joy, we’ll see you next time.” – Ryan Miller, Guster