As the summer winds down more quickly than any of us want, I was able to squeeze in one more Music in the Zoo show for the season. The Minnesota Zoo concert series, in its 27th season at the Weesner Family Amphitheater, hosts a wide variety of artists throughout the summer.
From the minute I turned into the waiting line to get into the parking lot, I noticed this night was different than others. The place was packed! A sold-out show. But I’ve been to other sold-out shows here that never seemed this busy. It was one of those events where you don’t have cell service because too many people are using the network.
The crowd energy spilled into the amphitheater, as Matt Hires, who feels he plays an above-average amount of shows at zoos, took the stage. I first learned of his beautiful voice from his charitable song “Hold You Up”, where one hundred percent of the net proceeds went to support the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Upper Midwest.
I had found some friends I knew that were there when another nearby fan joined our conversation. Turned out she was a huge Mat Kearney fan, at the show on her own, and since I had 2 tickets in way better seats than she had, I invited her over to my section! Why both enjoy the show alone? I love new friends! And this girl was fun! She knew every single word. Of every single song.
Mat Kearney had never played at the Minnesota Zoo, so we covered all the usual zoo talk, tigers, dad jokes and the fact that we were all sitting in the area where the bird shows take place. It was fun to hear and see him enjoying playing in the space as much as us fans enjoy attending shows here.
I was pleasantly surprised with the number of songs I knew, to which I must thank my Pandora stations. I love how that works out.
The night was a perfect temperature, but also a sign of Fall creeping in. The Minnesota Vikings were playing a preseason game this same night, and in honor of that, the band led, not one, but two SKOL chants. Go Vikes!
During his song “Runaway”, Mat Kearney came out into the crowd, and proceeded to come right down our isle! My new friend, the giant fan, was on top of the world! To finish up his set, he invited this young girl to come up on stage with him, as he went into a sweet rendition of Bob Dylan’s song, “Forever Young”.
Mat Kearney did not disappoint his crowd of loyal fans, stretching the night out a tiny bit longer, officially wrapping up with a rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark”, which we all were.