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The Indigo Girls and Minnesota Orchestra Shine in Orchestra Hall Collaboration

Photo by Kathleen Ambre

I know two things to be true about Minnesotans: they are resilient in the face of all weather-related adversity, and they love their folk rock. So it’s no surprise the worst snowstorm of the season couldn’t stop a few thousand diehard fans from making it downtown to see one of the region’s best shows of the year.

On paper, the Indigo Girls’ concert-length collaboration with the Minnesota Orchestra looked like a can’t-miss event. With a deep catalog on top of several mainstream hits over a thirty-nine-year career, the Indigo Girls have carved out their own space in music history.

Photo by Kathleen Ambre

Add decades of legendary shows, and the folk-rock duo of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers have become both a mainstream phenomenon and a deeply beloved, enduring cult favorite. Their legacy, like their music, speaks for itself.

On the other side of the collaboration, the Minnesota Orchestra has over a century of history, with the last fifty years in Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis. Recently they have successfully collaborated with artists outside of the “classical” realm to deliver unique and fascinating performances.

Photo by Kathleen Ambre

With all of that in mind, the expectations for this collaboration were considerable. To the thrill of the fans who filled up Orchestra Hall despite the dreadful weather outside, those expectations were met and often exceeded, bringing out the best of both worlds.

Whether soaring (“Fugitive”) or sentimental (“Power of Two”), the orchestra always seemed to complement Ray and Saliers. By augmenting the songs’ strengths, they added musical and emotional layers that made the music truly pop.

Photo by Kathleen Ambre

The Indigo Girls are seasoned, veteran performers, but came across as very down-to-earth, imbuing each song with the authentic passion they’re known for.

The setlist likely pleased longtime fans, drawing heavily from their late 80’s and 90’s commercial heyday. Swamp Ophelia and Rites of Passage were particularly well-represented, but they also mixed in a few choice later-career cuts like “Damo” from 2010’s Beauty Queen Sister as an excellent and well-paced opener.

Photo by Kathleen Ambre

Of course, they also played the hits. “Kid Fears,” “Closer to Fine,” and “Galileo” all got prime setlist positions, with the latter two leading to bombastic singalongs resonating from the beautiful space. Those moments, like many throughout the show, won’t soon be forgotten.

Photo by Kathleen Ambre

Written by Aaron Williams

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