The Weesner Family Amphitheater at the Minnesota Zoo was voted ‘the Best Outdoor Music Venue’ by WCCO and for a reason. It’s a great venue for music with terrific acoustics and beautiful surroundings. Concert goers watched the Bengal tigers play in the water across from the amphitheater and dodged miniature frogs on the walkway to the amphitheater. And with no mosquitoes, or other bugs, it was a beautiful to see Trombone Shorty.
Local band Pho opened the evening’s concert. They were formed 5 years ago and have been getting a lot of attention recently. In 2016, Prince viewed a live video online and invited the band to Paisley Park. After appearing at Paisley Park, Prince gave them a standing invitation to return anytime. When Pho started playing, the amphitheater was barely half full and people continued to file in as they played. They played all their own material, which I found enjoyable and will keep an eye on them.
At 8:30, Shorty’s band members (Orleans Avenue) took the stage and played a few seconds by themselves. Then Shorty walked on stage with his arms raised, a trombone in one hand and a trumpet in the other, pumping them in the air. Never having seen Shorty in concert, I had expected a subdued, laid back show with a jazzy vibe. But his entrance was a sign of things to come. Shorty was very animated throughout, playing the trombone like a guitar, swinging, jumping and dancing throughout his set. The audience really enjoyed the performance also. Most people stood, several moved to the aisles and danced as Shorty and Orleans Avenue played. Shorty interacted with all the band members and seemed to really enjoy performing.
Shorty and Orleans Avenue put on a fantastic show and I was glad that I attended. Shorty is definitely a must see and will appeal to many tastes. After seeing Shorty, I will be listening to his music more and doing my own air trombone and I think a lot of others will too.