One of the most unique music venues in Minnesota has to be the Weesner Family Amphitheater at the Minnesota Zoo. By day it hosts raptor show and other educational programs but for several nights each summer artists take over. The Music in the Zoo promgram this year has an oustanding lineup booked by Sue McLean and Associates. If you are curious, check out the lineup HERE
Monday Night featured Ziggy Marley as the headliner. After a short walk I through the zoo, I arrived while the soundcheck was still in progress. During the wait the zoo staff prescreened quite a few of the waiting audience making admission a snap once the theater opened.
Minneapolis world pop band New Primitives started the evening. The band has been around for over 15 years and plays a blend of Reggae mixed with other world beats. The 7-piece band started the set with a song dedicated to the ladies and then recalled, that all their songs were dedicated to the fairer sex. The Carbibbean influence was there but with a more jazzy improvisational feel. Judging by audience reaction a cover of “My Girl” was the fan favorite of the set. Overall a cool, smooth band that got us off to a good start.
Ziggy Marley took the stage and opened with “Wild and Free” a song well suited to the Zoo and the trees blowing in the breeze behind him (look up the lyrics, not saying that there are any at the zoo). Bob Marley’s legend will always surround him but Ziggy’s 30+ years of songs let him embrace the spirit as well a be his own force. His music is classic Reggae with a modern feel. He sings about love, freedom and paints a feeling of happiness with his tunes. His set lists was heavy on his just released self titled album and most of the songs were quite danceable, even to Minnesotans.
I have seen the Wailers and most of the other Marley brothers but have to say, for a warm summer evening Ziggy gets my vote. “Love is a Rebel” was a great blend of styles with a good dose of dub towards the end. “One love” got the crowd singing along without any prompting. Ziggy closed the set with the classic “Is this Love” and the brand new “Weekend’s long” sending fans into the night with sun in their hearts and smiles on their faces.
Set List: Wild and Free / Start it Up / Black Cat / Moving Forward / Amen / True to Myself / Butterflies / Forward to Love / One Love / Mars / Beach in Hawaii / Cecil / Love is my Religion / We are the People / Look who’s Dancing / Love is a Rebel / Is this Love / Weekend’s Long