Friday, July 16, 2010

Wild Accompaniment at the MN Zoo

I've been at the Minnesota Zoo Amphitheater three times in a week, MC-ing for some pretty sweet shows presented by Sue McLean & Associates, including Joan Baez, Greg Brown and Mary Chapin Carpenter with local boys The Pines.

I was contemplating just setting up a cot with the bears, but there was actually plenty of wildlife without adding more excitement to the mix. Here's a log of the animal activity during the shows:

1) No summer show in Minnesota would be complete without our state bird--the mosquito. The afternoon storms brought them out in full force the night of Mary Chapin Carpenter's show. Luckily she came prepared and walked out with a big can of bug spray.

2) During Mary Chapin's set there was a bullfrog that must have been right at the lagoon by the stage, and it went all night long, providing a steady beat--sometimes with the music, sometimes not.

3) Just as everyone was getting used to our friend the bullfrog, a bird let out an awful cry and dive-bombed the audience, just missing our heads before swooping down the stage--at which point, Mary Chapin pulls out the bug spray and gets everyone laughing. I didn't get a good look at the bird, but Jennette who was with me said it was a duck, which seemed crazy to me. I found out later that it was a mamma that got separated from her ducklings. Later the zoo was able to reunite the family--a happy ending.

4) Before Greg Brown got on stage last Friday, I was telling him about the duck incident, and he said that he remembered doing a show at St. Paul's World Theater (now the Fitzgerald Theater) where a bat flew at him. Sure enough, when Greg was in the middle of his set Scott and I spotted a bat flying about. He seemed to leave the band alone, though.

5) When Joan Baez got on stage this Tuesday, she said she heard about the bullfrog from Mary Chapin's show, and she was hoping to hear one during her set. She then proceeded to do the best human imitation of a bullfrog I've ever heard. We never did hear a real bullfrog during her set, but when Emily and I were walking back from scoring free fries from the closing food kiosk, we heard an animal let out some crazy groaning sound that we never did identify. My best guess--a moose.


3shells said...

This review makes me want to go to a show at the Amphitheater.

Matt Winters said...

This review reminds me of the shows at the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where the peacocks would always sing along (e.g. with John Gorka)!

Ellen Stanley said...

Gorka, Gorka!