On a perfect summer night, the Woodland Park Zoo’s picturesque North Meadows set the scene for another Zoo Tune concert, where families and folks of all ages enjoyed some good music and dancing; chatted with friends and shared great food.
Boston’s Lake Street Dive set the mood with their bluesy rock, punctuated by occasional jazzy bits: an offbeat here, a trumpet or stand-up bass solo there. They announced that this was their first time playing at a zoo, and that they loved how welcoming everyone had been.
Singer Rachael Price and her powerful voice led the four-piece through their hour-long set, and they celebrated their tenth anniversary as a band by playing the first cover they’d ever performed together, a sensual take on The Jackson Five’s “I Want You Back.” While the crowd seemed to prefer the more upbeat numbers, the other highlight was a ballad announced as a new song by Price.
Pacific Northwest native Josh Ritter (whose parents traveled from Moscow, Idaho to attend the concert) took full advantage of the zoo setting to crack wise throughout the show, warning that there would be lions moseying through the crowd; or that by engaging the crowd in some three-part harmony, they might improve the fertility of the zoo’s pandas.
It wasn’t a surprise to find out that Ritter was adept at personable chatter – the man’s lyrics are often like reading a great short story – in The Temptation of Adam,” the song’s narrator falls in love with his companion in a missile silo.
The song was the first in a brief mid-show solo set, but the rest of the concert featured Ritter’s backing musicians, The Royal City Band, and the crowd was often dancing to their rollicking sound. “Harrisburg,” “Good Man” and “Right Moves” were toe-tapping highlights.