Have you ever been to a concert at the zoo? I can now say that I have – talk about a cool venue! I recently got the chance to visit Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle to see Matt Nathanson and Phillip Phillips. It was hot. It was chaotic. It was confusing. But most of all it was a lot of fun.
Woodland Park hosts a spacious amphitheater area inside of the zoo. It’s a great time for families as it starts early enough in the evening that the kiddos can join in the fun. It seemed a lot of people spent the day at the zoo and used the concert to unwind. A Great Big World opened the evening. While I unfortunately wasn’t able to watch their set, I could hear it from the security lines (no I wasn’t late, I was actually 2 hours early, there were THAT many people). The audience was still settling in after going through the zoo’s first ever bag check (after the tragedy involving Christina Grimmie, they increased security immensely since Phillip Phillips was part of American Idol; better safe than sorry) as the band took the stage. They got a warm welcome but it was obvious not many people knew who they were, until, of course, they busted out their big hit “Say Something.” All in all, it was a nice way to open the evening.
Up next was the incredibly charismatic Matt Nathanson. I have been a big fan of his since college so I was pretty excited to finally see him live. Let me tell you, he did not disappoint. He appropriately opened his set with “Gold in the Summertime,” and we were rockin’ and rollin’ from there. Between songs, Nathanson interacted with the audience and was just as hilarious as I dreamed he would be. He called out audience members on their cell phones rather than enjoying the show, he challenged a group of girls to applaud by the end of the evening (apparently they had an issue with clapping), and he offered to embrace a man in the audience. In addition to calling people out and embarrassing them to the best of his ability, Nathanson also ventured out into the crowd where he had a dance off with a bunch of toddlers, stepped in someone’s hummus, and got his butt grabbed by a mysterious audience member who chose to remain anonymous. In tribute to the late Prince, Nathanson chose to do a cover of “Raspberry Beret” with surprise guess Pat Monahan of Train fame. All in all, Matt Nathanson is a phenomenal performer and, if given the chance, I would see him live over and over again. Did I mention he did a mash up of his best known hit, “Come on Get Higher” with “You’re the One That I Want” from Grease? Yeah, that happened.
After a short break, it was time for Phillip Phillips to take the stage in all his growly Georgian goodness. Phillips provided a nice mix of his well-known songs and sneak peaks of his new songs coming on his third album. While not as interactive as Nathanson, Phillips was a lot of fun to watch live. Unlike most performers, he spoke to his audience as if he was at a block party at home and we were all friends and family, often saying “I hope ya’ll liked that one,” after a song. It was an unnecessary question as the crowd was clearly loving him. His performance definitely got me excited about his upcoming album. I can’t wait to hear the rest!
Overall, the show at Woodland Park Zoo was great family fun and I would absolutely attend their ZooTunes shows again. The show starts and ends early enough that even the kiddos can enjoy and be home by bedtime. This was a great combination of artists and was a perfect blend of good music, good humor, and good company.
For remaining dates of this fantastic tour check out www.phillipphillips.com/tour