Several classic names, including Herbie Hancock, the B-52’s and Buddy Guy, have been tapped to help celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Music in the Zoo outdoor concert series.
The Minnesota Zoo summer lineup will feature many regulars, including the Indigo Girls, Ziggy Marley and Los Lonely Boys, as well as first-timers Natalie Merchant and Gregory Alan Isakov.
Thirty-one concerts were announced Saturday afternoon at Mall of America with a performance by Eric Hutchinson, who will be at the zoo on Aug. 20.
Newcomers Delta Rae, a harmony-loving sibling folk-rock group, will kick off the series June 14, and Choo Choo Soul, a Disney-launched, hip-hop-inclined kids act, is set for July 9. The only other newish act is Isakov (Aug. 22), an indie folkie who receives some airplay on 89.3 the Current.
Jazz keyboard giant Hancock, who hasn’t performed in the Twin Cities in six years, will be a Minnesota Zoo rookie on Aug. 11. Merchant, formerly of 10,000 Maniacs, will make her zoo debut on July 10. New-wave icons B-52’s will “Roam” the zoo for “Rock Lobster” on July 2.
The lineup is laden with old reliables at the zoo’s 1,500-seat Weesner Amphitheater. Saxophonist Dave Koz has been there so often, in fact, he must have a time share in Apple Valley. He’s back on Aug. 10 with bass master Larry Graham, the Sly Stone and Prince associate who calls the Twin Cities home. Jerry Jeff Walker will spin cosmic cowboy yarns once again on July 21. Steve Earle mixes politics and twang on July 30 and Ziggy Marley finds the reggae groove on June 30.
Singer-songwriter Mason Jennings (June 24) and enduring ’90s rockers the Gear Daddies (Aug. 5) lead the local contingent. Guitar hero Jonny Lang, who launched his career in Minneapolis, is back at Apple Valley on July 14.
Speaking of guitar stars, Rock Hall of Famer and blues champion Guy returns June 16 while Boz Scaggs delivers blue-eyed soul on June 18.
Philly acoustic soul man Amos Lee is booked for two nights (July 18-19) as are the Indigo Girls (Aug. 29-30).
Honky-tonk hero Dale Watson joins Western swing stalwarts Asleep at the Wheel on June 25; he released an album this year with Wheel frontman Ray Benson.
Rounding out the lineup are Dark Star Orchestra (June 22); Mary Chapin Carpenter (July 29); Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo (Aug. 8); Los Lonely Boys and Roger Clyne (Aug. 9); the BoDeans (Aug. 12); Josh Thompson (Aug. 13); John Butler Trio (Aug. 18), and Five for Fighting with a string quartet (Aug. 25).
Tickets will go on sale at 11 a.m. April 22 at suemclean.com/zoo.