Meijer Gardens’ amphitheater hosted a Big Easy-themed party on Frday with New Orleans acts spanning the ages and getting fans involved (and on stage). The review and photos.
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As thousands converged Friday evening in Rothbury for the second day of Electric Forest (find full coverage of that event at Local Spins), Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park hosted its own mini-festival-of-sorts for its popular Fifth Third Bank Summer Concerts series.
Crowd favorite Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews — a familiar and welcome face at the popular summer venue — paraded in with his Voodoo Threauxdown, featuring an expertly curated lineup of NOLA musicians representing a variety of styles and eras.
Among those sharing the stage in that easy, special way that New Orleans’ artists always seem to have with one another: Tank and the Bangas (So fun! So fresh!), Big Freedia (Fierce as hell!), Cyril Neville (A legend!) and The Soul Rebels (All the NOLA flavor!).
The stacked and packed lineup also featured a tribute to The Meters with founding bassist George Porter Jr. playing with Dumpstaphunk. Trombone Shorty and his Orleans Avenue band closed out the showcase.
The sold-out crowd sweated and wilted beneath a relentless sun and sweltering heat, which felt not unlike the swampy environs of the bayou.
“This isn’t Michigan hot, this is New Orleans hot!” one woman quipped to me in a Louisiana accent as we sought the briefest of respites in the under-air-conditioned restroom.
KEEPING THE AUDIENCE ON ITS FEET WITH HIGH-FIVE ENERGY
But despite a nearly four-hour runtime in oppressive temps, the audience overall remained active and engaged, ready to spend most of Andrews’ 75-minute, headlining set on its feet for a mix of originals, covers and standards.
Among the highlights of the trombonist/singer/trumpeter’s set were the exuberant show-closer “Hurricane Season” and “Sunny Side of the Street,” during which Andrews showed off his always-impressive breath control and capacity for sustaining a trumpet note well beyond what seems humanly possible.
Another special moment came by way of a young fan being given the opportunity to dance on-stage with Andrews and band, much to her (and the crowd’s) obvious delight.
As he is prone to, Andrews also signed autographs, slapped high fives and wove through the crowd during his time in the spotlight.
Missed Friday night’s party? Andrews and the incredible Threauxdown lineup will perform Saturday night at the Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre in Detroit.
Next up in the Meijer Gardens’ Fifth Third Bank Summer Concerts series is a sold-out concert with The Temptations and Kimmie Horne at 7 p.m. Sunday.
PHOTO GALLERY: Trombone Shorty’s Voodoo Threauxdown at Meijer Gardens
Photos by Steve Baran