There’s nothing like hitting the ground running so after driving back from Iowa, taking a quick nap and grabbing a quick dinner, it was back to the races as my friend and I drove to the Minnesota Zoo for our Sunday night show. My exhaustion turned into excitement as we turned onto the beautiful grounds that is the zoo. After a minor freakout over not being prepared with cash for parking (thankfully they do take cards), we parked the car and joked about breaking into the lion and bear habitats before going to the gorgeous amphitheater that is set up right in the middle of it all. It was the perfect setting for a great night out and although it was muggier than all get out, it wasn’t like I hadn’t spent all weekend being nasty and sweaty so what’s one more night of it.
The show started right at 7:30 with Lance Bass (from *NSYNC) introducing the first act. Although he was only there to introduce the musicians and host the night, being able to see Lance Bass in real life was a dream come true. Sure I’ve seen Backstreet Boys a couple of times but I was always more of a *NSYNC girl. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will never see *NSYNC as a group (thanks a lot Justin Timberlake) so being able to see the members do different things on their own (like last night) is definitely a treat. Although only on stage for brief moments of time, Lance had a personality that shined as bright as the sun beating down on the excited audience.
First up was Ryan Cabrera. Known for his legendary frosted tip hair (which he still has by the way), Ryan was one of those underground hearthrobs from my teenage years. Never quite hitting it big (probably because he didn’t have his pals next to him to do synchro dance moves), he always had a great voice and heartfelt songs. Nearly twenty years later, not much has changed about this man. His voice still sounded ground and his frosted hair glistened in the sunlight. He had a great sense of banter as he joked around with the audience about how he thought he was going to be a hit among college women when he came out but ended up performing for mostly eleven year olds. He went on to explain that singing some of his love-song ballads to eleven year olds got super weird super quick so he used to close his eyes while performing. He doesn’t have to do that anymore and had nearly the entire audience swooning within the first song.
After nothing more than just a quick intro by Lance Bass, Ryan Cabrera was replaced by Aaron Carter and I instantly went into fangirl mode. I remember mowing the yard at my mom’s house while listening to Aaron’s album “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It)” from 2000. Things have definitely changed for this young man. He’s no longer the twelve year old tween that he was but it’s nice to see after a less than perfect stint with alcohol, drugs, and eating disorders, he has come out on top and continues to make music. His new material may not be for me (think generic pop radio) but listening and watching him play through a couple of tracks from that iconic 2000 album made his set a true gem of the night. I loved the fact that although majority of the audience clearly only wanted to hear those throwback jams from our youth, they were receptive to his new stuff. I may not be into his EDM drenched style of the present but I truly see a future for this man in the music industry and that made me so happy.
Closing out the night was the one and only O-Town. One of the first “TV Show” bands (this group was formed on the MTV show Making the Band back in 2000), it’s quite shocking to think about how, after all of these years, this formulated band is still out there and still creating new music (they have a new album due out next month). I was never a die hard fan of O-Town as they came out just a little bit before I hit the boyband scene but I was clearly in the minority. As soon as the four members took the stage and audience’s roar of chatter turned into an ear deafening screech which remained a constant between every single song. Sure, teen heartthrob Ashley Park Angel declined to join back up with this band after a long stint of inactivity from 2003 to 2013 but that clearly hasn’t stopped this band from still doing what they do best– synchronized dance moves and beautiful harmonies.
O-Town’s set was short and only lasted about an hour but they definitely fit as much as they could into that hour. Even as the rain started to fall on the audience, nobody seemed to mind much. I mean, hell, they were watching their teenage or even college lives being played out on the stage in front of them. Much like Aaron Carter, O-Town spent their time on stage not only in a cloud of nostalgia, but also proving that they are still relevant by performing songs from their upcoming release. Again, not quite my style but it was so nice to see that this band is still out there and doing their thing.
Staying in last night and recovering from my booze-fueled weekend in Des Moines would have probably been the smart thing to do but, come on, Lance Bass, Ryan Cabrera, Aaron Carter, and O-Town in one show? I just couldn’t resist.
Venue: Minnesota Zoo
Sausage Fest Meter- -10 out of 10
Average Age of the Crowd- 35
Crowd Surfers- 0
Nostalgia-Ability- 9 out of 10
Stage Divers- 0
Broken Bones- 0
Spotted Flying Through The Air- Nothing
Drunkards Taken Out By Security- 0
Celebrity Sightings- None
Overall Score- 7.4 out of 10
Show on Deck- Reel Big Fish/ The Aquabats/ Dog Party
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