Josh Thompson - Weesner Family Amphitheater

Lions and Tigers, Chris Hawkey and Josh Thompson, Oh My!

by Molly Pass

     From the World of Birds show by day, to concert venue by night, the Weesner Family Amphitheater at the Minnesota Zoo is such a cool place! Sue McLean and Associates with the help of US Bank Flex Perks are in their 25th Year of Music in the Zoo concert series. On 8/13/17, Chris Hawkey and Josh Thompson and their bands took the stage of the amphitheater that is located along the Northern Trail of the Minnesota Zoo neighboring the Caribou, Moose and the Tiger Lair.


     As you walk into the amphitheater, you walk down the stairs into your seats. It doesn’t matter if you’re seats are right, left or center stage, there is not a bad seat in the house! With the small pond and countless trees in the background of the stage, it makes it appear as if this stage is in the middle of no where. This super intimate sound stage guarantees for a good time!


     In addition to the beautiful layout of the amphitheater, the staff at the concert were very organized and helpful! Although the rain was off and on all night, the show went on! There were no delays due to the weather because they were prepared for anything.


     There’s nothing better then listening to country music in the great outdoors of Minnesota, and Music in the Zoo gives you the ability to do just that!


Chris Hawkey

     The rain tarps were removed and Minnesota boy, Chris Hawkey, came to the stage with his band.  He came out saying they were going to play “just loud enough to wake the tigers up” before he began with the song, “Party in Your Town” from his most recent album, Shine.


     Hawkey made a deal with the crowd when he said, “If you’re going to sit in the rain, then I’m going to stand in the rain with you tonight.” He did just that!  Chris Hawkey was up, down and all around the amphitheater having a good time with his fans! He had the crowd helping him sing “Shotgun DJ,” “My Kinda Crazy” and his newest single, “Northern Lights.”


     Before leaving the stage, Hawkey had the whole crowd on their feet singing “My Favorite Song.” If you haven’t gotten to see Chris Hawkey perform yet, then I would find a show to attend because WOW! He sure knows how to have the crowd singing, laughing and having a good time. That man has a killer voice and he really knows how to put on a show!



Josh Thompson


     After the set change, Josh Thompson took the stage ready to keep the fun going. He came out singing three songs in a row which included “Turn it Up,” “Blame it on Waylon,” and “Same ‘Ol Plain ‘Ol Me.”


     He sang a few more songs from his most recent album, Change, the Lost Record, which included “Over Me,” “Change” and “Daddy Had A Beer.” He also kept the energy high with some of his older songs such as “Wanted Me Gone,” and “Cold Beer With Your Name On It.”


     Thompson also had his new band member, Matt, sing a song as a welcoming ritual into the band. He sang “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” by The Tokens in honor of being in the Zoo. Josh Thompson was all laughs as his band member rocked out.


     The crowd was also able to hear Thompson sing Jason Aldean’s “Any Old Barstool” which Thompson wrote. He closed his time on stage with “Way Out Here” and “Beer on the Table” which had the crowd singing and dancing. It was a good end to a great night of music!


     Both artists shared their opinions about being able to perform at the amphitheater. Chris Hawkey said, “We’ve played at a lot of different places, but this amphitheater is the best sounding in this area for sure! It is one of the best places for a band to play because the acoustics are awesome!” Josh Thompson’s review was similar when he said, “This is a great place you guys have here! You’re so lucky to have this in your area.”


     We definitely agree with what the artists shared! The Amphitheater at the Minnesota Zoo is must go to venue in order to experience the incredible sound and the beautiful atmosphere that is has to offer!

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