By K.D. Norris
The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park summer concert series, announced this morning, certainly offers something for every musical taste — from the classic rock favorite Jethro Tull (by Ian Anderson) to the college crowd favorite The Shins. It also offers ticket prices ranging from a Huey Lewis high of $95 to a surprising St. Paul low of $35.
Starting June 4 with the teaming of Billy Ocean and Starship in a 1970s and ’80 concert concept called “Replay America”, the Fifth Third Bank Summer Concerts at Meijer Gardens will bring 30 shows to the park’s terraced lawn, 1,900-seat amphitheater.
The Meijer Gardens members pre-sale period will be April 29 through May 12 this season, with general public sale starting May 13. The annual caffeine-driven members rush, or should we say wait in line, starts at 7 a.m. on April 29 at the park.
The most expensive shows this season will be familiar favorites Huey Lewis & The News on Sunday, July 16, at $95 for the public (member pre-sale prices are $5 cheaper); followed by the return of Sheryl Crow there days earlier, on July 12, at $94; and Elvis Costello & The Imposters a day after Huey Lewis, on Monday, July 17, at $90.
The least expensive shows will be emerging “gospel-tinged, retro-soul garage band” sound of St. Paul & The Broken Bones on June 9, at $35, followed by the combination of under-the-radar East Coast jam ban “moe.” and the newgrass sounds of Railroad Earth, on Aug. 21, at $43.
Falling into the “always a great show/always worth the money” category is the annual (usually) perfect summer night with Lyle Lovett and his Large Band, on Aug. 2, coming in at $68 to the public.
For the avant-garde (modern alt-jazz?) music crowd, the teaming of Andrew Bird with special guest Esperanza Spalding, on July 24, will be worth the $45 and worth the time to get out of one’s music comfort zone.
But the must see concert for the cool crowd, and anybody who appreciates inventive, modern alt-pop music, is the The Shins, July 27, at the very reasonable small venue price of $57. The Shins, fronted by James Mercer, will be on the summer festival circuit this year including Lollapalooza 2017 in Chicago.
Some of the other highlights of the concert series will be the sweet sounds of Four Voices: Joan Baez, Mary Chapin Carpenter and the Indigo Girls, on June 12; e Brian Setzer’s Rockabilly Riot!, Boz Scaggs, Barenaked Ladies and Bruce Hornsby — the killer Bs — each having a night on the stage; and Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home tour return with “Love and Comedy”.
The summer unofficially comes to an end on Sept. 1 with the season-closing concert by English reggae and pop band UB40.
For complete information on the concert series, and the various ticket purchase/price options, visit meijergardens.org