The Zoo Twilights concert series is back, giving us all a chance to enjoy a musical evening at the Melbourne Zoo. On stage this particular evening were the Sunnyboys and the Painters and Dockers, both legends of ’80s Australian rock.
Arriving at gate-opening time, you have over an hour to wander the grounds before the bands take over. While a few exhibits may have closed for the day, the zoo put on two evening keeper talks, the one I saw being with the giraffes. Some of our smaller furry friends can be particularly active as dusk approaches. The meerkats were exuding cuteness, romping around in a pile. The red panda even decided to come down from its resting place high in the branches to take a closer look at us ground-dwellers.
Back at the lovely lawn near the rail gate entrance is where we find the stage. Alongside, a group of food trucks and a drink truck have everything to sustain you while you sit/stand/lie back and enjoy the show.
The Painters and Dockers emerged on stage and showed us the kind of energy that you’d expect from a band in its heyday, pumping up the eager audience. Their brand of irreverent fun included giving a zoo employee the opportunity to get up on stage and dedicate ‘All Men Are Bastards Except Me’ to her ex-husband. Later on, there were more little surprises: Michael Barclay (from Weddings, Parties, Anything) made a guest appearance for ‘You’re Going Home in the Back of a Divvy Van’ and, for their final number, the group was joined by members of the Salvation Army band for ‘Die Yuppie Die’.
After a break, the Sunnyboys appeared exactly on time, as was every other part of the programme, to take us into the night. Their long, well-received set, including “Happy Man”, “Show Me Some Discipline” and “Alone With You Tonight”, culminated in an encore around 9:30pm.
Zoo Twilights has a wide range of acts to appeal to almost any taste in music. There’s tons of free parking, as well as easy train and tram access. It’s a great venue for a night out and all proceeds help to save the eastern barred bandicoot from extinction.
Craig Macbride has a particular appreciation for creatures which wait until dusk to become active, including bandicoots and rock bands.
Melbourne Zoo Twilights has lots of other great bands playing over the summer. See the full lineup and book tickets.
This venue is accessible.