Matisyahu 07/28/11

Oregon Zoo – Portland, OR

Words/Photos by jakobross424


Jewish reggae singer/rapper Matisyahu’s show at the Oregon Zoo was a show that I didn’t even plan on going to. I was a fan of Matisyahu, don’t get me wrong, but the two tickets were for my mom and dad. When my mom was in too much pain to attend the show, it was my turn to step up. The drive to the zoo was about 2 and a half hours including Portland rush hour traffic, but it wasn’t too bad. We got to the zoo and waited for them to open the amphitheater.

At 5:00 pm, the zoo amphitheater opened and everyone was allowed to go in and chill for two hours until opening act Tea Leaf Green came on. My dad and I found a spot relatively close to the stage to set up our blanket. We grabbed a Caesar Salad, got our merch, and were eager to find out whether Tea Leaf Green was any good or not, having not heard them before.

At 7:00 sharp, Tea Leaf Green came on stage. They were a four-piece jam band, and by jam band I MEAN jam band. They played 7 songs during their 45 minute set, and the first song alone was like 11 minutes. They weren’t that great, and I probably wouldn’t buy their album or see them live again. They just didn’t do anything for me. When their set ended, my dad and I made our way into the small pit that was right in front of the stage, and waited 30 minutes for Matisyahu to grace our presence.

At 8:15, a guitarist, a bassist, and a drummer came on stage and started jamming a little. I recognized them as Dub Trio, Matisyahu’s backing band. All we had to was wait for the Hasidic Jew to come on stage. And he did. Matisyahu came on stage and didn’t have much stage presence during the first song. He kinda just stood there with his eyes shut like he was afraid of us. He soon realized that we were a good crowd, and he started dancing like no one was watching. It was like a mix of break dancing and river dancing. And it was cool.

“It smells like a zoo up here,” he said, before breaking into “Sunshine,” a new song, which hints that a new album is in the works. A few songs later, Matisyahu broke into “Youth,” and it was almost like he was in Rage Against the Machine he had so much energy. Towards the end of the song he jumped into the crowd twice, and both times he was right on top of me, which was cool.

He played more songs than I expected, with a setlist that included Jerusalem, Exaltation, and ending the first set with King Without a Crown. After a good 4 minutes of chanting and cheering, everyone came back on stage, and Matisyahu played a long and chilling version of Silence. He then started beat boxing, which was definitely one of the highlights of the show.

He then broke into One Day, which is the song you probably know from that movie trailer or that tampon commercial. There was more marijuana in the crowd than I was expecting, especially since this was more of a family-friendly show. There were even little kids on their dads’ shoulders….standing next to a pothead. It was a bit sad to see that, but the overall show was amazing! I highly recommend seeing Matisyahu, he is great live and a must see if you are Jewish.



My name is Jakob and I listen to a lot of music. I also attend lots of concerts. That is all.
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