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Live at the Garden

Summer Concert Series

Story by Emily Adams Keplinger   | Photos by Don Perry 

It was a night of retro reverie as hundreds of people flocked to the Memphis Botanic Garden to enjoy an evening under the stars with not one, but two, iconic new wave bands — Boy George & Culture Club and The B-52s. The concert was part of this summer’s Live at the Garden lineup.

“It is always our intent to offer different genres of music among the 5-show series, and this year’s lineup is a great representation of that goal. It’s awesome to see Memphians get excited about the concerts. With Boy George & Culture Club and The B-52s, this was our third sold out show of the season,” said Sherry May, co-director of Live at the Garden - Memphis. 

Some concert-goers came with tables and chairs, others brought blankets and quilts, but all of them set up on the garden’s lawn for an evening of entertainment. There were also reserved tables in front of the stage that offered VIP seating. Along with a choice spot on the lawn, guests in that area were also treated to a light supper provided by Agave Maria. The buffet included ceviche, elote, charro beans, Southwestern egg rolls, and tacos with shredded brisket and shredded chicken.

Setting the tone for a fun and funky flashback, The B-52s took the stage and wowed the crowd with their signature new wave sound, often described as a combination of dance and surf music. It seemed everyone was singing along to hits like “Rock Lobster,” “Planet Claire,” “Hot Lava,” and “Mesopotamia.” People got to their feet to groove as the band closed their set with “Love Shack.”

George Alan O’Dowd (aka Boy George) warmly greeted the sea of people, thanking them for coming out on such a hot night to hear “a Funk, Punk and Reggae combo band from the UK.” Boy George & Culture Club, considered by many to be one of the most influential groups of the 1980s, took the crowd on a nostalgic trip with tunes “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me,” “I’ll Tumble For YouTime,” “Karma Chameleon,” and “It’s a Miracle.” 

“Now in its 18th year, our Live at the Garden concert series is a music-lover’s dream come true,” said May. “This summer the last show will be on September 7. All proceeds from the Live at the Garden concert series benefit the mission of the Memphis Botanic Garden.” 

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