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Live at the Garden

Summer Concert Series

Story by Emily Adams Keplinger  | Photos by Baxter Buck 

Part party, part picnic — that’s what thousands of people experienced as the Live at the Garden Series brought Lionel Richie to the stage at the Memphis Botanic Garden for one of its summer series concerts. The stop in Memphis was part of the popular singer/songwriter’s “Hello!” tour.

Some concert-goers came with lawn 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 treated to a light supper buffet provided by Local On The Square. The menu included pasta salad, fruit salad, barbecue sliders, chicken bites, and pretzels with buffalo chicken dip and jalapeño popper dip. Donut holes from Howard’s Donuts offered a sweet ending to the meal.

For those in the general lawn area, people could bring their own food and drink, preorder a meal from one of the Live at the Garden caterers or opt for fare from several food trucks.

The outdoor concert under the stars attracted a decidedly adult crowd. Richie offered them a dose of nostalgia with hits from when he was a member of the funk and soul band, The Commodores, to songs from his solo career, which he launched in the early 1980s. Richie opened with “Running with the Night” and followed with “Easy Like Sunday Morning.” Many members of the crowd sang along to old-school favorites like “All Night Long,” “Sail On,” “Dancing on the Ceiling,” “You Are,” “Penny Lover,” “Hello,” and “Endless Love.” But when Richie growled his iconic “Owwww” to the first strains of “Brick House,” it seemed everyone jumped to their feet and began to dance and sway.

“Now in its 19th year, the Live at the Garden series offers guests a fun way to celebrate summer with a star-studded line-up that takes place on our 96-acres of unsurpassed natural beauty,” said Sherry May, co-director of Live at the Garden - Memphis. “Our Live at the Garden concert series is a music-lover’s dream come true. All proceeds from the Live at the Garden concert series benefit the mission of the Memphis Botanic Garden.” 

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