The animals of the Oregon Zoo might as well be living in Guantanamo Bay—or at least in the town from Footloose. Within the animals’ gilded cages, rock ’n’ roll is contraband: A sign at the zoo’s entrance warns that all “noise devices” are strictly prohibited, with illustrations of a speaker and a guitar provided as examples of banned items. This is grossly unfair. Every summer, plenty of “noise devices” are allowed beyond the gates, as part of the zoo’s Summer Concert Series. Apparently, inside the walls of this maximum-security menagerie, the right to party applies to humans only. No one even bothers to consult the residents on what they’d prefer to hear.
That’s why, on a soggy afternoon, we risked banishment by smuggling in a portable speaker and treating these furry prisoners to the sounds of three upcoming zoo performers—yuppie-rock icon Huey Lewis and New Wave darlings the B-52s and the Go-Go’s—and observing their reactions to gauge who, if any, they’re most excited to be hosting.
GAZELLEHuey Lewis: Turns head in general direction of the music. Continues chilling on the wet grass.
The B-52s: Glances around more desperately. Ultimately keeps chilling.
The Go-Go’s: Stands up, gradually retreats further into the enclosure.
Conclusion: Gazelles fear Belinda Carlisle.
GIRAFFEHuey Lewis: Stares directly at source, enraptured.
The B-52s: Looks disappointed, as if it wanted more Sports.
The Go-Go’s: It really just wants to hear “The Power of Love.”
Conclusion: Giraffes are basically your dad.
MALAYAN SUN BEARHuey Lewis: Huey wants a new drug. Sun bear wants, like, grubs or something.
The B-52s: Turns its back on “Rock Lobster,” sits down.
The Go-Go’s: Returns to foraging.
Conclusion: New Wave never came to Southeast Asia, apparently.
ELEPHANTHuey Lewis: A whole lot of plodding going on. And urinating. From their massive elephant penises.
The B-52’s: Kate Pierson’s voice causes Packy to lose his shit. Literally.
The Go-Go’s: A zoo employee appears, forcing us to abort mission.
Conclusion: Elephant genitals are frightening.
MANDRILLHuey Lewis: Thirty seconds into “Heart and Soul,” the clown-faced primate drops its chew stick, clearly disgusted with the overly slick ’80s production.
The B-52s: Eyes dart rapidly, as if searching for a memory from its youth.
The Go-Go’s: Chews dispassionately; leaves tumble from its mouth.
Conclusion: Mandrills dig the B-52s. Makes sense: Their snouts look like one of the band’s album covers exploded in their face.
COUGARHuey Lewis: Prowls. Looks up in recognition. Continues prowling.
The B-52’s: Licks grass.
The Go-Go’s: Continues licking grass.
Conclusion: Frankly, cougars are probably most excited about Chris Isaak coming in August.
SEE IT: Huey Lewis and the News play the Oregon Zoo, 4001 SW Canyon Road, 226-1561, on Saturday, July 6. 7 pm. Sold out. The B-52’s and the Go-Go’s play Sunday, July 7. 7 pm. $41.50-$61.50. All ages.