Ezra Ray Hart – Leinie Lodge Stage – Minnesota State Fair – August 31st 2021

Lens on Music at the Fair – Day 6  Ezra Ray Hart

Review and Photos by Patrick Dunn

It was a perfect day to be out at the Minnesota State Fair and there were plenty of live music options across a variety of genres to seek out.  The Grandstand was hosting one of the most anticipated shows in this year’s lineup – The Doobie Brothers 50th Anniversary show with supporting act the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.  For fans of this musical era looking to catch a show, but not wanting to pay for an additional ticket, the Eagles tribute show “Takin’ It To The Limit” at the International Bazaar stage was absolutely the place to be.  Both shows feature classic tunes with signature guitar riffs and next level vocal harmony.

My headlining show choice for the evening once again took place at the Leinie Lodge stage.  Ezra Ray Hart stood out to me as one of the more interesting free stage offerings this season. Listeners most likely to have an interest in this show could immediately break this supergroup’s name down to its members; Kevin Griffin (Better Than Ezra), Mark McGrath (Sugar Ray), Emerson Hart (Tonic).  McGrath’s opening remark to the audience let it be known the band knows what they represent and couldn’t be more proud of it, “We are Ezra Ray Hart, and we are from the 90’s”.  It only took fans about 20 seconds to rush the stage and from that point forward, it was an adrenaline-fueled celebration of hits from each of the three bands plus some other notable tunes including the set ending “Fight For Your Right (to Party)” (Beastie Boys).

Earlier in the day, Pam Tillis entertained fans for a second day on the Leinie Lodge stage and Big Sandy and His Fly-rite Boys closed out the Shell’s Stage for the second evening.