It’s Saturday night and it’s time for the last Zoo Twilights of the year. Tonight the inimitable The Specials are doing their bit for the Eastern Barred Bandicoot before they hit the Supernatural Amphitheatre tomorrow night at Golden Plains.

I decide to meet my plus 1 at the front entrance, so I can see some of the animals for the first time this year. Unfortunately, it’s almost 7 when she arrives so most of them are in bed and it feels a bit like the Zooniverse in that episode of The Mighty Boosh where Bainbridge has taken all the animals. There are a few small primates still hanging around though and as we walk through their enclosures we hear the sound of The Breadmakers floating over from the stage. They sound alright, so we hasten our venture with a minor detour to the Tastes of Twilight, via the giraffes.

As the opening squalls of ‘Ghost Town’ blow from the stage I panic – The Specials are opening their set with the only song I know. The crowd stands up almost instantly, abandoning their picnics, and I join them thinking this could facilitate a faster escape if necessary. Fortunately the second song is pretty fun and then the third song is also familiar and I realise, I know at least 2 songs! By the 4th song, it seems that everywhere I look someone  is skanking – often while their young children look on in bemusement. Bad dancing aside, the fun is contagious and I find myself almost joining in. Almost.

Fact is, The Specials performance is nothing short of spectacular. Every note is perfection – yes, even the upstrokes – and tracks I don’t really know like ‘Rat Race’ and ‘Gangsters’ really swing. And everyone there agrees. It’s a perfect end to another great Zoo Twilights series.

Lee Snipes

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