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Charlie Burton to bring live music back to Zoo Bar on Friday
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Charlie Burton to bring live music back to Zoo Bar on Friday


Charlie Burton, seen here at Lincoln Exposed in February, and his band Or What? will bring live music to the Zoo Bar on Friday, the first show at the club since the coronavirus shutdown in March. 

On Dec. 15, 1973, the Megatones became the second band to play the Zoo Bar.

At 5 p.m, Friday, more than 46 years later, Charlie Burton, the Megatones’ front man, and his band, Or What?, will become the first band to play Lincoln’s legendary roots music club since the mid-March coronavirus shutdown.

“He’s one of the guys who got the Zoo Bar up and running,” said owner Pete Watters. “I thought he’d be the perfect guy to get it going again.”

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A limited number of tickets will be available for Friday’s 5-7 p.m. show. So Watters is anticipating a “sellout” in the club that is operating at 50% of capacity under the directed health measure that requires tables to be 6 feet apart, with no more than six people at a table.

Patrons are also required to be seated, unless they’re going to the bar to order a drink or headed for the restroom. So no rock ‘n’ roll behavior Friday.

Burton has been going into the audience to sing for years. But he’ll have to stay on the stage as the directed health measure also requires performers to be 6 feet away from the audience.

Wednesday, Heather Newman will bring her band up from Kansas City, Missouri, for a 6 p.m. show, the first out-of-town artist to play the Zoo. Again, Watters expects the show to sell out.

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This week’s shows, believed to be the first live music presented indoors in Lincoln since March, are tentative steps to a return of a regular run of bands at the Zoo, Watters said. But he doesn’t want to move too fast to bring bands back, even after state restrictions are eased and capacity increases on Monday.

“I want to see if people want to see us keep doing this,” Watters said. “It’s taking another step. But I don’t want people coming in unless they feel comfortable. That might be awhile.”

Advance tickets for both shows are available at the Zoo, which is open from 5-8 p.m. daily. Tickets are $6 for Burton’s show and $10 for Newman’s.

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Photos: Lincoln during the pandemic

Reach the writer at 402-473-7244 or On Twitter @KentWolgamott  

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Entertainment reporter/columnist

L. Kent Wolgamott, the recipient of the 2018 Mayor’s Arts Award, has written about arts and entertainment for Lincoln newspapers since 1985, reviewing thousands of movies and concerts and hundreds of art exhibitions.

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