It was without a doubt one of the more bizarre incidents to ever occur during a Concerts in the Garden performance at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. And no, we’re not referring to the time British songstress Joan Armatrading attempted to silence the chorus of bullfrogs annoying her in the Midtown tourist attraction’s reflecting pool. But the small body of water running in front of the Great Lawn did play a role in the venue’s now-infamous altercation in the summer of 2010 during a sold-out show with acoustic duo She & Him. The act consists of folk performer M. Ward and indie actress Zooey Deschanel, the star of this season’s breakout Fox hit sitcom,”New Girl.” In addition to gracing this week’s cover of TV Guide, Deschanel went on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” Friday night to promote the show and to discuss the duo’s brand-new holiday album, “A Very She & Him Christmas” due in stores Oct. 24.
Unfortunately for the image of Atlanta, the part-time chanteuse trotted out the tale of their Atlanta Botanical Garden debut for Leno and his millions of viewers, much to the delight of the studio audience. “We’ve had some weird ones,”Deschanel told Leno of She & Him’s various concerts around the country. “We had a show last summer in Atlanta at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. It was the summer time. That night, a storm was threatening the show. Our opening band only got through two songs and they had to be taken off stage and they had to take the entire audience out to a storm shelter. The storm passed and everyone came back. At that venue, they have subscribers who are like supporters of the botanical gardens. They’re fans of plants and stuff. It’s like maybe an older crowd, [who drink] chardonnay. And then you had the fans of our band.”
Leno interjected: “The pot smokers.”
Zooey Deschanel nodded and continued: “Anything’s possible! I guess there was some tension between the people who bought tickets to our show and the subscribers who were sitting in the front row with their lawn chairs. I guess this one guy had maybe taken something . . . hallucinogenic . . . and he was going crazy the whole show. Crazy dancing. The people in the front row were not happy. There was a lot of weirdness.”
As attendees who were there can attest, things got decidedly weirder at the end of show that humid July night. “We came out for the encore which is a very quiet song,” recalled Deschanel to Leno. “Things came to a head. Halfway through the song, this man jumps into a pond full of rare lily pads and starts splashing the entire audience. And then the guys with the chardonnay go after this guy! But he was too slippery to catch. It sort of made for an interesting show.”
Thankfully, garden reps are maintaining a sense of humor about their latest national TV exposure. They’ve shared the video link in emails with the tongue in cheek subject line: “BREAKING NEWS: The Garden Makes Jay Leno!!!”