After all the mayhem, glory, trouble, acclaim and just plain craziness that Grant Hart has endured in his nearly four decades in the music business — not to mention the house fire he suffered a few years ago — you would think nothing could surprise him anymore. The Twin Cities rock hero had the rug pulled out from him pretty good on Saturday night at the Hook & Ladder in Minneapolis, though. Thinking he was arriving just to share a bill with his pals the Rank Strangers, the former Hüsker Dü singer/drummer and longtime solo artist instead faced an all-star cast of other friends and collaborators who showed up to pay their respects. They included Hüskers bassist Greg Norton, Soul Asylum's Dave Pirner, Run Westy Run's Kraig Johnson, Arcwelder and Babes in Toyland's Lori Barbero, the organizer who wanted to "have everybody come out and show their love for Grant at a time he could really use it." It seemed like Hart — who abhors social media — was the only one in attendance who didn't know about it. "I was truly surprised and flabbergasted," he said when he started his solo set.
Beating Lyme, Ninjas
Plymouth resident Sara Heesen got to show off her considerable muscle on Monday's episode of "American Ninja Warrior." But before stepping onto the course of the NBC reality-competition show, she had to tackle another obstacle. Shortly before sending in an audition tape for the second time, Heesen was diagnosed with Lyme disease. She had started antibiotics before producers told her she had made the cut, but she was drained from the nine months she spent not knowing what she had and not getting proper treatment. "A lot of days were hard to get motivated to get out of bed, but I knew that I had a lot of catching up to do and not a lot of time to do it," said Heesen, who works at the Twin Cities Conquer Ninja Warrior gym. Heesen credits fellow competitor Hunter Guerard, a coach/manager at Edina's Obstacle Academy, for pushing and supporting her during training sessions. The training paid off. Both Heesen and Guerard advanced to the next round, as did two other Minnesotans.
Onstage at Ames Center in Burnsville, Letterman bandleader Paul Shaffer looked like his usual spiffy self. For the first set, he was decked out in a blue brocade suit; for the final segment, he was sporting a black suit that looked to be made out of either high-end pleather or very thin leather. After rocking out with the World's Most Dangerous Band and special guest Valerie Simpson for two hours, Shaffer dressed down for the post-concert meet-and-greet in a Harley-Davidson sport shirt. No, he doesn't ride a Harley. Turns out he'd inadvertently left his street wear in Toronto. "I had to buy something quickly at the airport," he explained.
The Minnesota Zoo amphitheater was overflowing Sunday night with people on their feet who wanted to party to the B-52's, the enduring new-wave band. Drummer Sterling Campbell (remember him from his stint with Soul Asylum?) and bassist Tracy Wormworth (she's played with Sting, Cyndi Lauper and others) certainly did their part, providing the dance rhythms for the SRO nostalgia-loving fans, who remembered the B-52's from their late 1970s hits and/or their '89 and '90 comeback hits. But the three longtime members of the B-52's — vocalists Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson — took a long time to get into gear on Sunday. Maybe Schneider, who's really more of a cheerleader/performance artist than a vocalist, partied too much on Saturday to celebrate his 65th birthday. He and Pierson had hazy memories of their early Minneapolis appearances at the "Horseshoe" bar in the late 1970s. Actually, it was the Longhorn, the area's legendary punk-rock bar.
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