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Seeing seven members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in one night in two concerts in the Twin Cities doesn’t happen too often. It did Saturday night with Crosby, Stills & Nash at the Minneapolis Convention Center for the PACER Center benefit (each is a two-time Hall of Famer, with, respectively the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and the Hollies and, of course, CSN) and Prince with another late-night cameo performance at Paisley Park.Here are separate reports.
Crosby, Stills & Nash
Let’s be honest: The audience at the annual PACER Center benefit is a little bit staid compared to your typical rock crowd; they’re supporting the cause – helping children with disabilities – as much as they are watching musical heroes. Moreover, there was palpable sadness Saturday at the PACER event because the organization’s longtime executive director and cofounder Paula Goldberg’s son, David, 47, a California Internet executive, died unexpectedly Friday. She was not at Saturday’s event.
But somehow the crowd was more into the music than usual, thanks to a stellar performance by CSN. Their harmonies were impressive. So were the solo voices, especially those of David Crosby and Graham Nash. Their duet on “Guinevere” was glorious, an intricate vocal workout.
Stephen Stills, who has sounded ragged in the recent past, held his own vocally, and he was smokin’ on lead guitar, especially on Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” and “Wooden Ships.” The five-man backup band was first-rate all night long.
CSN was generous with its time – they played 80 minutes compared to a mere 47 minutes by Diana Ross last year at the PACER affair – and spirit. Stills spotted a young man in a sear-sucker sport coat about 8 years old dancing with abandon in front of the stage and he pronounced the kid part of the act.
Knowing he was in Minnesota, Stills spoke about Walter Mondale and Bob Dylan. He did an impression of Dylan singing CSN’s “Helplessly Hoping” and did his own version of Dylan’s “Girl from the North Country.”
Nash gave an encouraging shout-out to Joni Mitchell, who has been hospitalized recently but is improving, before singing “Our House.” He joked about the costumed folks heading to ComicCon in another part of at the Convention Center. And he spoke eloquently about PACER and its championing of children with disabilities before closing with the apropos “Teach Your Children,” which turned into a giant sing-along.
Two weeks after doing his own thing to celebrate Record Store Day at Paisley Park, Prince got topical again Saturday night at his studios in Chanhassen. In an invite posted on Twitter, he urged party-goers to wear gray to honor Freddie Gray, who died of injuries while in police custody in Baltimore. Earlier in the week, Prince’s publicist had distributed vague info about Prince recording a new – unnamed – song about the Gray incident. There was no release date but there was a graphic (below).
Prince didn’t offer a preview of the song -- either a recording or a live version -- on Saturday but he did thank the 500 or so fans for wearing gray. With 3rdEyeGirl, he performed for nearly an hour, starting with the timely “Chaos and Disorder” and “Dreamer,” which featured some extended guitar fireworks and an endorsement from Prince about not having to fear the Chanhassen police.
(Tell that to the woman from Philadelphia whose rental car was pulled over after the concert on the grounds that she was allegedly traveling 80 mph on Hwy 5, even though she had driven only from Audubon Rd to Powers Blvd., a stretch too short -- less than a half mile-- in which to accelerate to 80 mph. She didn’t get a ticket or much of an apology from an officer who identified himself as a Carver County sheriff.)
In a set devoid of his own hits, Prince covered the Tommy James classic “Crimson and Clover” and did his own “Guitar,” which segued into the instrumental powerhouse “PlectrumElectrum.” He encored with an interpretation of the Waterboys’ “The Whole of the Moon,” which featured Prince playing some phat and funky bass over a drum loop and no other musicians participating. It was an intriguing performance on a night with a full moon.
Like he did at the Grammys, Prince made a short but pointed speech. At night’s end, he referenced Baltimore, talked about how we need to take care of one another and then declared, “It doesn’t matter the color – we’re all family. You’re family, my family.”
Then, with the drum loop still playing, he sang “Baltimore, Baltimore, Baltimore, peace forever more” and then asked the crowd to sing along.
Don’t know if that’s a line from his new song, a tip of his stocking cap to Baltimore’s Edgar Allan Poe or just a smart ad lib.
One of last year's most popular new entries in the Minneapolis block party circuit is teaming with one of Minneapolis' preeminent skateboard shops for an even bigger affair this year.
P.O.S.'s (Gosh Darn) Best Show Ever** -- which celebrated the Doomtree rapper's rebound from a kidney transplant last summer -- will join forces with Familia HQ Skate Shop & Park for a two-day bash, which kicks off June 12 at First Avenue with a Ying Yang Twins concert and continues June 13 with the block party outside the Familia park, featuring P.O.S., Marijuana Deathsquads, New Orleans' reality-TV and hip-hop star Big Freedia and others.
Located at 835 Hennepin Av. E. in northeast Minneapolis, the skate park will host the outdoor portion of the show to celebrate Familia's 10th anniversary. P.O.S. is well-known to be an avid skater and probably longtime customer of their store. The all-ages party will feature a trick contest sponsored by Thrasher magazine.
FRIDAY, JUNE 12
SATURDAY, JUNE 13
**The block party's name was edited for F-bomb reasons.
The Minnesota Orchestra isn’t the only local institution helping thaw U.S.-Cuba relations with an upcoming concert in Havana. Latin dance mainstays Charanga Tropical -- led by native Cubans Damian Rodriguez and Viviana Pintado with renowned jazz flautist Doug Little – have become the first American group invited to perform at the Danzón Festival in Cuba’s capital city June 24-28. They hope to make the most of the trip, with several gigs lined up and plans to make a live album out of the performances.
Of course, there are still barriers between the two countries that make traveling to Cuba complicated and expensive, especially with a big 11-piece band like this.
“Even though Obama and Raul are now shaking hands, the economic trade embargo and other challenges remain,” explained Little, who has taken prior trips to Cuba as an artist-in-residency.
Toward that end, Charanga Tropical kicked off a Kickstarter fundraising campaign that’s scheduled to wind down Thursday. The group has not even reached the halfway point of its goal of $96,000 to fund the trip and live recording.
To help raise interest, the ensemble is playing a special “Kickstarter Closeout Concert” tonight (Wednesday) at 7 p.m. inside the Landmark Center. Price of admission to the show is a suggested donation to the cause.
Click here to visit their Kickstarter page, which includes a video explaining the efforts. Here's another video showing off the talent involved, from TPT's "MN Original" series.
Pete Townshend has long been a fan of Bob Dylan. He even knows that Dylan was born in Duluth. But maybe he doesn’t know where Duluth is.
On Thursday night while the Who’s farewell tour landed in the Atlanta suburb of Duluth, Ga., the guitarist expressed his enthusiasm for being in Duluth. “Dylan was born here,” he said.
Duluth, yes. But the one in Minnesota, not Georgia.
Read the full report from Melissa Ruggieri at the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Roger Daltrey even set up Townshend’s faux pas.
Maybe by the time the Who comes to Minneapolis on Oct. 10, Townshend won’t get fooled again and he’ll realize that he’s in the state of Dylan.
Whether or not things are looking up on the field, at least you’ll still be able to look up and see some great Minnesota bands performing over the field at Twins games this year thanks to the third annual Midwest Music Showcase. Pohlad-owned station Go 96.3 FM co-curated this year’s series and announced the performers today, with highlights including next week’s kick-off set by pop-punk vets the Magnolias, plus Charlie Parr, the Flamin’ Oh's, Vaski, the White Iron Band and Black Diet.
The shows take place at every Wednesday home game through Sept. 23. Each act plays a short set before the game on a veranda overlooking left field, and then they slide in songs here and there between innings. Click here for our feature on the series from 2013. Here’s the full schedule:
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