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One of the top names in our recent list of “most overdue acts” in Twin Cities concert, Stevie Wonder will finally return to Minneapolis to perform at Target Center on March 29, his first local gig in 27 years. As if that doesn’t make it special enough, the concert is part of his “Songs in the Key of Life” tour, in which he performs a live adaptation of his landmark 1976 album.
Tickets go on sale Jan. 24 at 10 a.m. for $39.50-$149.50 plus fees through AXS.com, 1-888-9-AXS-TIX or the arena’s box office. Pre-sale offers begin Tuesday through Citi Card Private Pass.
Wonder’s last local concert was back in 1988 at St. Paul’s long-defunct RiverFest. The Detroit-bred Motown music legend, 64, eschews conventional touring and mostly plays sporadic fly-in dates. Ours is only one of 10 spring dates announced today. He kicked off his “Songs in the Key of Life” itinerary at Madison Square Garden in early November and has been earning raves for it. The Grammys are hosting a special tribute concert in Wonder's honor next month, which will air on CBS on Feb. 16 and include guests such as Willie Nelson, Chris Martin, Usher and Ed Sheeran.
A double-album that capped off a string of classic early-‘70s LPs, “Songs” was ranked No. 57 in Rolling Stone’s list of rock’s 500 greatest records. It includes the hit singles “Isn’t She Lovely” and “Sir Duke” along with topical deeper cuts such as “Black Man” and “Village Ghetto Land.”
After soaking up a gorgeous Twin Cities summer night in 2012 as one of the headliners of Live Nation’s quickly unplugged River’s Edge Festival, the Dave Matthews Band will be stuck indoors again when it returns to our amphitheater-lite metro area in the heart of next summer. The Virginian hippie-rockers have booked a July 1 date at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Tickets for most the group’s summer tour are scheduled to go on sale to the general public through Ticketmaster on Feb. 13, but the DMB Warehouse Fan Association will start offering pre-sale tickets this Thursday. The local prices have not been named, but seats to other shows are going for around $50-$100.
DMB’s last time in a local arena was at the X in 2010, and the one before that was at Target Center in 2005. Never ones to run through the hits and call it a night, the guys are promising two sets at each of their summer gigs. They’ve been working on a follow-up to 2012’s “Away From the World” but won’t be promoting a new album this time out.
Midwest fans who prefer catching the band outdoors might want to take note of the July 25-26 dates at Alpine Valley Amphitheater in East Troy, Wis.
Already up one music fest with the recent announcement of Justin Vernon’s two-day party in mid-July, Eau Claire will also now play host to a major new bluegrass festival in 2015.
Organizers of Country Jam USA unveiled the lineup for their inaugural Blue Ox Music Festival, a three-day camp-out coming June 11-13 to the same grounds as Country Jam and Vernon’s Eaux Claire Festival. The lineup will feature revered traditional-bluegrass veterans the Del McCoury Band and Sam Bush along with younger, jammier string-picking stars Yonder Mountain String Band, Greensky Bluegrass and the Infamous Stringdusters and acoustic-flavored Americana stars Justin Townes Earle, Pokey LaFarge and Horse Feathers.
Twin Cities quintet Pert Near Sandstone was tapped to be the hosts of Blue Ox, and other Minnesota pickers such as Charlie Parr and Horsehoes & Hand Grenades are also on the lineup.
A limited number of early-bird festival passes for all three days will be on sale for $99, or VIP “Perk Passes” will start at $199, and those prices include free unreserved camping spots. Go to the new Blue Ox website for more info.
His old band Wilco outgrew First Avenue right about the time they were filming scenes there for their documentary “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” back in 2001, but Jeff Tweedy’s new namesake band with his 18-year-old son Spencer Tweedy on drums will try Minneapolis’ landmark club on for size March 8. Tickets go on sale Friday at noon for $26.50.
The show is part of a continuation of last fall’s tour behind “Sukierae,” an often somber, poetic double-album that was more raw-sounding and acoustic-based than Wilco’s recent stuff. In addition to the two Tweedys, the Tweedy live band includes Eleventh Dream Day's Jim Elkington on guitar and two more members. Their shows have typically featured a good chunk of the album, a solo/acoustic middle segment by Father Jeff with both Wilco and Uncle Tupelo songs (and probably a Golden Smog tune or two here), and then a finale with some fun covers.
Garrison Keillor will stage two shows at the State Theatre in MInnepaolis. Photo by Ann Heisenfelt.
"A Prairie Home Companion" will finish out its local season across the river this year. Garrison Keillor's live-broadcast varietyshow will play the State Theatre in downtown Minneapolis on Feb. 28 and March 7.
While the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul is the show's home, it occasionally meanders west, most recently for one of Keillor's beloved Joke Shows last November at the Pantages. The usual suspects including Tim Russell, Sue Scott, Fred Newman and pianist Rich Dworsky will be on deck. Special musical guests will be smoky-voiced folkie Brandi Carlile on Feb. 28 and the Baltimore-based Girls Quartet ("GQ") on March 7.
Tickets go on sale at noon on Saturday.
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