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Twins to announce Target Field concert at 11 a.m. Monday. Will it be...?

Posted by: Jon Bream under Music, Concert news, Minnesota musicians Updated: April 21, 2014 - 3:00 AM
Billy Joel/ MCT Ethan Hyman

The Minnesota Twins and 96.3 KTWIN will announce at 11 a.m. Monday a concert for Target Field for this summer.

We’d like to hope it’s Paul McCartney, who couldn’t work out a deal with the Twins in 2011 (we heard stadium officials were driving too hard a bargain and, um, you don’t exactly negotiate with Sir Paul, who has a set way of doing stadium shows). But McCartney’s 2014 U.S. summer schedule thus far involves 10 arena concerts and no stadium gigs (though he is playing in stadiums in Japan and Costa Rica).

So our best guess is Billy Joel because he’s booked baseball-stadium concerts in Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. for this summer.

And they are actually two-fer shows, with a country-music stadium show booked for either the day before or day after, starring either Zac Brown Band, Blake Shelton or Jason Aldean. That way the promoter – in these cases it’s Live Nation – can amortize the steep cost of building a stage over two concerts.

We wouldn’t be surprised if Garth Brooks is going the stadium route for his comeback tour in 2014 but you wouldn’t expect KTWIN -- sort of a classic-rock station that also broadcasts the Twins game -- to make that announcement. Plus, he'll have a reveal with huge fanfare.

Or maybe the Twins have finally convinced hometown hero Prince to step up to the plate – or perhaps it would more accurately be a case of the ballclub willing to pay his price. Never one to plan too far in advance, he is booked in the New Orleans Superdome on July 4 and rumored for England’s big Glastonbury Festival in late June.

One Direction announced its 29 North American stadium dates for 2014 last year, so it would be questionable that the boy-band would add a Target Field gig now.

Jimmy Buffett has booked one stadium concert for this summer (in Detroit), and the Eminem/Rihanna tour is set for stadiums in Detroit, New Jersey and Pasadena, Calif., but I doubt either of those tours is headed to the Twins stadium.

And the much ballyhooed 20-stadium Jay Z/Beyonce tour -- no venues have been announced for Mr. and Mrs. Carter -- isn't likely to come to a Twin Cities ballpark after he filled only half an arena in St. Paul on a Saturday night last year.

Whatever the Target Field concert is, we’ll have an update at 11 a.m. Monday.

First photo: Billy Joel (MCT, Ethan Hyman). Second photo: Paul McCartney (Associated Press).

McFerrin explores spirituals, spontaneity & fan Q&A at Orchestra Hall

Posted by: Jon Bream under Music, Minnesota musicians, Orchestras Updated: April 24, 2014 - 11:52 PM

“So I got my lyric sheets up here because I tend to forget lyrics,” Bobby McFerrin said Saturday night at Orchestra Hall pointing to a music stand in front of him. “I don’t sing words all that often. It’s unfamiliar territory.”

No McFerrin, Grammy-winning vocalist extraordinaire, usually sings wordless sounds. On Saturday, he sang lots of words, mostly from spirituals, a couple of famous rock hits and a couple of made-up songs on the spot – and he did spot-on conversational impressions of Truman Capote and John Wayne.

In short, this was probably the most conventional musical performance McFerrin has given in the Twin Cities. Not that it was ordinary. It was special – like most McFerrin performances.

He’d always wanted to borrow a page from the playbook of his father, opera singer Robert McFerrin, who in 1957 recorded an album of, what were then known as, Negro spirituals.  Last year, Bobby released “spirityouall,” his collection of spirituals, including several his father had recorded as well as a few McFerrin originals. Material from that album dominated Saturday’s repertoire.

Backed by five splendid, simpatico musicians and his daughter Madison on vocals, McFerrin, 64, gave his interpretations of “Swing Low” (slow and minimalist), “Joshua” (with a hot-jazz groove) and “Glory” (which started nice and easy and then boom-choka-locka transformed into a tent revival).

“25.15” was a gospel-blues stomp, drawing inspiration from Psalm 25, verse 15. “Rest/ Yes, Indeed” started like James Brown and ended up like a front-porch gospel hoedown.

Throughout the evening, McFerrin gave ample opportunities for solos by his musicians, most notably keyboardist/accordionist Gil Goldstein, guitarist Armand Hirsch and guitarist/violinist/mandolinist David Mansfield. Madison McFerrin also was featured on a version of Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t Worry Bout a Thing.”

But the emotional highlights of the 130-minute performance were when McFerrin went off script – improvising a song about a kid named “Joey” in the front row, improvising a verse about late-arriving concertgoers, dueting on “Whole World” with three women from the audience (one of whom is pro, Judi Donaghy, and one of whom, Ariella, sounded like one), spontaneously breaking into Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way” and then doing it Broadway-style, and answering questions from fans as an encore (and accommodating a request to sing the falsetto-dominated“The Star Spangled Banner”).

The 10-minute Q&A was a disarmingly intimate touch in a usually formal setting, not that McFerrin was very formal in his jeans and untucked dress shirt.

Here are some highlights of the Q&A:

* What do you think of the remodeled Orchestra Hall? He didn’t really have an opinion but talked about players in the violin section in the past could only hear other violinists.

* What advice do you have for a 6-year-old? “Dream really big – and act as if you’re already in it.”

* What is your current dream? To sing backup for James Taylor and then he broke into “Fire and Rain.”

* What’s the best thing about having your daughter Madison sing in your group? “I get to watch her grow onstage.” He added that she’s graduating from Berklee College of Music next month.

*Why don’t you sing your huge hit “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” anymore? “I haven’t done it in concert since November 1988. By the time you’d heard it, I’d sung it 300 trillion times.”

* Is there any way to get you to conduct the Minnesota Orchestra? “Just call my management. I’d love to. The whole time I was here, I worked over in St. Paul,” he said referring to his five-year stint in the ‘90s as creative chair of St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. 

New acting talent to be showcased at the Guthrie

Posted by: Rohan Preston under Theater Updated: April 18, 2014 - 3:28 PM

Want to see the next Santino Fontana, Val Mudek or H. Adam Harris as they are being launched?

Then check out the members of 2014 class of the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater B.F.A. actor training program, the same program that graduated Fontano, Mudek, Harris, Hugh Kennedy, Elizabeth Grullon and a host of other performers who’re making names for themselves on stages across the country. (Fontana, who has performed in "Billy Elliot," "Cinderella" and "Sunday in the Park with George" on Broadway, just opened in "Act One" on Thursday in New York, where he plays playwright Moss Hart.)

The new acting talent will be showcased this weekend in a pair of new one-acts by playwrights Trista Baldwin and Joe Waechter at the Guthrie. According to a release, Baldwin’s "Peter Piper" is about two sisters whose "lives are suddenly thrown off course by the loss of their young brother.” It will be directed by Benjamin McGovern.

Waechter’s "The Hidden People: Part One," is described as "an epic mash-up of Icelandic folklore, the Old Testament and Norse mythology." That play will be staged by Randy Reyes.

(7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 7 p.m. Sun. Ends April 27. Guthrie Theater’s Dowling Studio, 818 S. 2nd St., Mpls. $10. 612.377.2224 or online.)

The class of 2014 also will do select dramatic scenes from the canon at 1 p.m. Sat., and at 7:30 p.m. Tues., all in the Dowling Studio at the Guthrie.

Twins' Midwest Music series to feature Tina & B-Sides, Tapes n' Tapes, Mallman

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider under Music, Concert news, Minnesota musicians Updated: April 18, 2014 - 1:35 PM
The 4onthefloor was one of the first bands to play the Twins' Midwest Music Showcases last summer at Target Field. / Brian Peterson, Star Tribune

The 4onthefloor was one of the first bands to play the Twins' Midwest Music Showcases last summer at Target Field. / Brian Peterson, Star Tribune

The verdict is still out on whether or not the Twins stepped up their pitching this year, but the team did at least add a little muscle to their Midwest Music Showcase in 2014. Tapes n’ Tapes, Trailer Trash, Mark Mallman, the Cactus Blossoms and a reunited Tina & the B-Sides are all on the roster for the 10 Wednesday live music performances at Target Field, which include pre-game warm-up sets from the bands as well as random songs between innings.

Here’s the full lineup announced today by the team:

  • May 14: Tapes ‘n Tapes (7:10 p.m., Red Sox)
  • May 28: Mark Mallman (7:10 p.m., Rangers)
  • June 4: Pennyroyal (7:10 p.m., Brewers)
  • July 2: The Odd Fathers (12:10 p.m., Royals)
  • July 23: Trailer Trash (12:10 p.m., Indians)
  • Aug. 6: Cactus Blossoms (12:10 p.m., Padres)
  • Aug. 20: Crankshaft (7:10 p.m., Indians)
  • Sept. 3: Special Guest TBA (7:10 p.m., White Sox)
  • Sept. 17: Tina and the B-Sides (7:10 p.m., Tigers)
  • Sept. 24: Local contest winner (12:10 p.m., Diamondbacks)
Tina & the B-Sides

Tina & the B-Sides

That last slot will be awarded to via KTWIN 96.3 FM’s “Sound Factor” contest, judged by Prince & the Revolution drummer and the station’s Sunday night host of “The Sound,” Bobby Z. Those Tapes n' Tapes and Tina & the B-Sides gigs are of particular note, since those bands have been on hiatus -- although Tina Schlieske is also putting her old band back together for a First Ave gig on May 10.

As was chronicled in a story we ran last year off of 4onthefloor’s appearance in the series, the bands perform up on a balcony in the left-field corner and are given some nice screen time on the Jumbotron (and free game tickets and beer!).

This won’t be the only live music at Target Field this summer. KTWIN is reportedly planning a second installment of its Skyline Music Fest, which last year featured Soul Asylum and Big Head Todd & the Monsters on a stage along the third baseline. The perennial rumors of Paul McCartney performing there are also surfacing again with news of his summer tour plans. However, since the Twins are hosting the All-Star Game this year – when Kenny Chesney played there during the midseason break the past two summers – the timing of a Mac gig or any other big show could be difficult. But not impossible.

Prince signs 'landmark' deal with Warner Bros. to reissue 'Purple Rain' and tap vaults

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider under Music, Minnesota musicians Updated: April 18, 2014 - 9:46 AM
 
 

Prince is apparently no longer bad-mouthing Warner Bros. Records, and that’s very good news for fans. The record label announced today a new licensing deal with Minneapolis’ Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, the timing of which points to the approaching 30th anniversary of “Purple Rain.” A first-ever remastered deluxe-edition of the 1984 masterpiece will be the first product of the new/old partnership. More unreleased music from a variety of eras is also now promised.

“For Prince fans worldwide, the new partnership will open a veritable gold mine,” Warner Bros. proclaimed in the press release.

The deal will also include the release of a new Prince album. This may or may not be the same record with new group 3rdEyeGirl that was said to be coming via independent licensing company Kobalt Music Group. It was Prince himself who referenced the new record in the press release from Warner Bros.

Prince was less enamored with Warner Bros. in 1997 when he declared himself a "slave" of the record label. / AP Photo

Prince was less enamored with Warner Bros. in 1997 when he declared himself a "slave" of the record label. / AP Photo

Prince said, "A brand-new studio album is on the way and both Warner Bros Records and Eye are quite pleased with the results of the negotiations and look forward to a fruitful working relationship." 

Of course, Prince didn’t go back to the label that once "enslaved" him without getting something in return. The deal gives him back ownership of all his Warner Bros.-issued music, which extends from his 1978 debut “For You” through the ‘90s. Billboard magazine heralded the deal as “landmark” and a “new era,” alluding to uncertainty over copyright issues for recording contracts older than 35 years (like Prince’s).

Prince fans will no doubt be waiting with bated breath for details on the “Purple Rain” expanded reissue and other music to come. One legendary vault item that has always been on the radar but never seen the daylight is the actual "Purple Rain" live recording at First Avenue in 1983, which was used/molded into the “studio” version of the song “Purple Rain” and several other tracks on that album. Lord knows – or maybe just Prince knows – what other music there is to be unveiled.

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