Staff Directory 10644496

Jon Bream

Reporter | Pop Music
Phone: 612-673-1719

Jon Bream is a music critic for the Star Tribune.

Since he began covering popular music for the Star Tribune in 1974, Bream has attended more than 7,000 concerts and interviewed the King of Pop, the Queen of Soul and Prince as well as Bob Dylan, U2, three Beatles, four Rolling Stones and all of Maroon 5. He has performed with Alice Cooper, jogged with Willie Nelson and received Taylor Swift's calls from three different cell numbers. He has written books on Prince, Led Zeppelin, Neil Diamond and Bob Dylan. But Jon has yet to satisfy a request of many Star Tribune readers: that he take a music-appreciation class.
Recent content from Jon Bream
Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus teamed up to craft a new EP under the moniker Boygenius.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Charlie Parr, Boygenius, Rufus Wainwright

Big gigs for the week of Nov. 16-22, also including Dee Dee Bridgewater, Maxwell, Moore by Four and Ike Reilly Assassination.
Liz Callaway and Ann Hampton Callaway bring their "Sibling Rivalry” show to the Dakota.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: A Perfect Circle, Elvis Costello, Liz Callaway & Ann Hampton Callaway

Big gigs for the week of Nov. 9-15, also including Wynonna Judd, the Get Up Kids, War and Treaty and the Cities 97's Sampler 30 Party.
Steven Van Zandt plays Burnsville's Ames Center on Friday.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Stevie Van Zandt, Ween, Brother Ali

Big gigs for the week of Nov. 2-8, also including Josh Groban, Lee Ann Womack, Okee Dokee Brothers and Cole Swindell.
Bob Dylan with a mandolin during the "Blood On the Tracks" sessions.

Minnesotans finally get credit for playing on Dylan's '75 classic 'Blood on the Tracks'

Six Minnesota musicians finally get official recognition for their contributions to Dylan's 1975 landmark album.
Mitski plays a sold-out First Avenue show on Friday.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Mitski, Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, Kamasi Washington

Big gigs for the week of Oct. 26-Nov. 1, also including Hailu Mergia, Gaelynn Lea and , Loudon Wainwright III and Tedeschi Trucks Band.
Stevie Nicks performed with Fleetwood Mac at the X in 2015. She’s still in the band, but guitarist Lindsey Buckingham is out.

Fleetwood Mac soldiers through St. Paul concert without guitarist Lindsey Buckingham

The Hall of Famers were revitalized by two new replacements.
Ricky Peterson

Twin Cities keyboardist 'having a ball' touring with Fleetwood Mac

Ricky Peterson joins Fleetwood Mac in St. Paul on Monday.
Gladys Knight arrives at the American Music Awards on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invisio

At 74, Gladys Knight still brings the soul

Her St. Paul concert was short but spectacular.
Ed Sheeran.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Ed Sheeran, Florence, Phil Collins and more

Big gigs for the week of Oct. 19-25, also including Twenty-One Pilots, Umphrey's McGee, Fleetwood Mac and Phil Cook.
Emmylou Harris performed at the Ordway in St. Paul on Wednesday night.

Emmylou Harris demonstrates why she's an American musical treasure

Review: The country veteran wowed an Ordway crowd with her voice and taste.
Cyndi Lauper performed at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Cyndi Lauper has fun while Rod Stewart coasts at St. Paul concert

REVIEW: Her performance blazed with personality and energy, while Stewart's was mostly a disappointment.
Keith Urban performed Saturday at Target Center in Minneapolis.

Keith Urban offers trendy electronic pop sound in Minneapolis

At Target Center, the country superstar didn't overstay his welcome, but he overplayed his new electronica songs.
Bettye LaVette

R&B veteran Bettye LaVette opines on Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Keith Richards

Before she returns to the Dakota, Bettye LaVette talks about her great new album of Bob Dylan songs.
Keith Urban Target Center plays Target Center on Saturday.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Keith Urban, Foo Fighters, Emmylou Harris

Big gigs for the week of Oct. 12-18, also including Rod Stewart, Troye Sivan, Bettye LaVette and Gladys Knight.
Johnny Van Zant returns with Lynyrd Skynyrd Friday at Xcel Energy Center.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Lynyrd Skynyrd, Joan Baez, Death Cab for Cutie

Big gigs for the week of Oct. 5-11, also including Jade Bird, Four Fists and the PRN Alumni Foundation's second annual Funk 'n' Roll Weekend.
Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Johnny Van Zant performed in Las Vegas in 2018. The band got a warm reception Friday in St. Paul.

Lynyrd Skynyrd gives farewell concert to remember in St. Paul

On their final tour, the Southern rockers thrilled 12,000 at Xcel Energy Center.
Diamonds & Rust ProductionsJoan Baez, 2018

Folk queen Joan Baez 'grateful for having dropped the BS' with Bob Dylan

As she retires from touring, folk-music queen Joan Baez still makes some noise about politics and Bob Dylan.
Pop superstar Justin Timberlake danced up a storm Friday night at Xcel Energy Center. He’ll be back there Saturday night.

Justin Timberlake is more dance than song man at Xcel

His St. Paul show was as ambitious as this winter's Super Bowl halftime.
Lynyrd Skynyrd opened for Kid Rock to a sellout crowd at the Minnesota State Fair grandstand in 2009.

Lynyrd Skynyrd singer 'proudest I've ever been' ahead of Minnesota farewell concert

Lynyrd Skynyrd's Johnny Van Zant talks about his late brother, the band's farewell tour and "Free Bird."
Justin Timberlake

Why Justin Timberlake will pack Xcel Center, despite 'Man of the Woods' dud

His "Man of the Woods" album fell flat, but Justin Timberlake is still a big draw.
Shaggy and Sting play Saturday at the Armory.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Sting and Shaggy, Wiz Khalifa, Shakey Graves

Big gigs for the week of Sept. 28-Oct. 4, also including Suicidal Tendencies, Chvrches and Denzel Curry.
Tyka Nelson, Prince's sister, kisses Paul Peterson, a bassist who used to perform with Prince, after they sang "Purple Rain" after the late rock star

That's Dr. Prince, thanks to a University of Minnesota degree

Honorary doctorate was given to the late music icon in an hourlong ceremony full of live performances.
Ringo Starr performs with All Starr Band members Steve Lukather, left, and saxophonist Warren Ham at the Ordway Music Theater Sunday night.

Review: Ringo Starr's semi-famous bandmates upstage him at the Ordway

The ex-Beatle was funny and spirited, but his bandmates were more musically satisfying at Sunday's concert at the Ordway.
The Steve Miller Band performs Friday at the Armory.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Steve Miller Band, Ringo Starr, Frebella Fest

Big gigs for the week of Sept. 21-27, also including Jeff Tweedy, Arthur Buck and Madeleine Peyroux.
Prince insiders dish on first album released from storied Paisley Park vault

Prince insiders dish on first album released from storied Paisley Park vault

The coveted 1983 recording features solo piano work and an embryonic "Purple Rain."
Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performed in Brazil earlier this month, and he and his band were in St. Paul on Tuesday.

Maroon 5's Adam Levine has the right moves at Xcel

Review: "The Voice" star triumphed in St. Paul with his killer falsetto.
Jan. 17, 2016, file photo of Amy Schumer

Amy Schumer deals with bugs, marriage and sex at Treasure Island Casino gig

At Treasure Island Casino, the popular comic also talked a lot about sex, of course.
Menomonie, Wis., native Ethan Iverson writes about jazz for the New Yorker.

Former Bad Plus pianist still 'loves playing in the Midwest' despite rocketing career

Since leaving the popular jazz trio, pianist Ethan Iverson has been super busy with projects, including his duo coming to Crooners.
Mayte Garcia made a guest appearance while MacKenzie sang during the New Power Generation show Thursday at First Avenue. Below, Tony Mosley held the m

NPG doesn't live up to Princely standards at pay-per-view First Avenue show

REVIEW: At First Avenue, Prince's former musicians were entertaining but lacking.
Three performers depicting Donna Summer in different eras share a moment onstage: LaChanze as Diva Donna, Ariana DeBose as Disco Donna and Storm Lever

On Broadway: Shows that highlight music beloved by baby boomers

The music of baby boomers drives shows on Broadway.
Dispatch plays the Armory on Friday.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Dispatch, Maroon 5, Café Tacvba

Big gigs for the week of Sept. 14-20, also including Wailin' Jennys, Liz Phair, J. Cole, Deep Purple and Judas Priest.
FILE - In this May 27, 2018 file photo, Bruno Mars performs at the Bottle Rock Napa Valley Music Festival at Napa Valley Expo in Napa, Calif.

Bruno Mars returns to St. Paul and tops last year's triumph

Review: His first of two shows in St. Paul was very similar to 2017's except for a Prince tribute and a special opening act.
Bruno Mars

Bruno's in town; 11 reasons why he's pop's most talented performer

With Bruno Mars playing in St. Paul tonight, we explain why he's pop's best all-around talent.
Jonny Lang

Former teen phenom Jonny Lang talks kids, guitars and missing Minnesota's lakes

The blues-rock guitar hero launched his career in the Twin Cities nearly 25 years ago.
Boy George at the State Fair.

Culture Club, B-52s revisit the 1980s with State Fair show

Review: State Fair show celebrated MTV's heyday.
Taylor Swift performed at U.S. Bank Stadium on Friday evening on her "Reputation" tour.

Taylor Swift show is a triumph of presentation, personality

Review: At U.S. Bank Stadium, there were fireworks and fountains, multiple stages and a multitude of dancers, and snakes everywhere.
Taylor Swift performs at Gillette Stadium, July 26, 2018, in Foxborough, Mass.

Taylor Swift lands at U.S. Bank Stadium tonight with increasingly bad 'reputation'

A changed sound and personality have altered how people perceive the star, who returns here this weekend.
Taylor Swift performs Friday and Saturday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Taylor Swift, Metallica, Culture Club & B-52's

Big gigs for the week of Aug. 31-Sept. 6, also including Lady Antebellum and Darius Rucker, Car Seat Headrest and Neko Case
Sugarland plays the Minnesota State Fair grandstand on Friday.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Trampled by Turtles, Sugarland, Earth, Wind & Fire

Big gigs for the week of Aug. 24-30, also including the Beach Boys, Alejandro Escovedo with Joe Ely, and Alice Cooper.
Original Beach Boys vocalist Mike Love, left, and John Stamos played to a sold-out grandstand on Monday night.

Beach Boys and Righteous Brothers thrill crowds at State Fair

The Beach Boys and Righteous Brothers were like reconditioned classic cars at the grandstand show.
Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush performed Friday night at the Grandstand.

Back together again, Sugarland is sweeter and better than ever

REVIEW: After a 5-year hiatus, the country duo thrills 12,418 fans at fair.
Bucky Heard, left, has joined Bill Medley in the Righteous Brothers.

How this Righteous Brother found a new bro and regained that 'Lovin' Feeling'

Bill Medley, who brings "That Lovin' Feeling" to the State Fair Monday night, talks about Aretha, Phil Spector and his new partner.
Niall Horan performed during his Grandstand set Thursday night at the Minnesota State Fair. Maren Morris opened for him.

Niall Horan shows a new direction at the fair

REVIEW: Ex-boy band star still wows women with his acoustic songs.
Studio A (for "audacious") in the former Flyte Tyme Studios in Edina. Musicians can still record in the space once used by Janet and Michael Jackson,

It's the end time for Flyte Tyme, Edina studio that was home to Minneapolis Sound

Flyte Tyme Studios — the hit factory of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis — will be razed for a housing complex.
Performing at the Minnesota State Fair in 2014, Aretha Franklin appeared in a sparkly white gown, and in spectacular vocal form.

Aretha Franklin commanded respect, even in a sweaty cubbyhole at the Metrodome

Our music critic recalls a brief but memorable interview with the Queen of Soul in 1996.
Billy Corgan, of Smashing Pumpkins, performs on stage at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth, Ga., in July.

Twin Cities' 15 biggest concerts of the week, from Smashing Pumpkins to New Order

Also on deck is Beach House, Deadmau5, Irv Williams and more.
In this 2011 file photo, Aretha Franklin smiles after the Detroit Pistons-Miami Heat NBA basketball game in Auburn Hills, Mich.

'Queen of Soul' Aretha Franklin dies, leaving legacy of 'Respect'

A powerhouse vocalist until the end, Franklin gave up touring only last year.
Aretha Franklin performed Friday at the State Fair grandstand.

Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin rules the fair

REVIEW: Many times during her 100-minute set, she reminded 9,647 grandstand-goers why she is the greatest singer in the history of modern popular music — and also one of the more confounding.
Sam Smith encouraged the Xcel Energy Center crowd to sing on Tuesday night in St. Paul.

Pop star Sam Smith's stage steals the show in St. Paul

With so many sad ballads, the Grammy-winning Brit relied on cool staging and smart arrangements at the X.
The Zac Brown Band performed Friday, August 10, 2018 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minn.

Zac Brown Band powers its country music with big dose of pop

The hitmakers played as many covers as their own biggest songs at Target Field.
Buddy Guy.

10 tips to enjoy Duluth's Bayfront Blues Festival

Duluth’s Bayfront Blues Festival celebrates its 30th anniversary this weekend. Here are 10 things to know about the three-day event headlined this year by…
The Zac Brown Band played at Target Field in 2016.

The 17 biggest concerts of the week in the Twin Cities

It's a stacked few days with Zac Brown Band, Drake and Kid Rock coming to town.
Kjeanah Watkins, of Rapid City, S.D., 17, posed for a photo before Wednesday night’s Beyoncé and Jay-Z concert at U.S. Bank Stadium. ] AARON LAVINS

Beyoncé already 'concert of the year,' fans at U.S. Bank Stadium say

"Bey-lievers" came from all over to see her. Oh, and also Jay-Z.
Country superstar Tim McGraw has “an interest” in the new endeavor.

New country-rock fest set for Canterbury Park

TC Summer Jam, a splashy new outdoor country-and-rock festival, is set for July 18-20 at Canterbury Park, with Nashville superstar Tim McGraw as one of its headliners — and investors.
Jack White plays the Armory on Monday.

Best concerts of the week Aug. 3-9: Jack White, Shelby J, Nathaniel Rateliff, Kinky Friedman, Charlie Puth

Big gigs for the week of Aug. 3-9, also including HazelFest, Red Stag Supperclub Block Party and the Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Festival.
Erasure performs Sunday at the State Theatre.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Journey & Def Leppard, Erasure, Femi Kuti, Bebel Gilberto

Big gigs for the week of July 27-Aug. 2, also including Rufus Wainwright, Playboi Carti and Ben Harper with Charlie Musselwhite
Journey’s current lineup includes, from left, bassist Ross Valory, drummer Steve Smith, lead vocalist Arnel Pineda, guitarist Neal Schon and keyboar

Journey bandmates put politics aside for stadium tour: 'We reset our friendship'

Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain may disagree about politics, but they don't stop believin' in the music.
Health care executive, activist and humanitarian Mary Tjosvold owns Crooners Lounge and Supper Club in Fridley. “I want to make a difference,” she

No dancing, please: Meet the Twin Cities club owner promoting the art of listening

Crooners owner listens to her customers, but she also wants them to listen to the music.
Sylvan Esso performs Saturday at Surly Festival Field.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Sylvan Esso, Luke Bryan, X Games, My Bloody Valentine

Big gigs for the week of July 20-26, also including Jerry Lee Lewis, Courtney Barnett and Raphael Saadiq.
Audra McDonald performs Friday with Minnesota Orchestra.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Audra McDonald, Roots, Rock & Deep Blues Festival

The big gigs for July 13-19, also including Moore By Four, the Pretenders, George Clinton, X Games Pre-Party more.
Bruce Springsteen at the Tony Awards. “Springsteen on Broadway” has been extended twice and is sold out through the end of its run in December.

Visiting Bruce Springsteen backstage on Broadway: 'I'm a thespian now'

Our critic visits the Boss, the hottest ticket on the Great White Way.
Trampled by Turtles performs Saturday at Duluth's Bayfront Festival Park.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Trampled at Bayfront, Eaux Claires, Basilica and McGraw & Hill

The big gigs for July 6-12, also including St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Panic! at the Disco, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Boz Scaggs.
Janelle Monáe took the stage before a sellout crowd Tuesday at the State Theatre. See more photos at

Janelle Monáe gives Prince-inspired performance at sold-out State Theatre

Review: It was obvious from the reaction of the worshipful crowd that the singer has gone from cult hero to cultural hero.
Jimmy Buffett brought cool island breezes to 42,000 steamy fans at Target Field on Saturday night,

Wasting away with Jimmy Buffett, the Eagles at Target Field

The doubleheader at the Twins stadium proved that parents still like to party.
Veteran R&B star Chaka Khan performed at the Minnesota Zoo on Friday night.

Chaka Khan has the same spirit, but not the same voice

Review: Her Minnesota Zoo concert was short and disappointing.
Harry Styles plays Sunday at Xcel Energy Center.

Twin Cities concerts of the week, including Harry Styles and the ever-hairy ZZ Top

The big gigs for June 29-July 5, also including Spoon with Grizzly Bear, Chaka Khan, Kesha and Old Crow Medicine Show.
Jimmy Buffett and the Eagles are headlining Target Field.

Jimmy Buffett vs. the Eagles: Which Target Field headliner is worth more money?

Jimmy Buffett's Parrotheads and fans of the Eagles have made these stars among the wealthiest in rock.
James Taylor headlined the evening and came out to cheering fans on Friday night. He opened with a fan favorite, “Carolina In My Mind”. ] ALEX KOR

James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt deliver playful, electric show at the 'X'

REVIEW: Following her surgery, they have an emotional show at the X.
Dua Lipa will be at the Armory in Minneapolis on Sunday, June 24.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Taylor and Raitt, Brandy at Pride, Dua Lipa, Bodega

The big gigs for June 22-28, also including Frank Turner, Buddy Guy and some Allman Brothers heirs.
Steve Heckler, founder and executive director of the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, started 20 years ago with a one-day event that attracted 3,000 people.

How one man pulls off St. Paul's beloved (and free) Twin Cities Jazz Festival

Meet the one-man staff who makes the math work for the metro's biggest ticket-free music festival.
Lead singer and keyboardist Donald Fagen of Steely Dan performed Friday night at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Steely Dan & the Doobies reelin' in and reliving the '70s

Review: These old FM favorites pleased a crowd of 8,000 at the X in St. Paul.
Jill Scott performs Thursday at Mystic Lake Casino Showroom.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Jill Scott, Trombone Shorty, Stone Arch Festival

Big gigs for the week of June 15-21, also including Steely Dan/Doobie Brothers, Gomez and Jackson Browne.
Bobby McFerrin performed at the Dakota in Minneapolis.

Bobby McFerrin is spontaneously spot on at the Dakota

Review: Vocalist amazes with a cappella improv extraordinaire.
Bobby McFerrin on improvisation: “It’s just a matter of opening up your mouth and singing. You just keep going.”

Returning to Minnesota, Grammy-winner Bobby McFerrin gives first interview in 4 years

Vocalist will perform for four nights at the Dakota without a script.
Paul Simon played for 140 minutes with his 16-player band at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

The sound of Simon makes for a grand goodbye in St. Paul

Review: Paul Simon was generous, musical and crowd-pleasing at the X as he said farewell to the road.
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