Staff Directory 10644496

Jon Bream

Reporter and critic | Pop music
Phone: 612-673-1719

Jon Bream has been a music critic at the Star Tribune since 1975, making him the longest tenured pop critic at a U.S. daily newspaper. He has attended more than 8,000 concerts and written four books (on Prince, Led Zeppelin, Neil Diamond and Bob Dylan). Thus far, he has ignored readers’ suggestions that he take a music-appreciation class.


Bream has interviewed such music royalty as the King of Pop (Michael Jackson), the Queen of Soul (Aretha Franklin) 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 walked the streets of New York with Bruce Springsteen. A longtime voter for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Bream has also written for the Los Angeles Times, Billboard, Vibe and other publications. He has a journalism degree from the University of Minnesota, where he established the Jon Bream Scholarship for Arts Criticism.
Recent content from Jon Bream
Snoop Dogg (Photo by Paul R. Giunta/Invision/AP)

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Snoop Dogg, Chris Koza, VocalEssence does Dylan, Prince tributes

This week's big gigs for April 26-May 2, also including Neko Case, Kodak Black, Arturo Sandoval, Foals and more.
Garth Brooks will play two sold-out concerts next weekend at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

Is Garth Brooks bigger than the Beatles? He's getting there

How big is Garth Brooks? We run the numbers on the size king, who's headed to Minnesota to set yet another concert record.
FILE - In this Feb. 18, 1985 file photo, Prince performs at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif. Prince's heirs have sued Walgreens and the Illinois hospita

Coming soon from Prince's vault: New 'Originals' album, documentaries and more

Prince's estate is announcing the collection of his performances of songs he wrote for others.
Lee's Liquor Lounge, in the shadow of the Twins Stadium.

A Minneapolis honky-tonk landmark, Lee's Liquor Lounge is closing after 62 years

The bar is losing its parking lot to make way for the Southwest light-rail line.
At 90, jazzman Benny Golson continues to keep a busy schedule: “The rent man likes for me to work.”

At 90, jazz great Benny Golson returns to Minnesota: 'I feel maybe 45 or 50'

One of the last greats of his generation, jazz master Benny Golson talks about Coltrane, Spielberg and "A Great Day in Harlem" as he heads to Minnesota.
Prince at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., in February 1985.

Prince's greatest talent? Self-confidence, says the manager who landed 'Purple Rain'

Bob Cavallo recounts some of the tales he'll tell at Paisley Park for the third annual Celebration.
Sasami

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Sasami, David Huckfelt & Michael Rossetto, Valerie June, Godsmack

The big gigs for April 19-25, also including Anvil, Yung Gravy, Jon Anderson and Rachael Kilgour.
Jonatha Brooke

The naked truth about Jonatha Brooke's new made-in-Minnesota record

After moving to Minnesota, the veteran singer-songwriter sets a confident new career path.
Lucinda Williams will perform her seminal "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road" album in full at the Fitzgerald on Saturday and Sunday.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Lucinda Williams, Amanda Palmer, Why Don't We, Billy Bragg

The big gigs for April 19-25, also including the Legends of Hip-Hop Tour, Ex Hex, Todd Snider and Alan Sparhawk's Velvety new project.
Aretha Franklin in a scene from the film, "Amazing Grace."

Aretha Franklin's gospel film 'Amazing Grace' finally arrives, and it's as great as you'd expect

Aretha's soul-stirring film "Amazing Grace" finally lands in theaters, 47 years later.
Bona fide superstar Katy Perry was looser, more personable and more fun at the Armory on Sunday than any arena would allow.

Review: Katy Perry is on the ball at Final Four show at the Armory

The hoops-savvy star showed in-the-moment fun in song and conversation.
Nick, Joe and Kevin Jonas came together as the Jonas Brothers headlined at the Armory in Minneapolis as part of Final Four Festivities on Saturday nig

Reunited Jonas Brothers charm their fans at Final Four concert

The Disney Channel darlings played their exuberant teen pop plus newer tunes that suggest they're growing up.
Somali American sibling pop duo Faarrow finishes off its Midnimo residency at the Cedar Cultural Center this weekend with backers Astralblak.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Spiritualized, Ryan Bingham, Eric B. & Rakim and GB Leighton

The big gigs for April 5-11, also including Earl Sweatshirt, Bill Frisell, Robyn Hitchcock, Faarrow & Astralblak, and JazzMN Orchestra.
“Why are we going to Minneapolis?” was the initial reaction of Ian Hunter, whose band was last here as an opening act at the old Guthrie Theater.

'Why are we going to Minneapolis?' Glam-rock greats Mott the Hoople are back nonetheless

British glam-rockers Mott the Hoople return to Minneapolis for the first time in 45 years.
Jenny Lewis

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Jenny Lewis, Cat Power, Amos Lee, Pink Floyd's Nick Mason

The big gigs for March 30-April 4, also including Hayes Carll, J.S. Ondara, Mott the Hoople and a Baroness and Deafheaven twofer.
Guitarist Donna Grantis, shown at the Electric Fetus, has settled permanently in the Twin Cities. She hosts a pair of album release concerts Thursday

Former Prince guitarist Donna Grantis celebrates new jazz-rock album at the Dakota

3rdEyeGirl guitarist Donna Grantis will celebrate her new jazz-rock fusion album in Minneapolis.

Prince protégée Donna Grantis elaborates on the titles for new 'Diamonds & Dynamite' album

There are no lyrics but every one of Donna Grantis’ song titles has a story. She explains a few of them. “Trashformer”: She found…
Patti LaBelle performed Sunday at the Mystic Lake Casino showroom.

Patti LaBelle sounded great, sang too few lyrics at Mystic Lake Casino concert

Her entertaining show was long on vocalizing, short on lyrics.
Dan + Shay at the Grammys.

Country duo Dan + Shay charm the crowd at a sold-out Armory

REVIEW: The "Tequila" hitmakers were all about romance Friday night in Minneapolis.
Marilyn Maye during a 2010 performance at the Dakota in Minneapolis.

90-year-old queen of cabaret Marilyn Maye is coming to Minnesota

She's making a rare Minneapolis appearance this weekend at Crooners.
Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst bring their duo Better Oblivion Community Center to First Avenue.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Oberst & Bridgers, Dan + Shay, Dessa & MN Orchestra

The big gigs for March 22-28, also including St. Paul & the Broken Bones, A Boogie Wit Day Hoodie, Katy Vernon and Mayda release parties and more.
Prince’s ashes, not seen here, were on display in the atrium at Paisley Park when it opened as a museum in October 2016.

Prince's ashes still at Paisley Park, 'just not on display'

The superstar's remains once greeted fans as they entered. As with many things involving the Prince estate, his heirs disagree.
Bob Weir, with drummer Jay Lane of the Wolf Bros, during their first song at the Palace Theatre Tuesday night.

Bob Weir's new trio delights Grateful Dead fans in St. Paul

Sell-out crowd was grateful to hear his jazzy new trio.
Michael Bublé was quick, witty and downright funny during his performance Monday at the Xcel Energy Center.

Review: Michael Bublé leaves crowd feeling good

With his romantic songs and glib humor, he was terrifically entertaining.
Bob Weir and Wolf Bros — from left: Jay Lane, Weir and Don Was — will perform Tuesday at the Palace Theatre in St. Paul.

Grateful Dead guitarist's new St. Paul-bound trio literally started with a dream

How super-producer Don Was wound up in Bob Weir's new St. Paul-bound trio.
Blake Shelton showed off his musical prowess, his sense of humor and his gift of fab Friday night at the Xcel Energy Center.

Blake Shelton charms Xcel crowd with ballads, B.S.

REVIEW: He brought three of his country heroes to enliven his show in St. Paul.
Ike Reilly kicks off St. Patty's weekend at the Dubliner Pub in St. Paul on Friday night.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Blake Shelton, Vince Staples, Bob Weir, Michael Bublé

The big gigs for March 15-21, also including the Subdudes, Dan Wilson, Ike Reilly and a "Sgt. Pepper's" tribute.
Mariah Carey, shown in 2018 at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles, made her Twin Cities debut Wednesday, a concert 29 years in the making.

At long last, Mariah Carey has a magical moment in concert in Minneapolis

REVIEW: She played the diva in her Twin Cities debut at the State Theatre.
Cheap Trick, including Robin Zander on vocals and Rick Nielsen on lead guitar, performed Friday, July 27, 2018, at Target Field in Minneapolis.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Mariah Carey, Cheap Trick, the Monkees and Shinedown

The big gigs for March 8-14, also including Mike Doughty, Kip Moore, Winger & Lita Ford, Habib Koite plus the Revivalists.
Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey finally plays Minnesota: How does she compare with 8 other volcanic voices?

How does Mariah Carey, who makes her overdue Twin Cities debut this week, measure up to other grand female voices?
Bobby Lyle celebrates his 75th birthday with concerts Friday and Saturday at Crooners.

At 75, piano star Bobby Lyle returns home to Minneapolis to start his 'final quarter'

He returns home this weekend for a 75th birthday celebration.
Robyn, seen here at the Fine Line in 2010, finally returns to town Monday at the Palace Theatre.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Robyn, the Jacksons, Lauren Daigle & the Band Perry

The big gigs for March 1-7, also including I'm With Her, SteelDrivers, Cowboy Mouth, Sharon Isbin and Adrian Belew.
Mavis Staples and Buddy Guy.

Veterans Buddy Guy and Mavis Staples deliver the blues with personality at Mystic Lake

Rock Hall of Famers Buddy Guy and Mavis Staples proved to be still vital at Mystic Lake.
“Boo’d Up” hitmaker Ella Mai, seen here at the American Music Awards in October, easily sold out the Varsity Theater next week.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Ella Mai, Big Turn Fest, Buddy Guy with Mavis Staples, Beirut

The big gigs for Feb. 22-28, also including Pert Near Sandstone's Winter String Gathering, Big Head Todd, Walter "Wolfman" Washington and Young the Giant.
Elton John changed costumes twice Thursday night at Target Center, first appearing in a drum major’s outfit. His musical choices were all about the

Review: Elton John says farewell to his friends at Target Center

REVIEW: The rock icon was too loud but pleased fans with exciting piano, countless classics.
Veteran musician Stanley Kipper in front of his childhood home on Oakland Avenue in south Minneapolis. His was the first black family in the neighborh

How a black family integrated a white Mpls. neighborhood in 1950s

An old secret spawned a play about how a family integrated a Minneapolis neighborhood.
Rock legend Elton John brings his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour to Minneapolis this week for two nights at Target Center.

The good, the bad and the Elton: 30 milestones on the Yellow Brick Road

As Elton John's farewell tour heads to Minneapolis, we look back at 30 songs — the good, the bad and the undeniably Elton.
Kelly Clarkson brought her Meaning of Life tour to Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Saturday night.

Clarkson's voice, personality dazzle, but St. Paul concert could have been stronger

Kelly Clarkson's voice and personality dazzle, but her St. Paul concert lacked winning pacing.
Kacey Musgraves won album of the year for “Golden Hour,” along with three other awards, at the 61st Grammys on Sunday in Los Angeles.

Women rule Grammys, with big wins by Cardi B, Brandi Carlile, Kacey Musgraves

Women rule Sunday's Grammy Awards, from Kacey Musgraves to Cardi B to Brandi Carlile.
Mick Sterling sang songs by Elton John at Crooners in Fridley.

From Eagles to Elton, classic songs are packing boomers into Twin Cities nightspots

Longtime bar singers celebrate classic songs from the Eagles, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra and more.
Kendrick Lamar

Why is hip-hop practically uninvited from the Grammys show?

Hip-hop is at the heart of modern pop. How come the Grammy Awards are so afraid of it?
Wearing his signature shades, Eric Church performed Friday night at Target Center in Minneapolis.

Eric Church doubles down at Target Center

Country superstar saved his best for second half.
Annie Mack will offer standards at Hotel Landing on Valentine’s Day.

12 great Valentine's dates for music lovers in the Twin Cities

In the mood for music? Check out these gigs.
Minneapolis rockers Eleganza! finally tout their debut album Saturday at the 7th St. Entry.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Eric Church, William Bell, Eleganza! and Excision

The big gigs for Feb. 8-14, also including the Beach Boys' Al Jardine, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Battle of the Jug Bands and Pieta Brown.
Neil Young kicked off his four-night solo stand last Saturday at the Pantages Theatre in Minneapolis.

Two critics, two takes on four Neil Young solo shows in Minneapolis

Our two critics recap four nights of the rock god in Minneapolis.
Grammy nominee Kacey Musgraves, opening for Harry Styles at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul last summer. She will play a sold-out show at the Palace Th

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Kacey Musgraves, Disturbed, P.O.S. and Interpol

The big gigs for Feb. 1-7, also including Matt Wilson, Devil Makes Three, Jesse McCartney and Barb Ryman.
Grammy nominee Kacey Musgraves, opening for Harry Styles at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul last summer. She will play a sold-out show at the Palace Th

Everybody loves Kacey Musgraves' latest album – except our critic

COMMENTARY: As she heads to a sold-out concert in St. Paul, everyone seems to love Kacey Musgraves' latest album. Everyone, that is, but me.
Neil Young during a 2008 performance at the Xcel Energy Center.

12 reasons you should care about Neil Young's four-show stand in Mpls.

On the eve of a four-show marathon, here are 12 reasons Neil Young still matters.
Noname headlines First Avenue on Friday night.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Noname, Tommy Emmanuel, Drone Not Drones, Lemon Twigs

The big gigs for Jan. 25-31, also including Ruston Kelly, Emily King and Trapper Schoepp.
Philip Brunelle conducted a VocalEssence performance at the Cathedral of St. Paul.

VocalEssence founder networked his way to global greatness over 50 years

A musical visionary and tireless self-promoter, VocalEssence founder Philip Brunelle is a world-renowned force.
Rebirth Brass Band has four shows at the Dakota Saturday and Sunday.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Rebirth Brass Band, Dwight Yoakam, the Current's birthday parties

Big gigs for the week of Jan. 18-24, also including Tina Schlieske, Kristin Chenoweth, Fred Steele with Nachito Herrera, and Tim Sparks with James Buckley.
King Princess (Mikaela Straus) makes here local debut Thursday at First Avenue.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: King Princess, Lanco, Rosetta Tharpe tribute

Big gigs for the week of Jan. 11-17, also including Sean Anonymous' birthday, "The Last Waltz" tribute, St. Paul Peterson, Kathy Mattea and Brian McKnight.
Randy Bachman, of the Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive fame, will perform at the Ordway in St. Paul on Tuesday.

'American Woman' hitmaker Randy Bachman recalls 1960s Winnipeg rock scene

Randy Bachman discusses the Guess Who, his old pal Neil Young and his Minneapolis connections.
Charlie Parr kicks off a weekly residency at the Turf Club.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Charlie Parr, Cactus Blossoms, Andrew Broder at the Turf Club

The big gigs around town for Jan. 4-10, also including Hooked on Hamilton, A$AP Rocky and a celebration for Sarah Papenheim.
Working solo, veteran British tunesmith Nick Lowe charmed Wednesday in his first of two sold-out nights at the Dakota.

Hitmaker Nick Lowe's aim is true in solo show at the Dakota

REVIEW: He crooned songs associated with Elvis Costello and Dionne Warwick as well as his own standards-worthy ballads in Minneapolis.
“People have so much fun,” says the leader of Davina and the Vagabonds about her New Year’s gig at the Dakota.

Want to ring in the new year with live music? Your Twin Cities guide

Here's where you can hear Davina & the Vagabonds, Lamont Cranston and other Twin Cities acts.
Janelle Monáe performed in front of a sellout crowd at the State Theatre in Minneapolis in July.

Jon Bream's top 10's: Women ruled the world of pop music in 2018

Our critic's year-end picks for best albums and concerts of the year.
Orrin Evans plays piano at his home in Philadelphia. He joined the Bad Plus almost a year ago.

New Bad Plus pianist ready for 'test' of playing Dakota Jazz Club

Pianist Orrin Evans will finally debut in Minneapolis with locally rooted jazz trio the Bad Plus.
The Jayhawks play the First Avenue Mainroom on Friday.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Jayhawks, Sounds of Blackness, Bad Plus, Sophia Eris

The big gigs around town for Dec. 21-27, also including Katie McMahon's Celtic Christmas, Heiruspecs, BoDeans and the All Tomorrow's Petty residency finale.
The Steeles bring their Christmas celebration to the Fitzgerald Theater.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Atmosphere, Lil Skies, the Steeles

The big gigs for Dec. 14-20, also including Halloween, Alaska, Jillian Rae with Eliza Blue, Jimi Hendrix Remembered and Kurt Vile.
At 73, rocker Bob Seger still had fans singing their hearts out Wednesday night.

Review: Bob Seger says farewell with spirit in St. Paul

REVIEW: The heartland rocker's band and songs, not his voice, carried the night at Xcel Energy Center.
The New Standards holiday concert featuring Chan Poling, vocals John Munson, on bass and Steve Roehm on vibes, and guest performer Jearlyn Steele on F

New Standards celebrate 12 years of holiday shows with haikus, helpers and hilarity in Minneapolis

REVIEW: They had some high-end helpers, too, including Dessa, Gaelynn Lee and Tina Schlieske.
Travis Scott appears Saturday at Target Center.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Travis Scott, Middle Kids, the New Standards

The big gigs for Dec. 7-13, also including Third Coast Percussion, Richard Thompson, Bob Seger and Sheila E.
Lady Gaga is a finalist for top song and record, both for "Shallow."

Grammys Awards step up by nominating more women: Lady Gaga, Brandi Carlile, Cardi B

Lady Gaga, Brandi Carlile and Cardi B landed nominations in top categories.
Thom Yorke brings his solo tour to Northrop Auditorium.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Thom Yorke, Jingle Ball, Midnight Hour, Martin Devaney

The big gigs for Nov. 30-Dec. 6, also including Phosphorescent, Mark Mallman's Peace on Earth, Freddy Cole, Allen Stone and more.
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12 great gifts for the musichead on your holiday shopping list

Want to impress the music lover on your shopping list? Try these books and deluxe reissues.
Brandi Carlile will be in Minneapolis for three nights at the State Theatre.

Minnesota favorite Brandi Carlile savors 'moodiness' of cold-weather concert dates

Singer Brandi Carlile talks about her movie debut, parenting and love of Minnesota.
Brian Wilson on piano with his longtime Beach Boy bandmate Al Jardine on guitar at the Orpheum Theater Wednesday night.

Beach Boy Brian Wilson's first Christmas tour strikes sad note in Mpls.

Review: Beach Boys tunes saved the opening night of his first holiday tour.
Lissie plays First Avenue on Friday.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Lissie, Astralblak, Brian Wilson

Big gigs for the week of Nov. 23-29, also including the Cactus Blossoms, Leo Kottke, Khruangbin, Rev. Horton Heat, JD McPherson and Brandi Carlile.
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.
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