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
Miranda Lambert in concert in Orlando in 2019.

Nashville 'wild card' Miranda Lambert brings an all-women lineup to St. Paul

Headed for St. Paul this weekend, country star Miranda Lambert lets her gut be her guide.
Explosions in the Sky (photo by Nick Simonite)

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Fall Jazz Fest, Explosions in the Sky, Trey Anastasio

The big gigs for Oct. 18-24, also including Frank Turner, Ingrid Michaelson, Big K.R.I.T., Tom Morello and Mpls. Ltd. XX
Nancy Wilson, left, and Ann Wilson of Heart perform during the "Love Alive Tour" at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre on Thursday, July 11, 2019, in C

Heart and Joan Jett show the power of sisterhood in St. Paul concert

After a bizarre falling out, Heart's Ann and Nancy Wilson rocked in vintage form at St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center.
A hologram of Roy Orbison performed “live” in Los Angeles with a band of backup musicians.

Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison in Minnesota? Hologram tours of old stars are the hot new concert trend

Buddy Holly is coming to town with Roy Orbison? Yes, rock 'n' roll holograms are here to stay.
Nancy Wilson (left) and Ann Wilson of Heart perform at 2012's MusiCares MAP Fund Benefit Concert in Los Angeles.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Heart/Joan Jett, Sara Bareilles, Charli XCX & Sleater-Kinney

The big gigs for Oct. 11-17, also including the Mavericks, Lucy Dacus, Tegan & Sara and Stiff Little Fingers.
Jade Bird performs during the Americana Honors & Awards show Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Jade Bird, Aaron Neville, Stereolab & Lizzo

The big gigs for Oct. 4-10, also including Jon Pardi, Stereolab, Tech N9ne, Sam Fender and release parties by Dan Israel and MaLLy.

No joke, '80s stars Toto are back on top as they come to Minneapolis

Bound for Minneapolis, the 1980s hitmakers are having a pop culture resurgence thanks to "Africa."
Maggie Rogers, shown performing at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival in April, sang to a sold-out crowd Thursday at the Armory.

Joyful star Maggie Rogers reaches a new high in Minneapolis

Newcomer gave an exuberant, captivating show at the Armory.
Nooky Jones

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Nick Cave, Clairo, Luke Combs, Nooky Jones

The big gigs for Sept. 27-Oct. 3, also including Bon Iver, Branford Marsalis, Martin Garrix, 4 Bitchin' Babes, the Waterboys and Temptations.
Scott Avett and Seth Avett of the Avett Brothers.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Avetts with Trampled, Ranky Tanky, Maggie Rogers, Post Malone

The big gigs for Sept. 20-26, also including Sophie Allison, Michael Feinstein, Avril Lavigne, Donna Grantis and the Melvins & Redd Kross.
The Jonas Brothers perform at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., on Friday, Aug. 9, 2019.

Minnesota fans are still a 'sucker' for the Jonas Brothers

The boy-band members proved themselves as grown-up pop stars.
Janet Jackson performed during her Metamorphosis residency in Las Vegas in May 2019.

In concert, Janet Jackson shows her love for Minneapolis

Review: Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis spark her winning concert at Treasure Island.
Janet Jackson performed her “Metamorphosis” show in Las Vegas, which she wrapped up a month ago. Now she’s back on the road and headed to Treasu

To Janet Jackson, Minneapolis will always be her 'home away from home'

Balancing motherhood and megahits, Janet Jackson talks about her return to Minnesota, where she recorded her breakthrough albums.
The technicolor dream boat that is the Jonas Brothers hits Xcel Energy Center on Monday.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Jonas Brothers, Tycho, Vince Gill, K. Flay

The big gigs for Sept. 13-19, also including Nick Lowe, Of Monsters & Men, Brittany Howard, Lee "Scratch" Perry and release parties for Porcupine and Sean Anonymous.

Minnesota's 11 biggest contributions to country music

1 Dave Dudley of Spencer, Wis., records "Six Days on the Road" at Kay Bank Studios in Minneapolis. One of the first big truck-driving…

Sting gives private Ordway show to promote his upcoming play

Review: He'll return in April to star in "The Last Ship" about his hometown in England.
Thomas Rhett performed Saturday, May 5, 2018 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn. ] AARON LAVINSKY • Review of co

Thomas Rhett brings country music's winning son-and-father act to St. Paul

With his pop-soul leanings, Rhett charmed young women, and his dad brought the beer.
Lead singer Roger Daltrey and guitarist Pete Townshend rocked out early in the Who’s Friday night show at the Xcel Center.

Who are they? The Who rocks with an orchestra in St. Paul

It wasn't a bad idea, but the great British band lacked power and volume in its Xcel Energy Center show.
A.J. Haynes, center, and her band Searatones perform at 7th St. Entry on Friday.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: The Who, Massive Attack, Seratones, Lil' Wayne with Blink-182

The big gigs for Sept. 6-12, also including Lenny Kravitz, Thomas Rhett, Social Distortion and Static Panic's EP release party.
Roger Daltrey, left, and Pete Townshend of the Who will perform in St. Paul with a 52-piece orchestra. The two are working on an album of mostly new m

Headed to St. Paul with orchestra, Townshend says the Who is brand, not band

The guitar and songwriting legend talks "Tommy," Woodstock and the Who's next album.
Brandi Carlile performed to a packed grandstand Saturday at the Minnesota State Fair.

Brandi Carlile gets giddy at her great Minnesota State Fair concert

She seemed genuinely in awe at the response of the sell-out crowd in her biggest market.
Prince, shown at Coachella in 2008. The late rock star’s estate is planning “Paisley Park in Your Heart 2020,” an open-air exhibit with Prince a

Prince exhibit coming to the Minnesota State Fair next year

Superstar's estate planning site with artifacts, merchandise and nightly performances.
On the last night of his current North American tour, Lionel Richie was perhaps extra chatty Friday at the State Fair grandstand.

Lionel Richie is ham on a shtick at the Minnesota State Fair

He was chatty and comical in a sold-out hits-filled concert.
Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats perform Saturday at the Surly Brewery Field.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Tyler the Creator, Nathaniel Rateliff, Kesha and fair music galore

The big gigs for Aug. 30-Sept. 5, also including Lionel Richie, Tony! Toni! Toné!, Brandi Carlile and Dessa at the fair, plus Under Violet's release party, Squeeze, Jon Spencer, Eddie Palmieri and more.
Daryl Hall, left, and John Oates early in their set Wednesday night at the Minnesota State Fair grandstand.

Daryl Hall & John Oates finally land at State Fair

The grandstand was packed, but Hall's voice wasn't the guilty pleasure of the past.
Kia Clark, of Oakland, Calif., took photos Paisley Park during its Celebration in April. She was visiting for her second time with a group of friends

Prince's estate to assume management of Paisley Park this fall

Graceland Holdings — which operates Elvis Presley's Graceland mega-tourist attraction in Memphis — will no longer oversee Paisley as of Oct. 1.
Brian Setzer with drummer Slim Jim Phantom and bassist Lee Rocker of the Stray Cats early in their performance Sunday night at the Island Event Center

Refreshed Stray Cats rock this Minnesota casino on their reunion tour

With a new album and their first tour in 12 years, the MTV favorites thrilled.
Marc Anthony performed at the Minnesota State Fair in 2011.

10 great grandstand moments at the Minnesota State Fair

Video director Dale Kivimaki remembers 25 years of stellar shows and near-mishaps at the State Fair.
Mick Sterling, photographed in the Dunsmore Room at Crooner’s, often uses the stage to pitch his 30 Days Foundation, which funds urgent needs.

Minnesota rocker Mick Sterling pays bills to help people catch up financially

'Online bartender' Mick Sterling pays bills so people can catch up.
Darius Rucker, right, frontman for Hootie & the Blowfish, sang along guitarist Mark Bryan at the State Fair on Thursday night.

Hootie, the bar band, blows up again at Minnesota State Fair

Twenty-five years later, the South Carolina group is bigger than ever.
Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish at a New York concert Aug. 10. The band, which last performed in Minnesota 11 years ago, will play Thursday a

'90s hitmakers Hootie and the Blowfish headed to Minnesota State Fair: 'We're back'

Reunited band is headed to the State Fair if not the Hall of Fame.
Lee Rocker, Brian Setzer and Slim Jim Phantom of Stray Cats bring their reunion tour to Treasure Island Casino on Sunday night.

Stray Cats strut into Minn. on a reunion buzz: 'Everybody loves it again'

Stray Cats reunite for 40th anniversary tour and first album in 26 years.
Los Lobos

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Los Lobos, Wild Waters Fest, Reba McEntire & Ringo Starr

The big gigs for Aug. 16-22, also including Dr. Dog & Shakey Graves, BoDeans, Stephen Marley and Jearlyn Steele.
Bob Dylan and Louie Kemp hanging out in 1972.

10 things we learned about Bob Dylan from his friend's book

Bob Dylan's story has been told many times, but not by someone who knew the international icon as just a northern Minnesota kid at heart.
Bob Dylan was the best man at Louie Kemp’s 1983 wedding in Duluth.

From summer camp to stardom, his friendship with Bob Dylan spanned 50 years

The life of Louie Kemp has been entwined with Bobby Zimmerman's since childhood.
Maurice Jacox, veteran Twin Cities singer-saxophonist who after 50 years on the scene has released the first album under his name in 2019.

One of Minnesota's most stylish singers gets 'Stripped Down' for his solo debut

After a wildly varied 50-year music career, Maurice Jacox releases a quiet solo debut.
Billy Ray Cyrus performed June 30, 2019, at the Glastonbury Festival in England. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Bayfront Blues, Billy Ray Cyrus, Gary Clark Jr.; Pizza Luce Block Party

The big gigs for Aug. 2-8, also including Queen, Lady Midnight, Kamasi Washington, Gladys Knight and Amanda Shires.
Bruce Hornsby played the piano as he jammed with his band while playing the amphitheater at Treasure Island Casino in 2017.

What do Bon Iver, Spike Lee & the Grateful Dead have in common? Piano man Bruce Hornsby

The "creatively restless" piano man brings his daring new music to Minneapolis on Friday.
At 86, Willie Nelson hasn’t lost his power to awe and charm an audience. He did it again Friday night in Minneapolis.

Willie Nelson's show at Target Center is brief but legendary

The country legend delighted his 9,000 fans, delivering 21 tunes in a mere 60 minutes.
Santana was having a fine time Saturday night at Xcel Energy Center. At times he almost seemed to forget there was an audience.

Santana brings the spirit of Woodstock to St. Paul

His show featured stellar guitar work, Doobie Brothers and a nod to Prince.
Producer Cameron Crowe and David Crosby promoted “David Crosby: Remember My Name” at the Sundance Film Festival.

A rock star's confessions to Cameron Crowe

The filmmaker got David Crosby to bare his soul for the camera.
Asked how it is that he is still alive at 77, David Crosby says, “I have no idea, man.”

Stellar new documentary gives an unvarnished picture of rock star David Crosby

Outstanding documentary paints an unflattering portrait of the rock star.
Wu-Tang Clan performed during Soundset 2018 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Wu-Tang at X Games, Santana and more

The big gigs for Aug. 2-8, also including Davina & the Vagabonds' release party, John Mayer, Broken Social Scene, A Giant Dog, Steve Earle and Slash.
Tenacious D, featuring actor Jack Black, shown, and Kyle Gass, performed Tuesday night at the Palace Theatre in St. Paul.

Tenacious D shows off musical, comic chops in St. Paul

Jack Black's band rocks hard and delivers laughs at Palace Theatre.
Cardi B performed July 3 at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark.

Biggest concerts in the Twin Cities this week

The big gigs for July 26-Aug. 1, also including John Paul White, Jawbox, Bobby Lyle, Lord Huron, Conor Oberst, the Ocean Blue and a twofer of British rock vets.
Jeff Lynne, with Jeff Lynne’s ELO, performed Thursday night at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

After a long absence, Jeff Lynne's ELO delivers magic at sold-out Xcel Center

British rocker revisited his orchestral hits of the '70s and '80s at the sold-out X.
Tony Bennett performed May 2018 at the State Theatre in Minneapolis.

Approaching 93, singer Tony Bennett says he's learned to 'appreciate every day'

"Life is a gift," the crooner says as he returns to Minneapolis.
Singer Tony Bennett performs at the Statue of Liberty Museum opening celebration at Battery Park. The 92-year-old crooner keeps his voice in shape usi

How Tony Bennett and other singers preserve their voices as they age

How Tony Bennett and other senior singers preserve their voices as they age.
Tim McGraw performs.

Aerosmith, Pitbull show inaugural Twin Cities Summer Jam how to party

Review: Aerosmith, Pitbull and Tim McGraw show Twin Cities Summer Jam how to party.
Neil Young kicked off his four-night solo stand on Jan. 26 at the Pantages Theatre in Minneapolis.

From Neil to J. Lo: The 10 greatest Twin Cities concerts of 2019 (so far)

Here are the performers who thrilled us.
Country superstar Tim McGraw headlines the Twin Cities Summer Jam Saturday.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: TC Summer Jam, Khalid, Bone Thugs, Night Moves

The big gigs for July 19-25, also including Lynyrd Skynyrd, Home Free, Black Midi, Backstreet Boys and Rosanne Cash.
Kacey Musgraves charmed the crowd Friday night at the Basilica Block Party in Minneapolis.

Headliner Kacey Musgraves makes for a golden Basilica Block Party

The mellow Grammy-winning singer headlined the 25th annual fundraiser for the Minneapolis church.
Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler, left, and guitarist Joe Perry perform at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., July 1, 2012.

Headed to Minnesota, Aerosmith is ready to rock this way

While the band loves its Vegas residency, Joe Perry is eager to play this week's Summer Jam.
Brad Paisley

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Basilica, Lakefront, Deep Blues fests, Raconteurs

The big gigs for July 12-18, also including Parquet Courts, Pop 2000 Tour, Black Pumas, Snail Mail and the hard-rocking Northeast Food Truck Rally.
Ariana Grande

A Thank-U note after Ariana Grande's St. Paul concert

After a high-concept, often splendiferous concert Monday night at Xcel Energy Center, reviewer Jon Bream offers this note of gratitude.
Sebastian as he appeared in the 1970 movie “Woodstock.” He’s been invited to Woodstock 50.

50 years later, tie-dyed Woodstock star John Sebastian still believes in magic

John Sebastian talks about Woodstock, Dylan and "Welcome Back."
Trampled by Turtles performed Saturday night at the Grandstand. ] AARON LAVINSKY ¥ Lissie, Lord Huron and Trampled by

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Trampled at Bayfront, Zac Brown, Carly Rae Jepsen, Chaka Khan/Michael McDonald

The Big Gigs for July 5-11, also including Rebirth Brass Band, I'm With Her, John Sebastian and Billy Idol.
Ariana Grande performs July 8 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

From trauma to triumph, 7 songs that sum up Minnesota-bound star Ariana Grande

Grande's last two albums, "Sweetener" and "Thank U, Next" are masterworks of pop as well as chart-toppers
Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman in “The Quiet One.” BENT REJ

Bill Wyman's documentary about the Rolling Stones is as modest as he is

Ex-Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman tells his story in the aptly titled documentary "The Quiet One."
Carly Rae Jepsen

Carly Rae Jepsen remains a hopeful romantic: 'I believe in the chaos of trying'

Flirtatious Carly Rae Jepsen brings "Call Me Maybe" and other love-obsessed songs to Minneapolis.
Jennifer Lopez, shown performing at February’s Grammy Awards gala in Los Angeles, rocked the Xcel Center on Friday night.

In concert, J. Lo parties like she's made it

In dance-happy show, she celebrated her 50th birthday in St. Paul.
The Roots' drummer/bandleader Ahmir "Questlove" on stage at Soundset 2016. They return to town Sunday to play the Mystic Lake Casino Showroom.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: The Roots, J. Lo, Rock the Garden, Common Sound

The big gigs for June 28-July 4, also including Lake Street Dive, Dillinger Four's D4th, Lonely Island, Sergio Mendes and a new St. Paul concert series with Leftover Salmon.
Hugh Jackman entertained at the Brit Awards in February.

A spontaneous Hugh Jackman charmed with his greatest live show in St. Paul

The movie and Broadway star charmed at Xcel Energy Center.
Mick Jagger, from left, Charlie Watts, and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones performed during the “No Filter” tour Friday night at Soldier Fiel

Mick Jagger delivers satisfaction after health scare, heart procedure

The Rolling Stones opened their delayed tour on Friday in Chicago. And fans found out there's no reason for a nervous breakdown about the frontman.
Shawn Mendes returns to Xcel Energy Center on Friday.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Carrie Underwood, Pride parties, Hugh Jackman, Shawn Mendes

The big gigs for June 21-27, also including the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Bazzi, Built to Spill, Wand and Pentatonix.
Carrie Underwood will rock June 21 at Target Center in Minneapolis.

15 reasons why Minnesota-bound Carrie Underwood is country music's queen

It's hard for country music to take a break from Carrie Underwood.
Jason Aldean (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP, File)

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Winstock, Blue Ox Fest,

The big gigs for June 14-20, also including Father John Misty & Jason Isbell, Davie Bowie tribute, Stone Arch Bridge Fest and The Comet Is Coming.
At Xcel on Tuesday, New Kids on the Block brought their “opening” acts out on stage all night.

30 years on, New Kids on the Block have the right stuff in St. Paul concert

Review: They teamed up with Salt-N-Pepa, Tiffany and other oldies.
Kiss may have inspired the white face paint that Bob Dylan donned for his Rolling Thunder Revue — the hit-and-run tour of unconventional venues reca

New Netflix film captures Minnesota icon Bob Dylan at his most freewheeling

Martin Scorsese revisits 1975-76 all-star Rolling Thunder Revue.
Luis Miguel performed Saturday night at Xcel Energy Center.

Mexican superstar Luis Miguel delivers a vocal and visual triumph in St. Paul

The demonstrative Mexican superstar delivered a magnificent marathon in St. Paul.
Steve Ruane

Xcel Energy Center's Steve Ruane, friend to the stars, dies at 64

Steve Ruane was a bodacious storyteller. At least, that's the way his boss, Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold, tells it.Ruane, Xcel Energy Center's security projects…
Prince performing in 1984.

Sometimes he dreamed his songs: A portrait of Prince in the recording studio

His L.A. engineer dishes on a new album of songs for other artists.
Vampire Weekend (Ezra Koenig)

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Vampire Weekend, Luis Miguel, New Kids on the Block, Billie Eilish

The big gigs for June 7-13, also including Craig Finn, Maceo Parker, Machine Gun Kelly, Billie Eilish and the Specials.
Songwriting legend John Prine performed with his band Friday at Northrop on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis.

John Prine proves to be masterful storyteller in song and conversation in Minneapolis

New songs and old stories were magical in concert at Northrop.
Darlene Love

10 tips for older singers to keep their voice in working order

Singers need to take extra care of their voices as…