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
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 ¥ aaron.lavinsky@startribune.com 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…
Juice WRLD performs Friday at the Armory in Minneapolis.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Juice WRLD, John Prine, Hozier, Jillian Rae

Big gigs for the week of May 31-June 6, also including album parties by Erik Koskinen and Sass and tour dates by Sleep, Aly & AJ and Gogol Bordello.
Mudhoney

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Snarky Puppy, Mudhoney, Memory Lanes block party

The big gigs for the week of May 24-30, also including Terry Reid, the Parkway Pickoff, Sebadoh, Lazy Scorsese's album party and the return of Heliotrope.
Michigan electronic producer/musician Griz plays the Armory on Friday.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Sammy Hagar, GRiZ, Eddie Palmieri, L7 & Chromeo

The big gigs for May 17-23, also including the free Resonance marathon, Mountain Goats, Phil Cook with Charlie Parr, Joan Osborne and Spafford.
Herb Pilhofer at the piano in his Inver Grove Heights home. After a decadeslong career as a composer, recording guru and technology pioneer, “my onl

Pioneering Minnesota musician returns to his first love – piano – as 'a way of staying alive'

At 88, Minnesota music pioneer Herb Pilhofer returns to where it all started for him: the piano.
Cult-loved rock singer Terry Reid, a Zelig in the music biz who turned down a chance to be Led Zeppelin’s original singer, comes to Minneapolis for

Fabled British rocker nicknamed 'Superlungs' will play rare show in Mpls.

Twin Cities-bound Terry Reid talks about life with Hendrix, the Replacements and many more.
Cher performed at sold-out Xcel Energy Center on Saturday night in St. Paul.

Cher triumphs with the ultimate Cher drag show in St. Paul

Cher was fabulous and fun, but she didn't spend enough time onstage entertaining on Saturday at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Twin Cities Summer Jam organizers Chris Hawkey, left, Lauren MacLeash and Jerry Braam at Canterbury Park.

Twin Cities' inaugural Summer Jam festival is a little bit country, rock and pop

Twin Cities Summer Jam brings a three-day blend of rock, pop and country to Canterbury Park.
Cher performed May 12 in Milwaukee.

As Cher returns to Minnesota, 12 reasons we still believe in her

The indomitable diva returns to Xcel Energy Center on Saturday.
Lady Lark (Taylor Harris) touts her debut album, "Permission" at the Fine Line on Friday.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Lucius, Lady Lark, Passion Pit, Bobby Brown

The big gigs for May 10-16, also including Fred Armisen, Lizz Wright, David Crosby, Jim James and more.
Nils Lofgren, pictured in 2016, will kick off his first solo tour in 15 years in Minneapolis to promote his new album, “Blue With Lou.”

After gigs with Springsteen and Neil Young, Nils Lofgren comes to Minnesota for some 'me time'

Friday's sold-out concert at the Dakota marks the debut of Lofgren's latest ensemble and the start of his first solo outing in 15 years.
Mike Love: “I’ve always wanted to accentuate the positive.”

How the Beach Boys caught a wave on Lake Minnetonka

Singer Mike Love recalls a pivotal 1963 gig at Lake Minnetonka ahead of Saturday's PACER benefit.
David Crosby, center, played the St. Paul Civic Center in 1977 with Stephen Stills and Graham Nash.

At 77, rock hero David Crosby is busy making new music: 'I don't have a lot of time'

"I don't have a lot of time," says David Crosby. "I need to make all the music I possibly can."
Pink performed during a sold-out show at Xcel Energy Center in March 2018. The singer returned to the St. Paul stage Sunday.

Even on the third time, Pink charms the Twin Cities

Making her third Twin Cities appearance in 14 months, the pop princess wowed once again at Xcel Energy Center.
Garth Brooks rocked U.S. Bank Stadium Friday night. He’ll return Saturday.

It doesn't get any bigger – and better – than Garth Brooks in Minneapolis

He was in winning form at the Vikings stadium.
"This has been the biggest city for us in our career," Garth Brooks said Friday afternoon before his first of two nights at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Before opening at U.S. Bank Stadium, Garth Brooks expressed love for Mpls.

Fans snapped up 70,000 tickets sold for each night at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The History Center show includes an exhibit on Prince and “Purple Rain,” which was filmed at the club. The image projected at center was shot by S

10 things you'll learn about First Ave in new Minnesota History Center show

Imagine going to First Avenue without having to show ID, wear earplugs or put up with the icky toilets.
Pink performed a sold-out show at Xcel Energy Center in March 2018. LEILA NAVIDI • leila.navidi@startribune.com

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Garth, Pink, Lizzo and The 1975

This big gigs for May 3-9 also include the Tallest Man on Earth, Omara Portuondo, Romantica, Snow Patrol and Dee Dee Bridgewater.
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.
The finale Friday night at the Armory included Prince’s guitar front and center on stage.

With Prince on a big screen, fans party like it's 2009 at the Armory

It was the second annual posthumous concert featuring live musicians accompanying a video of Prince performing.
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.
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.
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.
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