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
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.
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.
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.
.

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.
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.
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