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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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