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Jon Bream

Reporter | Pop Music
phone: 612-673-1719
Since he began covering popular music for the Star Tribune in 1974, Jon 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
Twenty One Pilots land smoothly in St. Paul

Twenty One Pilots land smoothly in St. Paul

Hard-to-classify duo scores with teen fans at soldout Xcel Center.
Boy George and Culture Club still charm with dance-happy pop-soul at Myth

Boy George and Culture Club still charm with dance-happy pop-soul at Myth

Culture Club triumphed Sunday in its first local concert since 2000.
Why some big stars get big crowds in Twin Cities (and others don't)

Why some big stars get big crowds in Twin Cities (and others don't)

What does it take to command the biggest stages during the Twin Cities' busiest concert season ever?
Boy George dishes on Prince and promises 'gorgeousness' at Twin Cities show

Boy George dishes on Prince and promises 'gorgeousness' at Twin Cities show

Boy George dishes on Prince, Trump and Culture Club's Twin Cities concert this weekend.
Best concerts of the week: Basilica Block Party, Hunter Hayes, Alabama, Frankie Lee and more

Best concerts of the week: Basilica Block Party, Hunter Hayes, Alabama, Frankie Lee and more

Your guide to the Twin Cities' must-see shows.
July 6: Adele is everyone's chatty BFF in concert at Xcel

July 6: Adele is everyone's chatty BFF in concert at Xcel

The chatty pop queen talks and sings a great show, the first of two in St. Paul to kick off her North American tour.
The Revolution will reunite at First Ave in tribute to Prince

The Revolution will reunite at First Ave in tribute to Prince

Prince's backup band from his 1980s heyday will play Sept. 2-3 at First Avenue, where "Purple Rain" was filmed. Tickets go on sale Friday.
The dos and don'ts of attending Adele concert tonight

The dos and don'ts of attending Adele concert tonight

Adele is very fussy about her audience, so be sure to follow these dos and don'ts in St. Paul.
The Big Gigs: New Standards meet the orchestra, Jayhawks do the zoo, plus Lisa Fischer & more

The Big Gigs: New Standards meet the orchestra, Jayhawks do the zoo, plus Lisa Fischer & more

Your guide to the week's best concerts.
Pop goddess Selena Gomez connects with tweens, thinly, at Xcel

Pop goddess Selena Gomez connects with tweens, thinly, at Xcel

Review: Following on the heels of Justin Bieber's Twin Cities tour stop, Selena showed she knows how to sell a song, though her voice may not be as soulful.
Prince tributes take over Sunday's BET Awards

Prince tributes take over Sunday's BET Awards

Jennifer Hudson testifying, Bilal writhing around on the stage and Janelle Monae cutting loose in ruffles, feathers and pants with cutout ­derierre panels. Throw in…
Attorneys who Prince avoided in life now oversee his estate

Attorneys who Prince avoided in life now oversee his estate

He had no will, so attorneys — a profession the star distrusted — are in charge.
Big Gigs: Pointers Sisters do Pride, Franti does Jazz Fest, more

Big Gigs: Pointers Sisters do Pride, Franti does Jazz Fest, more

Your guide to the week's best concerts.
Reeling in Phish after a 16-year absence from the Twin Cities

Reeling in Phish after a 16-year absence from the Twin Cities

The veteran jam band will open its summer tour in St. Paul.
Review: At sold-out Target Center, Justin Bieber performed without 'Purpose'

Review: At sold-out Target Center, Justin Bieber performed without 'Purpose'

Fans loved Justin Bieber at Target Center even if he didn't seem to be enjoying himself.
The week's best Twin Cities concerts, from Flight of the Conchords to Bieber

The week's best Twin Cities concerts, from Flight of the Conchords to Bieber

Flight of the Conchords: They’re calling it “The Flight of the Conchords Sing the Flight of the Conchords Tour,” and if you don’t find that…
Review: Rhythmic Paul Simon finds pleasure in his performance

Review: Rhythmic Paul Simon finds pleasure in his performance

Paul Simon brought happy hands and a great band in surveying his famed song catalog.
Why Paul Simon is America's second greatest songwriter

Why Paul Simon is America's second greatest songwriter

Here's why the neurotic New Yorker ranks right behind Bob Dylan in the rock era.
Review: Cheap Trick plays in Plymouth: Old band, new venue, good times

Review: Cheap Trick plays in Plymouth: Old band, new venue, good times

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band and Plymouth's Hilde Performance Center get thumbs-up from fans.
Review: Macklemore 'Can't Hold Us' like he once did

Review: Macklemore 'Can't Hold Us' like he once did

Review: The rapper was entertaining, but few people came as his brand continues to take a hit.
Pop/opera superstar Andrea Bocelli: 'Love is my inspiration'

Pop/opera superstar Andrea Bocelli: 'Love is my inspiration'

Singer Andrea Bocelli talks about Pavarotti, movies, romance and Target Center, where he's headed on Thursday.
Celebrate Prince's birthday with 10 songs he gave to other singers

Celebrate Prince's birthday with 10 songs he gave to other singers

As a practicing Jehovah's Witness, Prince did not believe in observing his birthday. So on what would have been his 58th birthday, we are going to celebrate the gift of song that he gave to other singers.
Billed as This Thing Called Life, all-star NPG band plays tribute to Prince

Billed as This Thing Called Life, all-star NPG band plays tribute to Prince

REVIEW: Concerts featuring some of Prince's former band mates are a tonic for grieving fans.
Review: Florence goes with the flow and fun

Review: Florence goes with the flow and fun

Review: FloMac's appeal grows by leaps and bounds at the X.
Review: Zac Brown Band is a little green for a stadium show like Target Field

Review: Zac Brown Band is a little green for a stadium show like Target Field

They just didn't have the heft of a headliner band.
25 Bob Dylan landmarks to visit in Minnesota

25 Bob Dylan landmarks to visit in Minnesota

Do you want to walk in the steps of rock's most revered lyricist?
Forever young: 25 things you should know about Bob Dylan on his 75th birthday

Forever young: 25 things you should know about Bob Dylan on his 75th birthday

Robert Allen Zimmerman was born on May 24, 1941, in Duluth, Minn. He's better known as Bob Dylan, the man who changed popular music with his words, voice and vision.
25 Dylan songs you should hear

25 Dylan songs you should hear

Star Tribune music critic, Jon Bream ranks his top 25 Dylan songs and comments on his top ten.
Is Chris Thile ready to replace Garrison Keillor on 'Prairie Home Companion'?

Is Chris Thile ready to replace Garrison Keillor on 'Prairie Home Companion'?

Chris Thile is still months away from grabbing the key to the city of Lake Wobegon from Garrison Keillor on radio's "A Prairie Home Companion." But he's hopelessly curious about how to keep the seemingly ancient medium of radio compelling in a social media world.
Facing questions, confidants of Prince staying loyal to boss

Facing questions, confidants of Prince staying loyal to boss

The latest — and last — members of Prince's ever-evolving, elusive inner circle face a firestorm of questions about his apparent illnesses and sudden demise.
Paisley Park event cancellation distresses Mixed Blood ticket holders

Paisley Park event cancellation distresses Mixed Blood ticket holders

Court-appointed trustee is enforcing a ban on events at Prince's estate.
Review: McCartney takes a sad time and makes it better

Review: McCartney takes a sad time and makes it better

Review: Witnessing McCartney, who turns 74 next month, delivering three dozen songs in nearly three hours reminded us that the music of our late heroes will live on.
Big Gigs for April 29-May 6: Paul McCartney, Ellie Goulding and more

Big Gigs for April 29-May 6: Paul McCartney, Ellie Goulding and more

  The Who: This is it for this once-great British rock band. Pete Townshend’s hearing is shot. Let’s hope Roger Daltrey’s voice has recovered from…
Review: The Who have been better, you bet

Review: The Who have been better, you bet

Review: Singer Roger Daltrey was not in top voice but guitar hero Pete Townshend didn't disappoint during the Target Center show.
Prince's albums: A complete critical guide to all 37 official releases

Prince's albums: A complete critical guide to all 37 official releases

Here’s a look at the legacy left by one of pop music’s most prolific recording artists. The following list of 37 albums is as complete…
Obituary: Prince was a once-in-a-generation artist

Obituary: Prince was a once-in-a-generation artist

Though he was a puzzle at times, the rocker was a true Minnesotan who revolutionized music more than once in a nearly 40-year career.
Sheila E: Saying goodbye to Prince was 'the hardest thing'

Sheila E: Saying goodbye to Prince was 'the hardest thing'

They were close friends for nearly 40 years. He wrote hit songs for her, she played in his band and the two were for a time romantically linked.
Until end, an enigma: Flashes of frailty in Prince's last months

Until end, an enigma: Flashes of frailty in Prince's last months

In the months before his death Thursday at 57, Prince was active, onstage and off.
How Prince and critic Jon Bream learned to see eye to eye

How Prince and critic Jon Bream learned to see eye to eye

I knew him for six years before he looked me in the eye. Yes, Prince was very shy. Until he got onstage. Or until you…
Banjo god Bela Fleck, piano giant Chick Corea continue 'musical conversation'

Banjo god Bela Fleck, piano giant Chick Corea continue 'musical conversation'

Banjo man Bela Fleck and jazz pianist Chick Corea team up at the Guthrie.
Nickel Creek guitarist Sean Watkins' solo journey lands at the Dakota

Nickel Creek guitarist Sean Watkins' solo journey lands at the Dakota

Finally, after the release of his fifth solo album, Los Angeles singer-songwriter Sean Watkins is undertaking his first extensive tour under his own name.
Blondie, k.d. lang, Jayhawks, Grace Potter lead Minnesota Zoo summer concert series

Blondie, k.d. lang, Jayhawks, Grace Potter lead Minnesota Zoo summer concert series

Blondie, k.d. lang, the Jayhawks, Grace Potter, Home Free and kids’ music favorite Laurie Berkner are among the first-timers announced for the 24th annual Minnesota…
Merle Haggard: A music critic remembers 'jazz guitar player' who 'loved to play country'

Merle Haggard: A music critic remembers 'jazz guitar player' who 'loved to play country'

Our pop music critic reflects on the late legend through interviews spanning four decades.
Barry Manilow delivers a hankie-worthy farewell to Twin Cities

Barry Manilow delivers a hankie-worthy farewell to Twin Cities

Review: The Xcel show was heavy on nostalgia and medleys – just what the Fanilows wanted.
1986 interview: 'It never has been fun' being Merle Haggard

1986 interview: 'It never has been fun' being Merle Haggard

Sitting in his tour bus, he was in a mellow mood. "I'd like it to say: `He was the greatest jazz guitar player in the world that loved to play country."'
2011 interview: Merle Haggard was the Zen master of country music

2011 interview: Merle Haggard was the Zen master of country music

"There is no in-between," he told the Star Tribune, explaining why he continued to tour into his 70s.
Lucinda Williams rides poetic 'Highway 20' to the Dakota

Lucinda Williams rides poetic 'Highway 20' to the Dakota

REVIEW: Once the queen of Americana got warmed up, the melancholy and the lyrical flowed freely.
Manilow brings One Last Time tour to St. Paul – and this time he means it

Manilow brings One Last Time tour to St. Paul – and this time he means it

Barry Manilow talks about Bob Dylan, Judy Garland and his final concert appearance in the Twin Cities.
The 5 best 'American Idol' stars

The 5 best 'American Idol' stars

Looking back, these are the "Idol" alums who can truly deliver in concert.
Don Henley to kick off State Fair grandstand series on Aug. 25

Don Henley to kick off State Fair grandstand series on Aug. 25

Don Henley is going on with his solo career. He will perform Aug. 25 at the Minnesota State Fair to promote his 2015 solo country album, "Cass County."
After 66 years in NE Minneapolis, Nye's polkas off into the sunset

After 66 years in NE Minneapolis, Nye's polkas off into the sunset

The closing-night crowd ordered pierogi and vodka and snapped souvenir photos.
Hits of yesteryear as Earth, Wind & Fire and Chicago play Xcel

Hits of yesteryear as Earth, Wind & Fire and Chicago play Xcel

REVIEW: With fellow Windy City veterans Chicago, the group had the Xcel Center on its feet.
Lucinda Williams will revisit 'Highway 20' at Dakota

Lucinda Williams will revisit 'Highway 20' at Dakota

Lucinda Williams chronicles her Southern life on stellar new double album.
Meet the Minn. pianist everyone's heard but no one knows

Meet the Minn. pianist everyone's heard but no one knows

For 23 years, pianist Richard Dworsky has been Garrison Keillor's "indispensa­ble guy" on "A Prairie Home Companion." But most Minnesotans don't even know his name.
Piano pop star Charlie Puth is a top concert pick of the week

Piano pop star Charlie Puth is a top concert pick of the week

Also mark your calendars for Zakir Hussain, Laurie Anderson and the Mavericks.
McCartney adds second Target Center concert for May 5; ticket sales start today

McCartney adds second Target Center concert for May 5; ticket sales start today

Maybe readers are amazed that the demand for a second concert was so high since tickets don't go on sale until Monday — or 10 a.m. Thursday for American Express cardholders.
Top music pick: Dee Dee Bridgewater at the Dakota

Top music pick: Dee Dee Bridgewater at the Dakota

Jazz vocal adventurer Dee Dee Bridgewater teamed up with trumpet tour de force Irvin Mayfield and others last year on “Dee Dee’s Feather,” a marvelous…
Chris Hawkey leads double life as KFAN host, country music star

Chris Hawkey leads double life as KFAN host, country music star

Chris Hawkey's day job on KFAN's top-rated "Power Trip" morning show has brought him minor celebrity in the Twin Cities area. But after dark, the radio man becomes Chris Hawkey, the aspiring country star. Can he do it all?
Fans in for a different ride as Springsteen navigates 'The River' in St. Paul

Fans in for a different ride as Springsteen navigates 'The River' in St. Paul

Why is Bruce Springsteen performing a two-disc album from 1980 in concert, including a stop Monday in St. Paul?
Late St. Paul composer Stephen Paulus wins his first Grammy

Late St. Paul composer Stephen Paulus wins his first Grammy

St. Paul composer Stephen Paulus finished editing his new piece, “Prayers and Remembrances.” Then six weeks later, he had a massive stroke and died in…
What's a Grammy worth? Minnesota winners sound off on music's biggest award

What's a Grammy worth? Minnesota winners sound off on music's biggest award

For Minnesota winners, the award can bring prestige and exposure – or nothing at all.
AC/DC, and more songs that wouldn't make it on Cupid's playlist

AC/DC, and more songs that wouldn't make it on Cupid's playlist

Unless you're an AC/DC fan, here are some sexist tunes to avoid on Valentine's Day.
Paul Simon boosts star power on 'Prairie Home Companion'

Paul Simon boosts star power on 'Prairie Home Companion'

Host-in-waiting Chris Thile has a hoot and coaxes out an encore.
Best in the business take fresh approaches

Best in the business take fresh approaches

Springsteen and Prince in concert: Two all-time greats give fans something new.
Obituary: Jazz man Morris Wilson was a 'fierce musician, uncompromising player'

Obituary: Jazz man Morris Wilson was a 'fierce musician, uncompromising player'

Morris Wilson was a jazz musician who could play R&B. But the saxophonist wasn’t one to compromise — with either his music or his life.…
Prince gets personal in his first-ever solo show

Prince gets personal in his first-ever solo show

REVIEW: On Thursday night, Prince finally made his debut as a live one-man band with a sizable Afro at Paisley Park in Chanhassen. It was the most revealing, intimate and personal show he's ever given.
Nicholas David is Feelin' good about his Dakota debut

Nicholas David is Feelin' good about his Dakota debut

The former "Voice" star is expressing a new mantra as he makes his debut at the Dakota Jazz Club.
Obituary: Percy Hughes, 93, excelled at playing jazz and teaching tennis

Obituary: Percy Hughes, 93, excelled at playing jazz and teaching tennis

Whether he was conducting the session with his saxophone or a tennis racquet, Percy Hughes was a gentle, knowledgeable leader. Saxophonist Dave Karr recalls when…
Gift guide: Rock out with books and CD boxed sets for music fans

Gift guide: Rock out with books and CD boxed sets for music fans

Skip the iTunes gift cards and Adele CD. For the music lover on your holiday list, consider a more substantial present such as a book or CD boxed set.
Which Top 40 stars earned awards at Jingle Ball?

Which Top 40 stars earned awards at Jingle Ball?

Review: Shawn Mendes, the Jonas brothers and Charlie Puth had KDWB-loving teen girls swooning.
The Grammys: A pile of nominations doesn't always turn into a big win

The Grammys: A pile of nominations doesn't always turn into a big win

Analysis: The Compton rapper picked up the most nominations, but will he win big?
Twin Cities jazz trio Rio Nido will swing once more at the Dakota

Twin Cities jazz trio Rio Nido will swing once more at the Dakota

Popular Twin Cities retro jazz trio Rio Nido returns to the scene after a three-decade absence.
Cocaine found on tour bus where rock star Scott Weiland died

Cocaine found on tour bus where rock star Scott Weiland died

Rock star Scott Weiland was found dead Thursday night in his tour bus in Bloomington, and a small amount of cocaine was nearby, authorities said.
Minneapolis musician Renee Austin happy to sing the blues again

Minneapolis musician Renee Austin happy to sing the blues again

Thyroid surgery cost blues-soul singer Renee Austin her voice in 2005 — but it's back, and so is she, with a gig at the Dakota.
John Mayer's passion helps enliven newest incarnation of the Dead

John Mayer's passion helps enliven newest incarnation of the Dead

Review: Young pop star not only fit well but brought electricity.
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