Howard Liszt of Wayzata:
1 David Byrne, Orpheum. He redefines what a concert can be. This show was a seamless combination of interpretive dance, dramatic lighting, unbridled energy and infectious songs, all performed by a tribe of 12. It was an uplifting and unforgettable treat. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen.
2 Davina and the Vagabonds, Palm Desert, Calif. The desert “white hairs” were introduced to this sassy, bluesy diva and her Twin Cities band. What fun! It was like a quick trip to Bourbon Street without the bar bill.
3 LSD and the Search for God, Uptown VFW. Fronted by a Minneapolis native, this San Francisco psychedelic band took an enthusiastic crowd on a dreamy, easy musical trip — a series of soft vocals that floated over relaxing melodies.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Kelly Clarkson’s opening, Billboard Music Awards. Instead of asking for a moment of silence for the Texas high school shooting victims, this native Texan and mother of four asked for “a moment of action.” Tearful, emotional and real.
2 Ranky Tanky, the Dakota. This rootsy South Carolina ensemble convinced with its harmonies, jazzy musical chops and Quiana Parler’s world-class singing.
3 William Lee’s commentary on R. Kelly, Chicago Tribune. A thoughtful and thorough report on how Chicago’s black community is finally and reluctantly turning its back on one of its own stars.