John Eichten of Minneapolis:
1 Femi Kuti and the Positive Force, Cedar Cultural Center. Once again, the Cedar brought in top-notch world-renowned talent like no other venue can.
2 “Proof! An Alien Abduction Pop Musical,” Minnesota Fringe Festival. This is picked as one of the “must see” shows at the 2018 fest. I can’t wait to see what alien abduction pop music stories they can weave into 60 minutes.
3 Jack White and Nels Cline. These guitar gods are back to back: White on Monday at the Armory in Minneapolis (with no cellphones allowed!) and Cline on Tuesday at Vieux Carre in St. Paul. Couldn’t be two more completely different shows, but guitar fans will be in heaven this week.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 “The Defiant One,” Rolling Stone profile of Eric Church. A rarity among Nashville stars, he’s not afraid to speak up about the NRA, abortion rights, immigration, NFL protests, our divisive government or Garth Brooks’ lip syncing at the CMA Awards. Church’s best quote is about his genre: “Country is not about hay bales and a fiddle. It’s about emotion and the organic way we make it. We don’t use machines. We use instruments.”
2 Neal Schon’s salute to Prince, Target Field. During his second solo showcase in Journey’s crowd-thrilling concert, he offered an instrumental that featured passages from “Purple Rain” but sounded completely like Schon’s jazz-rock fusion style, not like the Purple One’s.
3 Ricky and Patty Peterson, the Dakota. Never have this brother and sister sounded so funky together. Big props to special guests Gene Lake on drums and Nicky Moroch on guitar, who played with Ricky in David Sanborn’s group. Highlights: Covers of Bonnie Raitt’s “Love Sneakin’ Up on You” and Aretha Franklin’s “Rock Steady,” on which they evoked Tower of Power.