Wendy Gaskill of Mpls.:
1 Joan Baez, State Theatre. In a memorable evening, she took us on a beautiful journey through songs we all know and love. It was a real love fest on what was her farewell tour.
2 “New Like Whatever,” KFAI Radio (90.3/ 106.7 FM). Michael Cyr’s show — 8 to 10 a.m. on Tuesdays — offers a wide range of new music, with delightful chatter from him. A new gem at KFAI.
3 Tina Schlieske, Icehouse. At her residency, the veteran Minnesota-reared singer brings warmth, wit and a voice getting better with age. A great intimate setting.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Taylor Swift urges people to vote in midterm elections. She took her message to social media and the American Music Awards. On Instagram, she got specifically political about candidates and issues in Tennessee, where she votes. Good for her for using her voice to encourage people to participate in our democracy.
2 “Hamilton,” Orpheum Theatre. Finally got to the room where it happens. The ballyhooed musical truly lived up to the hype. Ingenious, revolutionary, historical.
3 Joan Baez, State Theatre. In her Twin Cities swan song, the folk-music queen and godmother of social activism gave a generous concert filled with grace, gratitude, unwavering fortitude and political zingers. On the day of Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation, Baez had a message for him: “Up yours.” And, linking arms with her bandmates and crew during the playing of Jimi Hendrix’s version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at concert’s end, Baez and team all took a knee. Message delivered in song, words and actions.