Terry McGinley of Chanhassen:
1 New Pornographers, First Avenue. The best Canadian product since Neil Young, the NPs have been making critically acclaimed records for 20 years. With great songwriting, complex arrangements and outstanding vocals, their performance was thoroughly entertaining.
2 The Replacements, “Dead Man’s Pop.” Revisiting the overproduced “Don’t Tell a Soul,” this package delivers on the promise of the original album. Bonus: 27 live tracks from a terrific show at UW-Milwaukee in 1989 that I attended.
3 Rolling Stones, Seattle. Traveling for my first Stones show was well worth it. They rewarded me with an energetic two-hour set. Astonishing, given that Mick Jagger’s heart surgery was only four months earlier.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Lizzo, the Armory. Everything about her was big — her voice, hair, personality, message of self-love, No. 1 smash “Truth Hurts” and, now, finally, her stardom. What a liberating, invigorating and empowering show with 8,000 overjoyed backup singers. This outstanding performance convinced me that this force who launched her career in the Twin Cities is going to win the Grammy for best new artist — and deservedly so.
2 Jann Wenner to step down as chairman of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Voting will always be subjective, but maybe there finally will be some transparency in the nominating and balloting instead of the Rolling Stone emperor reigning.
3 Bon Iver, Xcel Energy Center. This concert gave a new meaning to arena rock with an artful light show, falsetto vocals and compellingly mellow music that owes debts to Pink Floyd, the Grateful Dead and Bruce Hornsby.