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Lauryn Hill at First Avenue

Posted Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 11:28 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Family,Friends,Music at 11:28 PM

I’ve run into my friend RW the past two days in a row, which reminded me of the Lauryn Hill concert at First Avenue last September (that I never wrote about). You can read Chris Riemenschneider’s review of the 9/4/2016 concert here, since this is all I really remember from that night:

  • We loved the Fugees and were sad we hadn’t seen any of her other recent visits.
  • It was the most money we’ve ever spent on a First Avenue ticket.
  • We learned RW is a true First Ave VIP and got us one of the tables upstairs.
  • Ms. Hill completely lives up to the diva reputation (and her band probably wanted to kill her by the end of the show).

That cover of Nothing Compares 2 U was amazing, though.

Not sure why all the pictures from this show were so terrible, but here you go…

Right back attcha, Bruno

Posted Thursday, April 20th, 2017 04:14 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Music,Travel at 4:14 PM

24K @ the nerd conference this summer

Peter Gabriel and Sting at Summerfest

Posted Saturday, April 15th, 2017 09:55 pm GMT -5 in Casinos,Concerts,Food,Music,Travel at 9:55 PM

Summerfest in Milwaukee just announced their 2017 lineup, which continues their amazing run of awesome bookings. I still don’t fully understand how they can get such great acts year after year, while charging so little to get in. There must be some serious beer vendor underwriting going on – plus now they are stepping up the other corporate sponsorships to improve the grounds.

While the closing night this year features the outstanding Outlaw Music Festival (with Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Sheryl Crow, Jason Isbell, Nathaniel Rateliff and Margo Price), I don’t think we are going to go this year. Reviewing the daily lineups reminded me I never wrote about last year’s finale: Peter Gabriel and Sting on the Rock Paper Scissors tour.

The problem with me forgetting about these posts in the draft folder is that I have a really hard time remembering exactly what happened. Thankfully this Sunday night show from July 10, 2016 was covered by the local newspaper. They also included the setlist I included below (followed by some really bad shots from our waaaaay in the back seats).

After re-reading the review, I do remember that I was really concerned heading in to the show about Sting covering Peter Gabriel songs and vice versa. We’ve seen Sting a number of times, but had never seen Gabriel and didn’t want to get a “fake” cover show. In reality, the show was the best of both worlds and was one of my favorites all year. I don’t recall how much the tickets were, but I know they were expensive and that I intentionally bought seats farther back to limit cost.

The only other things I remember about this trip is that we stayed in the really nice new rooms at the Potawatomi Hotel and we took our first two Uber rides (which also turned out to be our last Uber rides). Didn’t play much at the casino – Milwaukee pricing is a little too rich for my taste. Oh yeah, also made a quick pit stop at the Gritty in Madison…

  • The Rhythm of the Heat (PG)
  • If I Ever Lose My Faith in You (Sting)
  • Digging in the Dirt (PG and Sting)
  • Invisible Sun (PG and Sting)
  • Games Without Frontiers (PG and Sting)
  • Shock the Monkey (PG and Sting)
  • Secret World (PG)
  • Driven to Tears (Sting)
  • Fragile (PG and Sting)
  • Red Rain (PG)
  • Dancing with the Moonlit Knight (Sting)
  • Message in a Bottle (PG and Sting)
  • San Jacinto (PG)
  • Walking in your Footsteps (Sting)
  • Kiss That Frog (PG and Sting)
  • Don’t Give Up (PG)
  • The Hounds of Winter (Sting)
  • Big Time (PG and Sting)
  • Englishman in New York (PG and Sting)
  • Solsbury Hill (PG and Sting)
  • Every Little Thing She Does is Magic (Sting)
  • If You Love Somebody Set Them Free (Gabriel)
  • Roxanne (Sting)
  • Love Can Heal (Gabriel)
  • Desert Rose (Sting)
  • In Your Eyes (PG and Sting)
  • Encore
  • Every Breath You Take (PG and Sting)
  • Sledgehammer (PG and Sting)

Tonight in the Main Room

Posted Thursday, April 6th, 2017 07:40 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Music at 7:40 PM

Psychedelic Furs and Robyn Hitchcock @ First Avenue

Dream On

Posted Monday, April 3rd, 2017 01:39 am GMT -5 in Concerts,Music,Quotes at 1:39 AM

Sing with me, just for today. Maybe tomorrow, the good lord will take you away…

Fireworks and palm trees

Posted Monday, April 3rd, 2017 01:29 am GMT -5 in Concerts,Music,Travel at 1:29 AM

What a night in Phoenix 


Posted Thursday, March 30th, 2017 12:30 am GMT -5 in Concerts,Music,Quotes at 12:30 AM

Catching an all-night station, somewhere in Louisiana. It sounds like 1963, but for now, it sounds like heaven…

Behind the board

Posted Thursday, March 30th, 2017 12:29 am GMT -5 in Concerts,Friends,Music at 12:29 AM

Son Volt @ First Ave with DGS

Dolly Parton at Grand Casino

Posted Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017 10:47 pm GMT -5 in Casinos,Concerts,Music at 10:47 PM

When my mom stopped to visit the loft earlier this week, we were talking about upcoming concerts and she mentioned that Dolly Parton is one of her favorites. That reminded me I never posted the pictures from the show last summer at Grand Casino Hinckley. The Pure and Simple Tour stopped for a Wednesday evening show in their outdoor amphitheater on July 20, 2016 and thanks to Hinckley’s amazing general manager Mel Towle, we got to sit front and center (seriously, Mel is one of the best people in the entire casino world).

Growing up, I probably knew Dolly more for the movie 9 to 5 than for her country music. I also thought it was cool that we shared a birthday (hello, Edgar Allan Poe). Seeing her perform live, it’s really hard to believe she is 70 (now 71). Gotta believe Dolly and Debbie Harry must have some sort of Secret 70 Club that prevents the effects of aging.

Don’t have a set list or much recollection of the show now – I just remember it was really sunny at the start and that she was quite the entertainer. I think we also waited in the parking lot afterwards for nearly as long as she played (guessing the Hinckley police force is not a fan of summer concert nights). Looking at set lists from other stops, she did hit all the big ones: Jolene, Islands in the Stream, 9 to 5, Coat of Many Colors and I Will Always Love You.

Thanks, Sugar!

The Spring ’17 Choir

Posted Tuesday, March 14th, 2017 06:56 am GMT -5 in Concerts,Family,Music,Schools at 6:56 AM

MK didn’t think so, but they sounded great

Hippo Campus @ First Avenue

Posted Sunday, March 12th, 2017 08:59 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Music at 8:59 PM

Night two of a weekend sellout in Minneapolis

Another solid EVHS concert

Posted Tuesday, March 7th, 2017 04:00 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Family,Music,Schools at 4:00 PM

Go, baritones, go

Blondie at the Minnesota Zoo

Posted Sunday, January 15th, 2017 12:05 am GMT -5 in Concerts,Music at 12:05 AM

When the sun comes out in January and the temperature gets above 10F, Minnesotans can be seen out and about without jackets. Days like these help us forget how good we have it in the summer when the Music in the Zoo season is in full force. We didn’t go to a ton of concerts during the 2016 run, but the Blondie show on June 11th was an overall music highlight of the year. This was another bucket list artist for me and I really had no idea that Deborah Harry was 70 years old (now 71).

As Jon Bream wrote in his (short) review, Debbie was joined by original Blondie members Chris Stein (guitar) and Clem Burke (drums), along with three other younger performers. Minneapolis band Step Rockets opened the show.

There were so many great songs from my youth: One Way or Another, Call Me, The Tide Is High and Heart of Glass were all wonderful. The highlight for me, however, was the version of Rapture that included a segue into Prince’s Kiss and (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party) by the Beastie Boys.


  • One Way or Another
  • Rave
  • Hanging on the Telephone (The Nerves cover)
  • Mile High
  • Call Me
  • What I Heard
  • Euphoria
  • A Rose by Any Name
  • Rapture (with “Kiss” by Prince and “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party)” by the Beastie Boys)
  • The Tide Is High (The Paragons cover)
  • Atomic
  • Sugar on the Side
  • Heart of Glass
  • Encore:
  • Hollywood Babylon (Misfits cover)
  • Rip Her to Shreds
  • Dreaming

Concert Goals

Posted Monday, January 9th, 2017 11:17 am GMT -5 in Concerts,Music at 11:17 AM

The Ryman had a pretty outstanding year, eh?

Full Size Image

The Cure at Xcel

Posted Sunday, January 8th, 2017 05:30 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Music at 5:30 PM

For all the loss we experienced in the music world in 2016, it was nice to attend a number of concerts by acts that I’ve had on my list for years. The Cure hadn’t played a Minnesota date in 20 years, so when their June 7th show at Xcel was announced, I really didn’t care how much it was – we were all going.

Turns out prices were reasonable, but for some reason it was only a half-house setup. I got tickets during the initial on-sale, but then the promoter did something I’ve never seen before: they pushed the stage back and switched it to a full arena layout (which made our seats worse). I ended up buying four new tickets and was able to refund the original purchase (but had to float the extra money for a few weeks).

Both Ross and Chris had nice write-ups of the show, which (just like Sir Paul) ran for nearly three hours and included 34 songs and *four* encores. Almost linked to the City Pages negative review, but decided not to after reading the comments (never read the comments).

Just about every show we saw after April 21 either mentioned Prince, dedicated a song to him or performed a cover. Mr. Smith was a little subtle – “The pressure of holding a purple guitar is really getting to me.” Speaking of Mr. Smith, I just couldn’t stop thinking about him versus Mecha-Streisand on South Park. And as Kyle says, “Disintegration is the best album ever.”

The show was a little too long for the kids on a Tuesday night, but I will never complain about that. They were also sad there was no Friday I’m in Love or The Lovecats, but we just hit a night those weren’t played (other tour stops did get those). Overall, I was very happy – particularly with hearing Pictures of You, Lovesong and Fascination Street. Great production quality and lighting too.

  • Open
  • Alt.End
  • A Night Like This
  • The Walk
  • Push
  • Inbetween Days
  • Just Like Heaven
  • The Snakepit
  • Pictures Of You
  • The Perfect Girl
  • High
  • The End Of The World
  • Lovesong
  • Dressing Up
  • Lullaby
  • Fascination Street
  • From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea
  • One Hundred Years
  • End
  • Encore 1:
  • It Can Never Be The Same
  • Want
  • Shake Dog Shake
  • Encore 2:
  • If Only Tonight We Could Sleep
  • Charlotte Sometimes
  • A Forest
  • Encore 3:
  • Never Enough
  • Burn
  • Wrong Number
  • Encore 4:
  • Hot Hot Hot !!!
  • The Caterpillar
  • Let’s Go To Bed
  • Close To Me
  • Why Can’t I Be You?
  • Boys Don’t Cry

Paul McCartney at Target Center

Posted Saturday, January 7th, 2017 08:51 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Family,Music at 8:51 PM

When Paul McCartney played Target Field in August 2014, I just couldn’t pull the trigger on expensive seats in an unknown venue (at least from an acoustics standpoint). Then the reviews came out and I was in serious regret mode. And as the last few years have shown, if you want to see someone in concert, do it when you have the chance.

Sir Paul may be getting up there (he turns 75 in June), but his concerts are still marathons (just like Bruce and Neil). When the One on One tour was announced, I cringed a bit when I saw Target Center listed. That venue has gotten much better over the years, but I still prefer Xcel (especially when the tickets are pricey). I pulled some strings to get the best tickets I could for the price category we wanted and ended up about ten rows up on the side (and not in the $250 section).

This show was everything I had hoped for – nearly three hours of non-stop classics from a true rock and roll superstar. Based on Ross Raihala’s review, it was very similar to what I missed at Target Field. Our May 4th concert was almost two weeks after Prince’s death, so the one noticeable change was the addition of Let’s Go Crazy to the encore (which was heartfelt, but didn’t follow the actual lyrics). Sounded like the May 5th show was a carbon copy of the night before, so I’m glad we didn’t try for both shows.

The production quality of this show was top-notch. The rising platform, background video boards, lighting and pyro were all incredible – I can still feel the heat from Live and Let Die in my mind. The only flaw in the production were the two boom cameras on each side of the stage that continuously blocked sightlines all night. Telephoto lenses, anyone? As a child of the 70s, I’d also take more Wings, but it’s hard to complain about 40 songs – especially when they include Let It Be, Hey Jude and Eleanor Rigby.


  • A Hard Day’s Night
  • Save Us
  • Can’t Buy Me Love
  • Letting Go
  • Temporary Secretary
  • Let Me Roll It
  • Foxy Lady (Hendrix)
  • I’ve Got a Feeling
  • My Valentine
  • Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five
  • Here, There and Everywhere
  • Maybe I’m Amazed
  • We Can Work It Out
  • In Spite of All the Danger (Quarrymen)
  • You Won’t See Me
  • Love Me Do
  • And I Love Her
  • Blackbird
  • Here Today
  • Queenie Eye
  • New
  • The Fool on the Hill
  • Lady Madonna
  • FourFiveSeconds
  • Eleanor Rigby
  • Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite
  • Something
  • Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
  • Band on the Run
  • Back in the USSR
  • Let It Be
  • Live and Let Die
  • Hey Jude
  • Yesterday
  • Hi Hi Hi
  • Let’s Go Crazy (Prince)
  • Birthday
  • Golden Slumbers
  • Carry That Weight
  • The End

Bob Mould at First Avenue

Posted Saturday, January 7th, 2017 06:46 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Food,Friends,Music at 6:46 PM

The day Prince died, Bob Mould played a micro show at the Turf Club in St. Paul. This was a preview for back-to-back nights in the mainroom at First Avenue, the first of which DGS and I planned to attend. Still in shock from the purple news, the club was a very calming and welcoming place for us to be. They had the screen down over the stage before the show (as usual), but that night it was a non-stop loop of Prince pictures (see the gallery after the jump).

After an early dinner at the Depot Tavern, we got inside right at doors in order to catch both opening acts – Fury Things and The Suicide Commandos. Both openers were good – Fury Things opened up for Bob in the mainroom in 2015 (and that Entry show in 2014 that I still regret not attending). The Commandos are older than both of us, but still bring it in a big way.

While I was never a big Hüsker Dü fan back in the day, I loved Sugar and have all of Mould’s solo albums (and have since gone back for the early stuff too). The latest Patch the Sky album received great reviews and even got a fair amount of airplay on The Current. In an interview with Chris Riemenschneider before the Minnesota shows, the 55-year-old Mould talks about three solo albums in four years, working through personal issues in San Francisco and how he takes care of himself by eating right and getting to the gym every day.

I didn’t get a set list to this show, but Chad Werner at City Pages had a nice write-up. It was a blistering rock and roll show and the cover of “When You Were Mine” was a nice touch (even with the tour manger singing lead). The only disappointment was the sound engineer from a video crew that thought it would be cool to set up a dual-mic rig in front of the soundboard, perfectly blocking our view of center stage. Boo!

From the Bob Mould Facebook page:

I never spoke with Prince. He always struck me as a private guy. Maybe he was shy around strangers. We never had much actual interaction – a couple nods in passing, but no real words were exchanged.

The Twin Cities of the 1980s was a very special time for all of us local musicians. There were the North Minneapolis R&B artists, the South Minneapolis guitar rock bands, and in the center of it all was First Avenue/7th Street Entry.

I’ve seen Prince perform sold out shows with The Revolution at First Ave, he and a rhythm section jamming as a guitar/bass/drums three piece in the Entry for 30 people, and was selfishly frustrated when he took over “the main room” for 25 days of filming Purple Rain.

I had the pleasure of spending seven days recording the basic tracks for my first solo album at Paisley Park in December 1988. It was the most professional studio I had ever seen at that point in my life. On the seventh day, I moved from the B room to Studio A, which was Prince’s primary room. I remember seeing Sheila E’s percussion in one of the isolation booths. The large control room was decorated with several of Prince’s scarves. It certainly felt like Prince’s home.

Prince was an artist through and through – always pushing himself to new levels, often creating controversy through his actions and words, and ultimately creating a lifetime of wonderful memories for the world with his incredible volumes of published (and unheard) works.

I heard the news while driving from Tomah WI to Minneapolis. I immediately flipped on The Current 89.3 FM to make sure what I was hearing was true. Sure enough, there was a live report from outside Paisley Park confirming the sad news of Prince’s passing.

I’m two blocks from First Avenue as I write these words. Friday and Saturday nights, I will walk that same stage we all know from the movie. The exterior walls of First Avenue are covered with stars to honor the musicians who made an impact on music fans in Minnesota.

Make no mistake: Prince was the brightest star in these Northern skies. My deepest condolences to his family, friends, and fellow musicians. Prince’s music will give consolation and comfort to the collective grief. Godspeed.

Väsen at the Cedar

Posted Thursday, January 5th, 2017 09:19 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Family,Music at 9:19 PM

The night before we went to see fake Foreigner at Mystic Lake, we were at the Cedar Cultural Center to see a Swedish original, Väsen. Founded in 1990, we first discovered this unique group when they were a guest on A Prairie Home Companion at the Fitzgerald in St. Paul.

Väsen has released 16 albums, but we only have two in our iTunes library (so far). It’s a bit hard to describe their sound, but let’s just say the nyckelharpa is an amazing instrument. Olov Johansson is a World Champion nyckelharpa player and the other two members of the trio, Mikael Marin (viola) and Roger Tallroth (guitar), combine to create a Scandinavian folk sound that is reminiscent of the theme song to the TV show Lilyhammer.

They joked that they play too many polskas, but what a fun night of music.

Foreigner at Mystic Lake

Posted Wednesday, January 4th, 2017 09:48 pm GMT -5 in Casinos,Concerts,Family,Music at 9:48 PM

This Saturday night casino show back on 4/9/2016 was the one that finally made me realize I need to research old groups *before* I buy tickets. Foreigner songs were a big part of my formative years and I had never seen them live. While I knew Lou Gramm was out of the picture, I figured Mick Jones was still worth the money, right?

Well, turns out Mick was sick that night and we ended up paying waaaaay too much money to hear what was essentially a Foreigner cover band. It was really weird, though, that I was one of the few people in the sold-out, 2100-seat venue that seemed to care. I mean, just check out this glowing review from Dave Rubene at Twin Cities Media.

What the hell, people.

I will say, the musicians themselves were talented and it was cool to have them bring out the local high school choir during the encore. I also really have a soft spot for many of these songs – particularly Juke Box Hero, Waiting for a Girl Like You and Urgent. This wasn’t enough, however, for me to get over how the new lead singer sounded nothing like the original.

Set list and pictures after the jump.

  • Double Vision
  • Head Games
  • Cold as Ice
  • Waiting for a Girl Like You
  • Dirty White Boy
  • Say You Will
  • Feels Like the First Time
  • Urgent
  • Juke Box Hero
  • Encore:
  • Long, Long Way From Home
  • I Want to Know What Love Is (with Prior Lake High School Choir)
  • Hot Blooded

The 2016 Winter Concert

Posted Tuesday, December 20th, 2016 09:01 am GMT -5 in Concerts,Family,Holidays,Music,Schools at 9:01 AM

MK @ EVHS Choir

Gary Clark Jr. at First Avenue

Posted Sunday, November 27th, 2016 10:20 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Family,Music at 10:20 PM

Jumping back into the pile of old concert review drafts, here’s one from April 2, 2016, when we went to see Gary Clark, Jr. at First Avenue for his The Story of Sonny Boy Slim tour. We didn’t see him the first time he came through town solo in 2013, so we were really looking forward to this show (plus the $37.50 tickets went on sale like nine months earlier). Carson McHone was the opener, but I think we got there late and ended up with a crappy spot in the back corner of the floor, so I don’t recall much about her set.

To be honest, I’m a much bigger fan of Blak and Blu than I am of the new album. Still, Mr. Clark is an amazing musician and it was great to see him at my favorite venue. He came back to play the Basilica Block Party again later in the year, but we always seem to have conflicts with that event (and I’ve still never been to one). Can’t seem to find a full set list anywhere online, but here is the Riemenschneider review from the Strib. A few pics after the jump too.

Babes in Toyland at First Ave

Posted Tuesday, November 15th, 2016 08:15 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Family,Music at 8:15 PM

Digging into the backlog of concert posts, here’s one from a show way back in January (1/30/2016, to be exact). I was really excited to see the reunited Babes in Toyland at First Avenue, especially after hearing great things about their 2015 Rock the Garden gig. Kat Bjelland and Lori Barbero didn’t disappoint, bringing the fierceness that made them a favorite of Beavis and Butthead. New bass player Clara Salyer fit in just fine and opener Kitten Forever set the tone early, jumping between roles in classic girl punk style. Read more in this blog post from Twin Cities Media, which also provided a set list.

One side note – we were supposed to see Babes again as part of a Lowertown Line taping on October 20th, but they cancelled just a few days before (Bruise Violet took their place and kicked ass). More pics and the set list after the jump.

  • He’s My Thing
  • Right Now
  • Spit to See the Shine
  • Bluebell
  • Swamp Pussy
  • Sweet ’69
  • Won’t Tell
  • Drivin’
  • Handsome & Gretel
  • Catatonic
  • Bruise Violet
  • Ariel
  • Ripe
  • Vomit Heart
  • Pearl
  • Spun
  • Dust Cake Boy
  • Encore
  • Oh Yeah

Star-struck & tongue-tied

Posted Tuesday, November 8th, 2016 07:04 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Music at 7:04 PM

Thank you Suzy V for the “To DK” – sorry I didn’t say more

The Fall Concert 2016

Posted Thursday, October 27th, 2016 08:41 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Family,Music,Schools at 8:41 PM

Eastview High School Symphonic Band

Punk Night @ Lowertown Line

Posted Thursday, October 20th, 2016 08:20 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Music at 8:20 PM

Bruise Violet kicking ass

Soul Asylum at the Turf Club

Posted Wednesday, October 19th, 2016 09:14 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Family,Music at 9:14 PM

Let’s set the way-back machine to my last birthday (only 39 weeks ago), when I used my “Luos Mulysa” tickets on a cold Tuesday night at the Turf Club to see Mr. Dave Pirner and his buddies (including the always wonderful Michael Bland). This was before their new album came out and before they made their triumphant return to the Main Room.

We’d seen Soul Asylum before, but without Dan Murphy and Karl Mueller, we really didn’t know what to expect this time. Dave was in great form, though, and I even liked most of the new songs. This is a group that sneaks up on you, with a lot of songs you remember once they start playing them (full set list after the jump).

We skipped opener Rupert Angeleyes, but aside from that, I don’t remember much else from that night. This little social mashup site, though, has a sampling.

  • Shove
  • Shut Down
  • Just Like Anyone
  • Misery
  • Watcha Need
  • Black Gold
  • Without a Trace
  • Summer of Drugs
  • Can’t Help It
  • Supersonic
  • Never Really Been
  • Eyes of a Child
  • Runaway Train
  • Spinnin
  • Gravity
  • Rebel Rebel (David Bowie)
  • Stand Up and Be Strong
  • String of Pearls
  • April Fool

Fall Choir @ EVHS

Posted Tuesday, October 18th, 2016 06:59 am GMT -5 in Concerts,Family,Music,Schools at 6:59 AM

Kid two all fancy-like

Fake Warrant @ Mystic Lake

Posted Saturday, October 15th, 2016 08:27 pm GMT -5 in Casinos,Concerts,Music at 8:27 PM

Three out of five ain’t bad

Mini Turtles @ Lowertown Line

Posted Friday, October 7th, 2016 01:52 am GMT -5 in Concerts,Family,Friends,Music at 1:52 AM

Dead Man Winter, tpt 

Proud of the fans

Posted Monday, September 19th, 2016 02:34 am GMT -5 in Concerts,Music,Work at 2:34 AM

Vikings and the Minnesota Orchestra salute Prince (plus the Steeles and the NPG)

The Vikings Cut

Posted Monday, September 19th, 2016 02:29 am GMT -5 in Concerts,Football,Music,Work at 2:29 AM

Beethoven Rocks

Sonny and Cindy @ CCC

Posted Sunday, September 11th, 2016 08:03 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Music at 8:03 PM

Thanks for the tickets, SMA

Rich is a player

Posted Monday, September 5th, 2016 06:01 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Friends,Music at 6:01 PM

VIP table for Ms. Lauryn Hill

The Revolution at First Avenue

Posted Saturday, September 3rd, 2016 10:45 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Music,Personal at 10:45 PM

When The Revolution announced the first two shows at First Avenue, I knew I wanted to be there (the third show was added later). The $65 ticket price ($78.54 with fees) was the highest I’ve ever paid at that venue, but it’s been a tough four months since Prince died and I was hoping for a bit of closure. After reading Andrea Swensson’s review of the first night on The Current Blog, it sounded like I needed to bring a large box of Kleenex with me. Turns out the second night was personally a much different experience for me: glad I went, but not at all what I was expecting emotionally.

It’s hard to be critical of a group of musicians that are also clearly in mourning, but this show was rough around the edges and at times was just plain hard to listen to. Part of that was obviously due to the missing key ingredient up front, but I just don’t like Wendy’s voice (nothing personal). It helped when André Cymone came out a few songs into the show and I thought Bilal did an amazing job on The Beautiful Ones, but I could barely listen to Sometimes It Snows In April (which is one of my top 7 Prince songs of all time). It was clearly heart-felt and personal, but wasn’t up to Prince standards.

My other primary criticism was the song selection. The Revolution officially played on four albums: 1999, Purple Rain, Around the World in a Day and Parade. You could argue that André Cymone and Dez Dickerson could maybe claim some of the older songs, but it didn’t seem right to me to have them play songs like Controversy, Uptown and Let’s Work. To me, those aren’t Revolution songs. But, hey, if this was what Wendy, Lisa, Brown Mark, Bobby Z. and Dr. Fink wanted as a tribute, so be it.

There are lots of stories with photos out there to read on these shows: Cecilia Johnson at The Current for night two, Ross Raihala and Chris Riemenschneider were also both there for night two, while Chad Werner at City Pages had a much higher impression of the first night than I did for my show. Apollonia looked great (as did Cymone) and I didn’t know about Brenda Bennett until I looked her up later. Celebrity super-fans Maya Rudolph and Questlove were clearly having a good time. Wish I would’ve saw Har Mar Superstar on the bike. Overheard that the sound guy (who looked like Mr. Bean) was the same one who mixes for Justin Timberlake.

Back there again tonight for Ms. Lauryn Hill.

  • Let’s Go Crazy
  • Computer Blue
  • America
  • Mountains
  • Do it All Night
  • Let’s Work
  • Uptown
  • Party Up
  • Little Red Corvette
  • 1999
  • Sometimes it Snows in April
  • Raspberry Beret
  • The Beautiful Ones
  • Private Joy
  • When Doves Cry
  • Controversy
  • Kiss
  • Baby I’m a Star
  • Purple Rain

UPDATE: Jay Gabler writes about night three for The Current Blog, while Jon Bream covers the whole series for the Strib.

Big Layne and Aleesha!

Posted Sunday, August 28th, 2016 09:06 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Friends,Music at 9:06 PM

The Not Guilty Band play the Fair

Black Sabbath at Target Center

Posted Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016 11:04 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Friends,Music at 11:04 PM

I hate starting off blog posts talking about how long it’s been since I’ve posted, but with work the way it’s been, here we are talking about a concert that happened eight months ago. After working the Metallica concert this past weekend, I realized I never posted a story about that other metal group I saw this year, Black Sabbath.


The Wizard of Ozz, 67, brought his “The End” tour to Target Center on Monday, January 25. A group of us was lucky enough to get seventh row floor seats for what turned out to be a very entertaining evening. I’ve seen so many shows since then (there are a dozen more drafts in the queue), it’s hard to remember specifics. Good thing City Pages had an insightful review you can read here. Set list and pictures after the jump.

  • Black Sabbath
  • Fairies Wear Boots
  • After Forever
  • Into the Void
  • Snowblind
  • War Pigs
  • Behind the Wall of Sleep
  • N.I.B.
  • Hand of Doom
  • Rat Salad
  • Iron Man
  • God Is Dead?
  • Under the Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes
  • Dirty Women
  • Paranoid
  • Children of the Grave

Metallica: Hardwired Premiere

Posted Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016 02:46 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Links,Music,Video at 2:46 PM

Work hard, play hard

Posted Sunday, August 21st, 2016 12:01 am GMT -5 in Concerts,Music,Work at 12:01 AM

Damn, that was a lot of work

Kill the Lights

Posted Friday, August 19th, 2016 11:56 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Music,Work at 11:56 PM

Our first (public) concert

Time to build a stage

Posted Tuesday, August 16th, 2016 08:37 am GMT -5 in Concerts,Music,Work at 8:37 AM

Luke Bryan takes over the stadium

The Voyage Begins

Posted Tuesday, July 26th, 2016 11:25 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Food,Music,Work at 11:25 PM

Nicely done, Vikings crew

St. Paul Central represent 

Posted Tuesday, July 26th, 2016 11:17 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Music at 11:17 PM

Mint Condition open U.S. Bank Stadium

Frankie at the Fetus

Posted Friday, July 8th, 2016 07:14 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Music,Shopping at 7:14 PM

In-stores are the greatest

Thank you, Milwaukee!

Posted Friday, July 8th, 2016 12:39 am GMT -5 in Concerts,Fashion,Music at 12:39 AM

We still love you, though 

Jayhawks at the MN Zoo

Posted Friday, July 1st, 2016 08:46 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Friends,Music at 8:46 PM

Beautiful night at SK’s house with DGS


Posted Sunday, June 12th, 2016 07:06 am GMT -5 in Concerts,Music,Quotes at 7:06 AM

One way or another, I’m gonna find ya, I’m gonna getcha getcha getcha getcha…

Freshman choir finale

Posted Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 06:21 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Family,Music,Schools at 6:21 PM

Freshman Select @ EVHS – Seasons of Love

The Arcs at First Avenue

Posted Monday, May 30th, 2016 09:25 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Family,Music at 9:25 PM

This is probably a new record for most-delayed blog post after an event, but it was almost exactly six months ago that we saw The Arcs in the Mainroom at First Avenue. The show was a Tuesday night deal (12/1/2015), which I usually like to avoid these days. But how can you miss out on seeing someone like Dan Auerbach play that room?

I’ve never seen The Black Keys live, so this side project is the best you can do right now. They are mainly playing festivals this summer, returning to the area on September 17th for Festival Palomino, presented by the always excellent Trampled By Turtles. The Yours, Dreamily debut album sounds great, which make me want to see The Black Keys even more now.

Since it’s been so long, I don’t remember too many specifics. Here is a review by Colton Davis that I found (along with his setlist after the jump). The Mariachi Flor De Toloache cover of Come As You Are was cool, as was Dan’s white “rocket-ship” guitar and the dual drummer setup stage right.

Set List (according to Twin Cities Media):

  • Stay In My Corner
  • Bad Girl
  • Pistol Made of Bones
  • Put a Flower in Your Pocket
  • The Arc
  • Nature’s Child
  • Little Baby (The Blue Rondos cover)
  • Cold Companion
  • My Mind
  • Chains of Love
  • Everything You Do (You Do For You)
  • Too Young to Burn (Sonny & The Sunsets cover)
  • I Want a Holler
  • Outta My Mind
  • Velvet Ditch
  • Aretha

The MSF talent booker is amazing

Posted Tuesday, May 10th, 2016 08:27 am GMT -5 in Concerts,Links,Music at 8:27 AM

Band on the Run

Posted Thursday, May 5th, 2016 08:58 am GMT -5 in Concerts,Music,Quotes at 8:58 AM

Well, the undertaker drew a heavy sigh, seeing no one else had come. And a bell was ringing in the village square, for the rabbits on the run…

Only been to 3 of these

Posted Saturday, April 30th, 2016 09:44 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Links,Music at 9:44 PM

The 100 Greatest American Music Venues

Bob and the Fair

Posted Saturday, April 23rd, 2016 10:22 am GMT -5 in Concerts,Links,Music at 10:22 AM

Bob Mould talks about his music, his legacy and the State Fair

First Avenue, the day after

Posted Friday, April 22nd, 2016 09:31 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Music,Personal at 9:31 PM


The calm before the storm

Posted Friday, April 22nd, 2016 09:21 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Music at 9:21 PM

Bob Mould @ First Avenue, 4/22/2016

Back where it all happened

Posted Friday, April 22nd, 2016 09:19 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,History,Movies,Music at 9:19 PM

Purple Rain @ First Ave

Lovesexy Tour

Posted Thursday, April 21st, 2016 09:33 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Music at 9:33 PM

Pretty sure I saw this one

Purple Rain Tour

Posted Thursday, April 21st, 2016 09:29 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Music at 9:29 PM

Did I go to this or just buy the book?

America at Grand Casino Hinckley

Posted Monday, March 28th, 2016 12:38 am GMT -5 in Casinos,Concerts,Food,Music at 12:38 AM

When I was little growing up in St. Paul, we had an old turntable that I used as my own personal DJ station. The volume, treble and bass knobs let me create simple “mixes” on the fly, which I thought sounded awesome. The smaller 45 rpm singles were my main source of entertainment, which I eagerly used my allowance on every few weeks at the old Montgomery Ward on University Avenue. Full-size LPs were an expensive luxury, so I only got those a few times a year as gifts (Donna Summer’s On the Radio and Eagles Live were two favorites).

I remember numbering my 45s and hanging them on nails in my closet. One of the early single digit platters was America’s A Horse with No Name, which I loved to mix because it started off so quietly. Played the heck out of that one. When I bought my first bird, Ken the cockatiel, we had a silly inside joke about changing the lyrics to “I’ve been through the desert on a chicken named Ken.”

Good times.

My parents owned History, America’s Greatest Hits on vinyl, so I learned about all of their other songs: Sister Golden Hair, Ventura Highway, I Need You, Sandman, Tin Man and, one that spoke to me as a personal anthem, Lonely People. Never had seen them live, but that changed last Friday at 7:30pm, when Colleen and I drove up to Grand Casino Hinckley.

Wasn’t really sure what to expect, since one of the original three members, Dan Peek, died in 2011. The two surviving members, Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley, were joined by the former touring bassist from Three Dog Night (Richard Campbell), the former drummer from ska band Reel Big Fish (Ryland Steen) and a talented young guitarist named Bill Worrell, who is the son of their sound engineer (Bill’s LinkedIn profile here).

The show had no opener and started right on time with an interesting video collage of vintage photos and videos of their 45+ year career. This was my first show in the ballroom at Hinckley and I didn’t really like it much – the seats were too close together, row 13 seemed really far away from the stage and we couldn’t see behind the tall people in front of us. They also didn’t have the guitars or the lead vocals connected for the first 15-20 seconds of the opening song, which was a bummer.

The biggest letdown, though, were the voices of Dewey and Gerry. The former sounded fine (but would lose power halfway through each song), while the latter just sounded weird (one reviewer said it sounded like a sick chipmunk). Apparently all three original members wrote songs and whoever wrote the song would sing lead. That meant the Dan Peek songs were basically covers (Don’t Cross the River, Lonely People, Woman Tonight) and all of the Beckley songs were weird (I Need You, Sister Golden Hair, Daisy Jane). I thought Sandman and Ventura Highway sounded the best overall and had high hopes for the closing song (which I learned was originally called Desert Song). Dewey was pretty much out of juice by that point of the night, though.

They did have some good between-song banter and it was fun to hear stories about George Martin becoming their producer after the first three albums. Seemed really strange they didn’t have any merch to sell – we heard several people in the crowd wanting to buy stuff.

We stopped for a late dinner afterwards at Grand Grill Americana, which surprisingly had a very short post-concert line. Colleen had a dinner salad and the fish fry, while I had a cup of Marge’s wild rice soup (which had yucky mushrooms) and the Nueske’s® bacon chicken sandwich with fresh-cut chips. I’ve been mostly happy with the food at this restaurant, but the service always seems to be slow. This night had the added frustration of several manager type people just standing around talking to each other and not doing anything to improve service delivery.

After spending a lot more time at Mystic Lake since I’ve been back in the Twin Cities, I have to say I now prefer them in every area: better players club benefits, much better food, better entertainment venues, no comparison between golf courses, nicer hotel rooms and a better gaming floor. We did hit a butterfly progressive on Black Orchid, but I find it harder and harder to justify an hour and 15 minute drive that way (sorry, Mel). The new bar was nice looking, but I just don’t drink those craft beers…

Next casino show: Foreigner at Mystic on 4/9

Summerfest Management Rocks

Posted Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016 10:54 am GMT -5 in Concerts,Links,Music,Travel at 10:54 AM

Sing, sweet nightingale 

Posted Monday, March 14th, 2016 08:45 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Family,Music,Schools at 8:45 PM

MK @ her beautiful choir concert

My first Lowertown Line

Posted Thursday, March 10th, 2016 11:15 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Family,Music,Television at 11:15 PM

Cactus Blossoms @ TPT St. Paul with MK

Big River Pizza

Posted Thursday, March 10th, 2016 06:41 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Family,Food,Music at 6:41 PM

MK before Lowertown Line with the Cactus Blossoms

The March Concert

Posted Monday, March 7th, 2016 09:42 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Family,Music at 9:42 PM

Bravo, MK, beautifully played

Charlie Parr at the Turf Club

Posted Sunday, February 7th, 2016 10:20 am GMT -5 in Concerts,Family,Food,Music at 10:20 AM

We’ve been big fans of Charlie Parr for quite a long time, seeing him in several intimate settings (Bayport BBQ, the Cedar, mia, MN Zoo). We’ve also been very happy with the Turf Club takeover and remodel by the First Avenue people, so when Charlie was announced as the January 2016 Sunday Residency at the Turf, it was a slam dunk that we would go to at least one of the performances. Each Sunday had a different opener:

  • 1/3 – Matt Sowell
  • 1/10 – Amanda Standalone
  • 1/17 – Matt Arthur and the Bratlanders
  • 1/24 – Superior Siren
  • 1/31 – Wild Hands

We didn’t know any of these, so we listened to online samples from each and picked Wild Hands from Minot, North Dakota. That was a good choice – they were fun to watch and had a nice Americana sound (with added banjo!).

So what went wrong on the 31st in St. Paul? In a word, people. Regular tickets were $10, but for $15 you could reserve dinner seats at one of the tables. We’d heard good things about the new kitchen that was added during the remodel, so I reserved two seats at table 23, which is the closest one to the stage (the person at the door even said we had “the best seats in the house”). There were two other people assigned to this table and while they seemed to be fans of Wild Hands and Charlie, they talked all the time. They also got there first and took the two seats facing the stage, so we had to turn ours around.

Once Charlie took the stage, the sold-out crowd pushed in, with everyone standing in front of us. So not only couldn’t we see from our seats, everyone near the tables seemed to be talking (or shouting, as the case may be). Wonderful songs like Cheap Wine just can’t be amplified enough to drown out all the talkers. I will never understand why people pay money to attend concerts, then talk through the whole thing. One guy in front of us didn’t even face the stage the entire time – lips flapping away.

While it was nice to have table service (we had several drinks and an order of cheese curds), I would never do this again for a concert. Actually, having a server wasn’t even that great, as it was too crowded for her to move around easily. This slowed down delivery times and we went long periods of time without seeing her at all. About halfway through the set, we cashed out our tab, moved to the back of the room for one more song, then took off.

Lesson learned: skip the reserved tables, get there early and stand up close by the wall…

Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear at the Cedar

Posted Saturday, February 6th, 2016 08:29 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Family,Music at 8:29 PM

A co-worker asked me what concerts I was going to this weekend and I realized we have no tickets purchased for anything in February (how did that happen?). So here’s one from way back in October that I never got around to posting…

Colleen had heard about Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear from a performance at SXSW. The mother and son duo from the Kansas City area were called “the most in-demand new band on the planet” by NME and are signed to Glassnote Records (home of Mumford and Sons, Jeremy Messersmith and CHVRCHES). Their album Skeleton Crew was recorded with British producer Jim Abbiss, who has worked with Arctic Monkeys and Adele.

This Sunday show at the Cedar Cultural Center took place on October 25, 2015. Madisen and Ruth were joined on tour with bassist Brent Kastler and drummer Tom Hudson and they played a nice selection of original and cover songs. I don’t have the full set list, but here are a few favorites that I remember:

  • Down In Mississippi
  • Undertaker And Juniper
  • Yellow Taxi
  • Live By The Water
  • Dreams (Fleetwood Mac)
  • Stand By Me (Ben E. King)

The Cedar brought back Hurray for the Riff Raff openers Laulu to open this show as well. More pics after the jump.

Lights on at the Turf Club

Posted Sunday, January 31st, 2016 07:46 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Music at 7:46 PM

Reserved seating for Charlie Parr

An unexpected JM meet and greet

Posted Tuesday, January 26th, 2016 11:35 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Music at 11:35 PM

Another great concert – this time in Hopkins

Hozier at The Roy

Posted Sunday, January 17th, 2016 10:32 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Family,Music at 10:32 PM

All of the female members of our family seem to be in love with Mr. Andrew Hozier-Byrne from Ireland, so when the 25-year-old visited Minnesota twice in 2015, it was a given we’d be on the hunt for tickets. When he played First Avenue on February 20, we were only able to get two tickets, so Colleen took MK as a birthday present. When he announced a return visit to The Roy on September 10, we were able to get tickets for all four of us to go (despite some annoying Ticketmaster glitches).

Minnesota favorite Caroline Smith was a late addition to the bill as a solo acoustic opener, which I liked a lot. It wasn’t the greatest environment for her, but the crowd was mostly appreciative by the end of the set. After a relatively quick intermission, Hozier took the stage and did a 13-song set before a short encore. Since he only has one full album and a couple EPs, this was about what I expected. The Beatles cover was very nice, but I thought the version of Take Me to Church was a little too quick and routine (especially compared to this excellent French club video).

Overall, though, we had a fun time. None of the pictures really turned out very good, but there are more after the jump (along with a setlist from I’ll blame Ticketmaster for the bad pictures, since my first row balcony seats were mysteriously “claimed by other fans” by the time I clicked through the choose from map feature. When this happens three times in a row, you end up with really bad seats at the end (if you get any at all). I guess I should know this by now, but wouldn’t it be more helpful for everyone if they just turned off the map option when tickets first go on sale?

  • Like Real People Do
  • Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene
  • From Eden
  • Jackie and Wilson
  • To Be Alone
  • Someone New
  • It Will Come Back
  • In a Week
  • Arsonist’s Lullabye
  • Sedated
  • Blackbird (Beatles)
  • Take Me to Church
  • Cherry Wine
  • — Encore —
  • Problem (Ariana Grande)
  • Work Song

EV Freshman Wind Ensemble 

Posted Monday, January 11th, 2016 09:38 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Family,Music at 9:38 PM

Great concert by MK and her crew

alt-J at The Roy

Posted Friday, January 1st, 2016 08:44 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Family,Music at 8:44 PM

I’ve wanted to see English band alt-J every time they’ve visited the Twin Cities, but somehow always missed out on tickets. When their September 17th show at Roy Wilkins Auditorium was announced, I made sure to hit the ticket sites right when they went on sale. Both kids wanted to go, so I ended up with three excellent seats straight across from the stage in the upper reserved section (albeit not side-by-side). Brooklyn-based San Fermin was also on the bill.

To be honest, I don’t really know the names of many alt-J songs, but I really like their sound. Joe and Gus have such unique voices, plus how can you not like a song about Matilda? I also didn’t know the delta sign story about how the ∆ symbol can be typed on a Mac with the key sequence Alt+J (thanks, Wikipedia). The entire evening was enjoyable, but the light show got to be a little much by the end. It was impressive (see the pics after the jump), but they were treading very close to seizure territory…


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