John Wollum of Maple Grove:
1 Robert Earl Keen, the Cedar. He had to make a special trip back after a broken-down bus caused a postponement. And, as always, “the road goes on forever and the party never ends.” Perhaps a little harried, but still a great concert.
2 Dale Watson and Asleep at the Wheel, Minnesota Zoo. Thank God that old-time country is still out there. A fine show by both parties.
3 Natalie Merchant, Minnesota Zoo. What an excellent show. She seemed as if she was truly enjoying herself, engaging with the audience, twirling, whirling and directing her band. Her voice was still as smooth and silky as ever.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Donna Grantis, the Dakota. With her new Twin Cities band, Prince’s former 3rdEyeGirl guitarist created new millennium jazz-rock fusion, sorta like Jeff Beck meets a postmodern Mahavishnu Orchestra.
2 “Springsteen on Broadway.” In the intimacy of the Walter Kerr Theatre, the Jersey boy will share stories and songs filled with drama worthy of Broadway. A perfect fit for a solo Boss this fall.
3 Los Lonely Boys, Minnesota Zoo. Loved it when they got lost in their playing, especially Henry Garza on his monstrous guitar solos on “Cottonfields and Crossroads” and the entire trio on a James Brown vamp that led to “Billie Jean,” “Sunshine of Your Love” and their own “Man to Beat.”