John Wollum of Maple Grove:
1 Gladys Knight, Mystic Lake. The self-described empress of soul can still bring it. Her voice is as silky smooth and strong as ever. Though Pip-less, her current lineup of young backup singers was very impressive, especially on a Prince tribute.
2 Railroad Earth, Solana Beach, Calif. Wow! This hard-to-label jam band — is it country? — really brought its “A” game.
3 John Fogerty, Las Vegas. The Creedence leader rolled out a multitude of his CCR hits and even some of his own at the Wynn. The septuagenarian was at his bouncing and strumming best. Though backed by his guitar-slinging son Shane and an equally impressive orchestra, Fogerty participated impressively and enthusiastically on each number.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Palace Theatre. This newly reopened 101-year-old venue fills a niche and a need in the Twin Cities concert scene and could be a game changer for vitality in downtown St. Paul.
2 Taylor Swift applies for nine trademarks for “Swifties.” Billboard suggests she may explode as an entrepreneur, possibly launching computer software for mobile devices and a website for non-downloadable audio and video recordings, among other concepts.
3 The Jayhawks, the Palace. Gary Louris and crew played a splendid and generous concert, with assists from guests John Jackson, Kraig Johnson and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.