Deidre Campbell of Andover
1 Natalie Merchant, Minnesota Zoo. A generous performance combining beautiful vocals, string arrangements, a supportive band, graceful movements and loose conversation.
2 Rolling Stones Exhibitionism, Chicago. Squeezing every last dollar and passion out of their brand and we love it! Exhibits include Keith Richards’ diaries, guitars, interviews, fashion and “leftovers” from the guys’ shared residence. Plus the familiar and pulsating, “I know it’s only rock ’n’ roll but I like it, like it, yes I do….”
3 “How to Be a Rock Critic,” Chicago. Erik Jensen’s one-man documentary drama at Steppenwolf Theatre written by Jessica Blank (Macalester College) and Jensen (Apple Valley High School graduate) looks at infamous critic Lester Bangs (1948-1982), recalling a bunch of artists’ hits and (mostly) misses, personal loss and the search for the acclaimed Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks.”
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune
1 Guns N’ Roses, U.S. Bank Stadium. Who expected them to be this great at this time? Axl Rose carried on with spirit for 3 ¼ hours and Slash was magnificent on guitar on song after song. They’re not dangerous anymore but this was easily the best GNR show ever in the Twin Cities.
2 Rock the Garden, Walker Art Center. The new two-stage setup was a brilliant move. Loved how focused, confident and emotionally liberated the Revolution has become.
3 Blondie, Garbage and Exene Cervenka, Mystic Lake Casino. These three classic voices still rock with panache and power.