Stories » Bobby McFerrin at the Dakota makes Minneapolis Star Tribune 'best concerts of the year'

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Bobby McFerrin at the Dakota makes Minneapolis Star Tribune 'best concerts of the year'

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Look at my lists for best albums and concerts of 2018 and you might conclude that women run the world of pop music. Perhaps. Future-funk high priestess Janelle Monáe, Americana ace Brandi Carlile and veteran song stylist Bettye LaVette all had impressive years.

So did rap sensation Cardi B and pop siren Ariana Grande, both of whom dealt with personal ups and downs in song (and were close to making my Top 10 albums). And don't overlook young Latin pop star Camila Cabello and veteran Lady Gaga, who wowed us with her plain-Jane acting in the movie remake of "A Star Is Born" as well as with its throwback soundtrack.

No one wowed more in concert than David Byrne, whose arty high-concept staging was one of the most innovative music presentations in a theater since, well, his Stop Making Sense Tour with Talking Heads back in 1983. Similarly, Taylor Swift dazzled with a diversified, mammoth, multistage production at U.S. Bank Stadium, while LaVette, Bobby McFerrin and k.d. lang proved that sheer vocal artistry can captivate without any showbizzy staging.

Both of my lists contain longtime personal favorites including Elvis Costello, John Prine, LaVette, Monáe and Carlile, all of whom reached lofty heights once again. But let's give a shout-out to some newer names, such as Ashley McBryde, a traditional twanger who has a clever way with words, and the Twin Cities' own Joyann Parker, who was born to bare her soul in a wide variety of styles from rockabilly to torch songs.

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