Best living legends shows of 2013

Categories: Year-end blitz

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Photo By Mark Kartarik
Lee Fields and the Expressions stirred up the Cedar in 2013

My head spins when I think back on all of the incredible shows we all saw in the Twin Cities this year. There are so many great spots to experience live music and the variety of shows throughout 2013 was astounding. Most music loving folks can attest that the Twin Cities can keep you out every night of the year.

I thought I'd go through a list of some of the more seasoned veterans of the trade that graced us with their divine presence this year. With grace and honor, those artists who invented the game continue to spread their music gospel, for both cathartic and nostalgic purposes.

I was lucky enough to soak up many of these stellar shows, and I came up with a fairly platinum list filled with a stalwart roster of creators and pioneers of their respected forms. 2013 looks great when looking back, and reminds us all not to sleep on living legends.

See Also: The best Twin Cities concerts of 2013, part two

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Photo By Mark Kartarik

5. Lee Fields with Sonny Knight and the Lakers at the Cedar Cultural Center 11/3/13

A double dose of heavy duty soul music on a Sunday night on the West Bank -- and where the hell were all of you? Playing his first headlining gig in the Twin Cities at the Cedar, Lee Fields and the Expressions demonstrated an astute sense of delivery, gratitude toward his fans, and masterful understanding of soulful, funky music. His rough but tender voice gave power to the stage and electrified the sweaty audience who gave a new shine to the dance floor with their ecstatic movements. Showing a tightness unusual in the local scene, Sonny Knight and the Lakers gave indication of the shape of funky soul to come in 2014.

4. The Midwest Rock 'n' Roll Express 2013 with REO Speedwagon, Styx, Ted Nugent 4/9/13

Spring was budding, and there was no doubt that love was in the air. As I entered the arena, Uncle Ted was already spreading it on thick with "Wang Dang, Sweet Poontang," and ranting about the Boston Marathon Bombers who had just been caught that day. "Thank god they got those fuckers. This is America and we don't put up with fuckwads like that. I'd happily put them in a 'Stranglehold'!!". REO and Styx spread it all the more with their brand of classic rock, bringing the whole sold out arena together like couples at an eighth grade dance.

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3. Pharoah Sanders at the Dakota 7/8/13

Before turning 73 this year, Sanders and his quartet (which included local cat, Eric Grávátt behind the trap set) spent a couple nights at the Dakota. A holy spirit of sorts, Pharoah Sanders sauntered out toward a chair where he found comfort as well as a deep connection with the jazz audience. Sitting meditatively, Sanders ventured through several takes by his late friend, John Coltrane, as well as his own hymn-like music. Breathing life into his sorrowful and entrancing sound, Sanders demonstrated the fruits of decades of expression.


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