Imagine if Don Henley was driving through the Twin Cities and spotted a “Run the World (Girls)” sticker on a Toyota. Then Mr. Boys of Summer might realize that 2023 is about queens of summer.
In one of the busiest post-Memorial Day concert slates of all time in the Twin Cities, women will rule – from Rock & Roll Hall of Fame members Janet Jackson and Madonna to worldwide performers Taylor Swift and Beyoncé .
This summer, there are bands to get excited about, including Pearl Jam and the Killers and solo stars like Lionel Richie and Sam Smith. But the lineup of women who fill our stadiums and arenas is in a league of its own – one star puncher after another.
We asked two music virtuosos from Minnesota – presenter Lori Barghini, co-host of “The Lori & Julia Show” on MyTalk 107.1 FM, and singer Kat Perkins, runner-up on NBC’s 2014 “The Voice” – to join our review to preview the Summer Queens.
Tuesday, Xcel Energy Center, ticketmaster.com
She followed her older Jackson 5 brothers into showbiz, first television and then music, rising to prominence and eventually stardom, while working with Minneapolis producer/songwriter Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
Lori: “The world has known her all her life. You feel like you know her and therefore adore her. When ‘Control’ came out in 1986, it felt like it was rich in dance music. Then ‘ Rhythm Nation’, ‘Janet ,’ ‘The Velvet Rope.’ Just amazing songs, dancing, performances. Then we saw her survive the Super Bowl and CBS. … She came out on top!”
Kat: “If there’s anyone that makes me want to DANCE, it’s our Janet. Minneapolis Sound roots, with all the feel.”
Jon: “Through innovative choreographers and hard work, Janet has redefined ensemble dancing in videos and in concert. Even though she lip-syncs, she’s still a dynamic treat on stage.”
June 23-24, US Bank Stadium, ticketmaster.com
She went from a teenage country star to a pop star in her twenties to a massive cultural force. She’s the most listened to woman on Spotify, the only woman to win three Grammys for Album of the Year, and the artist who crashed Ticketmaster computers because of huge demand to see her current Eras tour.
Lori: “An amazing songwriter. Her connection to the fans is once in a lifetime.”
Kat: “Breakthrough songs, she’s got it. Ridiculous production values, she’s got it. Worth your money? Every time.”
Jon: “Her extraordinary ambition matches her remarkable vision as she creates an exciting show that the Swifties will remember forever. Performing songs from each of her albums and calling it the Eras Tour is so smart.”
June 30, Xcel Energy Center, ticketmaster.com
Like David Bowie and Prince before her, and Beyoncé and Janelle Monáe after her, the queen of neo-soul is one of pop music’s wonderful visionaries. She comes with a well thought out philosophy and an evolved concept for the sound, messages and visuals of her art.
Kat: “Queen of neo-soul and JUST takes me back to my senior years in high school. We’re LUCKY to have her in our town.”
Jon: “Even though it’s been 13 years since she released a new studio album, she’s a staple every time she comes to town because she’s so shrewd, thoughtful, unpredictable and captivating.”
July 20, Huntington Bank Stadium, ticketmaster.com
She’s a mom, mogul, music megastar, magical performer, movie star, fashionista, wife, activist, and Grammy (32+) record breaker. She is simply Queen Bey.
Lori: “THE GREATEST FEMALE AMATEUR OF OUR TIME! She’s the opening act, main event, and encore. I’m so excited for this show.”
Kat: “The QUEEN! Is she even human? Her live voice is unmatched. Single ladies, unite!”
Jon: “Always an ambitious and dazzling performer, she opted for the fan-satisfying acoustics of the Gophers football stadium instead of the larger (and more lucrative) but acoustically challenging Vikings venue. Bravo!”
July 30, Xcel Energy Center, ticketmaster.com
She is driven, demanding, provocative and enduring as a recording artist, performer, actress and icon. Celebrating 40 years in the spotlight, the Queen of Pop, who turns 65 in August, ranks as the best-selling female artist of all time.
Lori: “In 1983, my first summer in the Twin Cities after graduating from college, Madonna’s album came out and we lost our minds for her. ‘Borderline’ was the anthem. When Dick Clark on ‘American Bandstand’ asked her something like what’s next for you she said ‘I want to rule the world’ I remember because it described exactly how my friends and I felt – about everything !”
Kat: “Literally the icon of my childhood. I already have my tickets and I pulled out my leather jacket and my ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ earrings!”
Jon: “It’s easy to admire Madonna and not necessarily easy to love her. Respect her as an inspiring, original and determined visionary, a tough survivor, a single mother and a singular artist. I don’t like her not because she’s a demanding, narcissistic, self-aware, self-absorbed, perfectionist diva.”
August 10, Target Field, ticketmaster.com
Raise your glass to the vocal powerhouse of Philadelphia who used a creative cocktail of rebellion, heart and humor to conquer the pop charts. But it was with her live performances that she really exploded – literally.
Lori: “I’ve loved Pink since her debut album. Her open-mindedness is genuine, and it shows in her songs, compositions and performances. I’m going with my sister and we’re blown away by this stadium show .”
Kat: “NOBODY sings live more dynamically better than Alecia [Pink’s given name]. Never a disappointment.”
Jon: “I can’t wait to see how her daredevil acrobatics will transfer to an outdoor stadium. And she doesn’t get enough credit as a powerful, emotional singer.”
August 25, State Fair, etix.com
Formerly known as the Dixie Chicks, this Texas trio was country music’s hottest act in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Then they were blacklisted after singer Natalie Maines spoke out in 2003 against the war in Iraq and President George W. Bush. Still fiery, they bounced back beautifully with 2006’s “Taking the Long Way” and 2020’s “Gaslighter.”
Lori: “When they performed at the State Fair a few years ago, I realized how anthemic the Chicks’ songs were. ‘Goodbye Earl’, ‘Gaslighter’, George Bush’s mess. Their sound is powerful. their music. A highlight of State Fair.
Kat: “Remember when they were the first band to get ‘cancelled?’ It hasn’t aged well.”
Jon: “The fiery trio from Texas impresses with their harmonies, instrumental prowess, smart songs and uncompromising attitude. They still aren’t ready to be nice.”
August 29, State Fair, etix.com
She’s never scored a major pop hit, but the Grammy winner is well-loved in the music world, in part for her compassionate help to her friends Joni Mitchell and Tanya Tucker’s comeback.
Lori: “Exquisite voice, like the love child of Joni Mitchell and Bonnie Raitt. Exudes a soulful, audience-returning kindness when she performs. A State Fair highlight.”
Kat: “Nobody would want to go to this concert with me because I would be singing at the top of my lungs all the time. Relevant and timeless songs and voice. I would like to be her!”
Jon: “Even though she’s become a household name who gets invited to seemingly every award show and tribute, she still manages to be genuinely super excited to perform in the Twin Cities, the market that first embraced her in a significant way.”