Local Current Blog

The Current’s most-read stories of 2018

Jill Riley with Steve Perry. (Jill Weindorf/Concord Records)

2018 was a big one for music, and especially for Minnesota music. Here at The Current, we watched as the Super Bowl LII crowds descended on the Twin Cities, and continued to hold our breath as the Prince estate handled the artist’s legacy. On our website, we covered hundreds of stories this year. Here are the ones you found most clickworthy.

Prince reigns

The Purple One, of course, still enamored us in 2018. New interviews shed light on his various musical relationships (Susannah Melvoin, Judith Hill, Miles Davis). Our contributor Lou Papineau cataloged the notorious prankster’s practical jokes, and managing digital producer Brett Baldwin explored the fate of that guitar Prince casually ditched after his world-shattering solo at the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

The sounds of Super Bowl LII 

Justin Timberlake wasn’t the only artist heating up the Twin Cities last February. Though the NSYNC alumnus hosted a star-studded release party for his latest album, Man of the Woods, at Paisley Park, famously projected Prince’s likeness onto a giant sheet during his halftime performance, then gushed about the artist in an interview with Jimmy Fallon taped at the Orpheum, Timberlake’s musical presence was supplemented by the liked of Sheila E., Morris Day and the Time, and the Revolution at Super Bowl Live. Additional celebrated local acts including Bob Mould, the Suburbs, Soul Asylum, and the Jayhawks descended on Nicollet Mall to play rapid fire-sets of their biggest hits. And let’s not forget the giant Love Symbol that surrounded U.S. Bank Stadium and the surrounding area in magnificent (digital) purple.

The Prince estate opens the gates 

2018 saw the release of a huge selection of Prince’s discography on streaming services, the artist’s Caribbean estate go up for auction (purple driveway and all), Ava DuVernay’s work on a new documentary for Netflix featuring unreleased archived recordings, and Universal’s announcement of a new movie in the works driven by Prince’s music and co-produced by the estate’s entertainment manager. What more could 2019 bring forth?

Purple Rain makes its public art debut

Artist Esther Osayande, in partnership with the City of Minneapolis, installed a raindrop-shaped sculpture on the corner of Farview Park in north Minneapolis. The work pays tribute to Prince’s legacy in the area, and sits just 1.5 miles from the Capri Theater, where he first performed as a solo artist.

Janelle Monáe spent the early ’90s in Minnesota

Believe it or not, Janelle Monáe spent some of her early years bopping around the Twin Cities, from St. Paul to Eagan to Minneapolis’s Pillsbury Avenue. Monáe’s third-grade teacher at Hale Elementary School was even able to dig up the artist’s photo from the 1991-92 school year. “But even back then with the tears in my eyes/ I always knew I was the sh*t, Monáe sing-raps on Dirty Computer.

Big interviews, big names: “I’m with Steve Perry here on The Current. That’s really fun to say, by the way.”

The Current’s Jill Riley had a memorable year, talking shop with both Journey’s Steve Perry and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin. Perry shared his motivation to return from isolation. Plant referred to Low’s The Great Destroyer as one of the “greatest sonic experiences [he’d] ever had,” and offered a few thoughts on Zeppelin’s 50th anniversary.

Dylan selfies go viral (again…)

Apparently, sometime in 2014, Bob Dylan was taking a leisurely drive down Hollywood Boulevard when he deigned to take a couple selfies with Spock and Don King impersonators. The photos resurfaced in 2018 via a viral tweet.

First Avenue releases plans for a Mississippi riverfront amphitheater, holiday sweaters

First Avenue had a lot going on this year. The Upper Harbor Terminal in north Minneapolis is getting a major makeover sometime around 2021 with a community-focused music and events space, which joins First Ave’s extensive portfolio of Twin Cities venues. At capacity, the venue will be comparable to Rock the Garden size — about 10,000 seats. On a slightly different note, First Ave also debuted a pair of holiday sweaters, one of which includes a subtle nod to Prince’s gold star.

Metallica covers “When Doves Cry”

Last but not least and for better or worse, Metallica performed a controversial rendition of Prince’s classic at Target Center in September. And with that, we can bid adieu to 2018.

Lydia Moran is a music and arts writer in Minneapolis.