My Favorite Sets of 2018 – Jennifer Holly


Having moved to the Minneapolis area in January of this year, snagging a spot with Twin Cities Media was the perfect way for me to not only get to know the Minneapolis area, but begin dipping my toes in the fantastic music scene this city offers. Throughout this year I’ve seen musicians and groups that I never thought I would have the opportunity to, and it’s been a memorable one that’s for sure.

Hall & Oates
Daryl Hall & John Oates have been one of my favorite musical groups for as long as I can remember. What can I say? My parents raised me well. Haha. Kidding…well, only slightly. For this show I was not only surrounded by a great group (my dad, significant other and friend), but the set and overall evening was everything I could have dreamed of. The set list was on point, the crowd was engaging and their performance was unimaginably wonderful. Train also opened for the group, and initially I wasn’t sure how the pairing would work, but it bridged the generational gap present in the room well. I loved being able to cross these artists off my bucket list, and I would most definitely see them time and time again should I be given another opportunity.

Vance Joy
I wasn’t really sure what to expect from Vance Joy because I was nervous that seeing him live might not do his talent justice, but wrong I was. Joy completely blew me away; he sounded nearly identical to every track I had heard previously. I fell in love with the atmosphere he created in the room as well, almost like his music was contagious. Everyone in attendance was seemingly so happy – there was dancing, singing along, etc. I also really enjoyed seeing how personable Joy was with the crowd making it an evening that I would always remember, and honestly never forget.

Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite
I’ll admit, in signing up for this show, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I wasn’t familiar with either artist before doing some research for my preview article so this opportunity definitely pushed me outside of my comfort zone. Though, after the first few songs were played, I found myself asking what HAVE I been listening to and why HAVEN’T I been listening to them? It was so amazing seeing a compilation of two such talented artists, and identifying the generational gap present but seeing it overcome. I truly hope I get to see them another time because Musselwhite’s harmonica skills will live on with me forever.

The Smashing Pumpkins
Talk about a blast from the past, and yet another musical group that has been on my bucket list. When I heard that The Smashing Pumpkins were coming to the MPLS area, I knew I HAD to snag the show. Their set list was a memorable one as they made sure to include a good amount of their hits making it a great assortment of music from years past all the way up to the present. Billy Corgan is a performer that is very entertaining to watch all the way from his multiple costume changes to his unique stage performance that draws each crowd member in anticipating what could come next. This was probably one of the most unique performances I saw in 2018, and I would take the opportunity to see them again hands down.

Ingrid Michaelson
Luckily, one of my most recent shows made it on this list so I may have a little bit better recollection of this one. Haha! I’ve been listening to Michaelson for about the same amount of time as I have Hall & Oates – so quite a while. When I saw that she was coming through I was ecstatic, and so excited to finally get the chance to see her. I was even more intrigued when I found out that it would be featuring her new holiday release accompanied by a few of her hits. The Fitzgerald Theatre was the perfect venue for her show, and Michaelson put on such a fun show. I really loved how “real” she was with the crowd, making it feel like you were just at some sort of jam session with a group of close friends. I found myself singing along to every song not wanting the end of the evening to come. Jenna Nicholls opened for Michaelson, and if you haven’t heard of her I would definitely take a listen. She hones very unique, versatile vocals that makes her performance a more than memorable one. I can’t wait for these two to come through the MPLS area again as I will surely be in attendance.

Ingrid Michaelson at the Northrop