It Was A Very Good Year: Tag Looks Back On 2010

Tag Evers

It’s that time of year again. Shopping stress and the anticipation of holiday family drama crowd out the mental space for those “Best of” lists, not to mention the quiet time needed to reflect on the lessons of the past year and the hopes for the year to come. But I’m not bah-humbugging it. I even found myself recently at Hilldale Mall, humming along to the Christmas carols!

We all have so much to be grateful for. 2010 was barely upon us when the earthquake struck Haiti. True Endeavors responded with Say Hey for Haiti,  joining hands with our good friends at WORT. We raised something like $10,000 for Partners In Health, an organization worthy of ongoing support, particularly now with the cholera epidemic.

It was moments like this that made our work at True Endeavors all the more meaningful. It’s a pleasure to produce exciting cultural events and present dynamic artists for appreciative audiences, but there’s an even greater thrill when we can raise money and create awareness for worthy causes here in our midst. For instance, when kids from the Boys & Girls Club’s after-school arts program got to hang out with Slug and the guys from Atmosphere at a meet & greet before the show…well, their smiles said it all.

Another great experience for me was the work we did in putting together the Smoke Free Sounds Series in celebration of our state going smoke-free. I got to travel all over the state, from Racine to Superior, and saw more of Wisconsin than I have in a long time. The party we held at High Noon with VO5 and Freedy Johnston on July 5, the day the state went smoke-free, was a blast. Dancing my heart out to “Stayin’ Alive” made me glad to be an ex-smoker and glad to help spread the message that “Live Music is Better Smoke-Free!”

October was an interesting month in that we presented Joan Baez at the Union Theater on October 8, and Bob Dylan for a pair of shows on October 25. It was a special treat when we got to engage in a back-stage, pre-show 1-2-3 cheer with Joan and her crew, including her guitar tech and former TE intern, Emma Vasseur. It was so awesome to see Emma again — it made me feel like a proud papa. In contrast, when Dylan was in town, no one got close. The back and side-stage area was curtained off, hermetically sealed, the legend protected from curious eyes.

Some of my favorite concert memories this past year included Quasi at Lincoln Hall in Chicago, accompanied by Robin Anderson, erstwhile True Crew member; The National at the Orpheum, fresh from their Obama high; Josh Ritter in November and Cloud Cult in December, both at the Majestic; Dessa doing her beautiful thing, on her own and with Doomtree; Alejandro Escovedo singing “Sister Lost Soul” at High Noon; Grace Potter & the Nocturnals & Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros earlier this month at the Congress in Chicago; doing Lolla with Justin K. and gagging on Lady G.; Justin Townes Earle at the Terrace and at High Noon; Peter Mulvey covering The Magnetic Fields’ “The Book of Love;” Wilco at the Overture teasing the mayor; The Walkmen tearing it up in front of a smallish crowd at the Barrymore; The New Pornographers (with Neko this time) at the Orpheum, completely winning over the entire audience, leaving no doubt as to how great they are; Michael Franti shoeless and full of love at the Capitol.

Favorite records of 2010, in no particular order:

1. Jakob Dylan — Women + Country

2. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings — I Learned The Hard Way

3. The National — High Violet

4. Spoon — Transference

5. The New Pornographers — Together

6. Josh Ritter — So Runs The World Away

7. Local Natives — Gorilla Manor

8. The Walkmen — Lisbon

9. Stars — The Five Ghosts

10. Menomena — Mines

Favorite video of the year and otherwise jaw-dropping moment was OK Go’s Rube Goldberg Mousetrap-like genius video for “This Too Shall Pass.”

There were ups and downs in 2010, as there will certainly be in 2011. I want to take a moment to thank my incredible staff (MJ, Joe C., Shelley, Justin, Bruce, Chris, Joe W., Dana, Julian, Susy, Gary); all our venue friends, record store pals, and media buddies, the many talented photographers and videographers who contribute to our blog, all the great musicians and crew we worked with this year, and our fans, the audience, those of you read this blog, and buy tickets and support live music in Madison. We can’t do it without you.

Thank you all so very much and all the best in 2011!

(R.I.P. Alex Chilton, Mark Linkous, and Mikey Larsen. You are sorely missed.)

–Tag Evers

One Response

  1. This is nearly the saddest thing I’ve ever read. So glad his friends and fans had a chance to say goodbye.

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