It Was A Very Good Year: Tag’s Favorite Musical Moments of 2011

Tag Evers

Another year has come and gone, and what a year it was. These are some of the many moments of 2011 that moved me to tears, took my breath away, made me want to stand up and shout, dance my ass off, bow in humble adoration, or just plain consider myself blessed to have been present.


Medicine: A Tribute to the Music of Marques Bovre, December 11 at High Noon Saloon. This show was a reaffirmation of everything I love about live music. The sense of community in the crowd, the laughter and the smiles and, yes, the tears. Plus, we raised a ton of money for Marques. It was the highlight of my career. See live concert photos from the show here.

Bon Iver, December 13, Zorn Arena, Eau Claire. The Milwaukee show at the Riverside in July is a close second, but this show had that sweet homecoming quality; a chance to witness a humble artist giving thanks to the people who formed him in his youth.

Read more of Tag’s 2011 concert memories after the jump.

Bon Iver, December 10, Orpheum Theatre. It’s often tough for me to get emotionally into shows that True Endeavors produces. There’s just so much to do in order to make certain the artists and the audience are having a good time. Since this show sold out in an amazing 27 minutes, I was able to take in much more than I usually do — not as much as Eau Claire and Milwaukee, but enough to realize I was on sacred ground. Plus, Justin Vernon confided in me backstage after the Eau Claire show that our Madison date was the band’s favorite of the tour.  See live concert photos from the show here.

Festival moments. Guided By Voices, Kurt Vile and Cut Copy at Pitchfork. Friendly Fires in the blistering sun and Nas & Damian in a downpour, both at Lolla. Watching Atmosphere from the side of the stage at Lolla, and earlier on the same stage watching Local Natives perform “Airplanes” in front of a huge crowd. Little Dragon at North Coast.  All with my festival buddy, Lyn Pilch.

Fitz & The Tantrums, January 30, High Noon Saloon. Even though vocalist Noelle Skaggs’ voice was hampered by a cold, this show delivered a knockout punch when Fitz ordered everyone in the crowd to get down on the floor during “Moneygrabber,” and then exhorted us to jump up and sing along as the band kicked back in with the chorus.  See live concert photos from the show here.

Dessa, October 12, High Noon Saloon. Watching my friends grow into their groove and mature as artists is a distinct pleasure of mine. Once known, and perhaps sidelined, as the female rapper in Doomtree, Dessa has set a course that is all her own. See live concert photos from the show here.

Jessica Lea Mayfield & An Horse, June 30 at the East Side Club. Our first show at this sweet outdoor space. Look for a bunch more in 2012. See live concert photos from the show here, and read an interview with the club’s general manager, Andrea Mikulice here

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, May 16, Capitol Theater. Sharon and I are about the same age. I like to think I’m in pretty good shape, but there’s no way I could strut across the stage in high heels, dancing like the world was about to end, shouting out soulful laments to love gone bad for a full ninety minute set. Amazing.

Arlo Guthrie, July 14, Barrymore Theatre. Arlo wanted to come to Madison to do a special show for Wisconsin workers on his dad’s birthday. Just Arlo, switching back and forth on guitar and piano, telling his stories and singing his songs, and singing some of Woody’s as well. A once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Indigo Girls, November 10, Barrymore Theatre. I’ve done a lot of shows with the Indigos. Plus, they were one of the first artists I saw at the Terrace when I moved to Madison in 1988. How can they still make me cry? That’s what happened when they did “Closer To Fine” in front of a packed house with everyone singing along. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one fighting back the tears. See live concert photos from the show here.

The Rallies. If you were there, you know what I mean. Peter Yarrow singing “If I Had A Hammer” amid the falling snow. Tom Morello getting everyone to jump and sing out the chorus to “This Land Is Your Land.” The impromptu reggae/Celtic jam featuring Michelle Shocked, VO5, and bagpipers from the Firefighters Union. Ryan Bingham dedicating “Direction of the Wind” to the Madison protesters. Jon Langford’s “Plenty Tough, Union Made.” Solidarity Singers persevering day by day.


Music that matters for moments that matter. True Endeavors was privileged to be in the thick of it, and will continue to be in 2012. Thanks so very, very much for your support. Have a safe and Happy New Year.

–Tag Evers


Related Content: It Was A Very Good Year: Top Ten (Free) 2011 MP3s

One Response

  1. We do about 150 shows a year, so a bunch got left out. Thanks to all the artists we worked with in 2011 and to everyone who came out to a show. Best wishes for a great 2012.

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