Just over six months after Sue McLean’s passing, a tribute show on November 23 at First Avenue will honor the memory and influence of one of Minnesota’s most prominent music promoters.
The show, organized by friends and fans of McLean, will feature Eric Hutchinson, Soul Asylum, and the BoDeans, among other local artists. “We could have scheduled a three-day festival with all those who wanted to participate and to celebrate and thank Sue for her past support,” said Valerie Jones, spokesperson and chairperson of the tribute. “With 40 years of experience in the music promotion business,” Jones continued, “Sue had many special relationships with agents and musicians who all wanted to say thank you.”
Reflecting the personal relationship McLean had with the artists she worked with, all the acts are volunteering their performances. Special guests, family, and friends of Sue McLean will also make appearances throughout the night, which aims to embody McLean’s motto: “Live music is good for your soul.”
McLean’s influence stretched across the Twin Cities region. She was the woman behind booking the outdoor Music in the Zoo series (the stage for which was dedicated to McLean this summer), the Basilica Block Party, and the O’Shaughnessy’s Women of Substance events every year. McLean’s support for up-and-coming bands “really stood out,” said Kyle Heino, owner of Concert Marketing Solutions, a marketing firm used by Sue McLean & Associates. “Several artists since her passing—most recently Amos Lee—[have] dedicated a song to her and talked about how they got their start in the market with her backing.”
All proceeds of the show will benefit the Lilly McLean Fund, which is intended to provide financial security for Sue McLean’s young daughter. Also benefiting the fund are live and online auctions of travel, restaurant, and experience-based events, as well as music-related offerings including a Sheryl Crow guitar and a private concert by the Gear Daddies.
Doors for the Sue McLean Tribute Show open at 6:00, with the show to start at 7:00. Tickets ($50, 18+) can be purchased online at First-Avenue.com.
Paul Schmitt is a literature major at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. He’s inspired by bass lines, metafiction, and lengthy mealtime conversation.