A 24-Decade History of Popular Music


The Blurb

A bedazzled creature builds a community by singing 24 concerts of the last 24 decades of popular music. Ultimately all 24 decades will be stitched together culminating in a 24-hour long extravaganza (in 2015), which will feature Taylor Mac, a 24-piece orchestra, dancing beauties, special guests, and you.  Bring bedding and toiletries.

The 24-Hour Durational Concert 

In 2016 (240 years since 1776) Taylor will perform the entire 24-hour concert straight through in New York City.  Below are some details.

Musicians:  At the start of the concert, 24 musicians  are on stage and every hour a musician will leave until the final hour Taylor Mac is alone, having stayed up, singing almost non-stop for 24-hours.

The Guest Artists:  Each decade will have a special guest performance who will sing a duet with Taylor and do a solo performance.

The Dance:  Each decade also has a different dance number, which the audience may join in on or sit and watch.

The Costumes:  Each decade has a different costume designed by Machine Dazzle, Taylor’s longtime collaborator.

The Environment:  The space is large and many tents, hammocks, cots are set up as well as chairs, mats, and pillows.  There is a medical tent.  Food is at the venue.  Audience members are encouraged to bring bedding and toiletries.  Perhaps there is a makeshift shower section where audience members can shower together.

Participation:  The audience participates in this event.  They are never forced but often invited.  They sing, play parts, dance, eat, meditate, exercise, sleep, flirt, spend an hour completely blind, another at war, another immigrating to a Jewish Tenement, and on and on, all while listening to how mythology meets melody.


The 24-Hour Concert will only be performed once but many touring shows are happening as a result of the big one.  Here’s some of the ways Taylor’s already done it or is about to do it.

The Decade Concert:  You can book just one decade.  Choose one that fits the theme of  your event/festival/season.  It will be roughly 90-minutes to two hours, the band size can be determined based on your budget, and the decade concert can be adjusted to work with your location (new songs can be added that speak to the local area, local guest performers can be invited, and banter/dialogue can/will be changed, etc.). 

The Thematic Concert:  If you would like to explore a particular theme then choose the theme and Taylor can create a concert pulled from a spattering of decades.  For example Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival asked Taylor to make an hour show of political music from the last 24 decades.  This was repeated (and expanded) at Chicago’s MCA. 

The 24-Song Concert:  a concert that consists of one song of popular music from the last 24 decades.

A 10-Hour 20th Century Concert:  an hour of popular music from every decade of the 20th century. 

A 10-Hour 19th Century Concert:  an hour of popular music from every decade of the 19th century.

A 3-hour Late 18th Century Concert:  a concert that uses popular music from the 1770s to the 1790s to talk about the beginning years of the United States of America.

The 24-Day Concert:  24 decades over the course of 24 days or a month. 

A 20th Century History of Popular Music Abridged:  So far Taylor has performed this at the Under the Radar Festival in 2013 at the Public Theater, at the Behavior Festival in Glasgow, Miami’s Out in the Tropics Festival, and The Dublin Fringe.  It consists of one song from each decade of the 20th Century (plus two encores) and is a performance ritual to help the audience let go of the 20th century and move into the 21st.

A 19th Century History of Popular Music Abridged:  Taylor has yet to premiere this concert but, like the 20th Century one, would consists of one song from each decade of music and have it’s own theme.

A History of Popular Holiday Music Abridged:  a two-hour concert deconstructing popular holiday music from the last 24 decades.

The Decades

1770s:  Exploring what America was founded on

1780s:  A decade of popular music focused on PTSD

1790s:  yet to be decided

1800s:  A Jukebox Musical about the Hetero normative narrative

1810s:  Yet to be decided

1820s:  The Blind Show (audience members are blindfolded for the duration of the concert

1830s:  Yet to be decided

1840s:  The Abolitionist Hutchinson Family songbook

1850s:  Walt Whitman/Steven Foster mash-up. 

1860s:  The Civil War

1870s:  Yet to be decided

1880s:  a rock version of The Mikado

1890s:  The sorrow of the gay nineties

1900s:  music that was popular in the Jewish Tenements of New York City

1910s:  A Three Act song cycle that consists of pre-war, war, and post war songs

1920s:  The saga of Larry & Barry, Ulysses, & a decade of disconnection from the Zeitgeist

1930s:  Yet to be decided

1940s:  Yet to be decided

1950s:  Yet to be decided

1960s:  Political Action

1970s:  Yet to be decided

1980s:  Yet to be decided

1990s:  Yet to be decided

2000s:  Taylor Mac originals