I am a concert goer, a ticket purchaser, and a live music supporter. I have been to numerous concerts. Some by bands you have heard of; some your parents have heard of; some only I have heard of (those shows were kinda weird). I have seen groups and artists from a large number of genres. I have been to various venues– some indoor, some outdoor and one that was both.
The one constant at every show I have been to is the encore…
The encore used to be something the crowd had to work for. The band sweaty and exhausted from a two hour show would stroll off the stage after repeating the name of your town and saying thank you. Then moments later they would be so moved by the cheering of the crowd that they would come back out and play 3 more songs. With each concert I have attended it has become increasingly clear that the encore is a sham.
Think of it: you are a popular musician. You have sold 1500 tickets at around 60 bucks a pop to people eager to hear you play the music synonymous with your name. You have met with your band and after many drafts, composed a set list that gives a fair sampling of your whole catalog. You have included the hits, mixed with some deep album cuts and a few choice tracks from the new album (you know just to give folks time to go to the bathroom). You figure with extended jams and audience participation this list will take 1 hour and 47 min to play. “Why not 2hrs,” you ask yourself? Oh right. Because of the encore. That’s why you left one of your most popular songs off the list.
At the last session I attended we did not even cheer that loudly, and we still got the encore. It seems as though the encore is something we feel as an audience we are still entitled to and something the bands feel obligated to give us.
Here comes a shocker:
I HATE THE ENCORE!
I hate everything about it. I hate how the band makes you think you have some influence over it. I hate how the guy behind me claps and screams in my ear. I hate that when the band comes back out to deliver their spontaneous 3 song mini set we all jump and shout like we have not seen them in years. They just left!
The encore is kinda like tipping in reverse. Imagine if a waitress could withhold the dessert you had already paid for simply because you did not show enough excitement when the entree came.
Let’s stop the encore. Or, at least, make it genuine again. Make it special, for when a band and an audience connects in a real way. After all, isn’t that why we are going to a concert in the first place?