Monday, September 24, 2012
Opinion: Stop with the concert encores, please
Bring the rock and leave it all on stage.
We’ve all been there. Even if you’re the hippest of the hipsters, the sultan of Spotify, the viceroy of vinyl, you go to a show and there’s a song you want to hear from the headlining band. Heck, it might even be a (gasp!) single. Don’t worry – we’re not judging you. The band releases those songs as singles for a reason, you know.
Then 45 minutes, an hour, an hour and a half (maybe) into the show, it ends. The lights stay off, everyone stays put, and it’s the one break where you don’t go to the bar. Because in less than 3 minutes, without a doubt, the slow clap will start and the band will come back out for an encore. And maybe they’ll play that song you were waiting all night to hear. Then again, maybe they won’t.
I was at the Passion Pit show on Friday at UT Arlington, and it was a solid show. No complaints, the crowd even behaved itself this time (as opposed to the show at the Palladium, where drunken teenagers were falling over left and right). But they left their song “Sleepyhead” (which is catchy as hell, and I don’t care who knows it) until the encore. We clapped them back on, and with totally faux sheepishness they retook the stage.
Compare that to the dudes of Explosions in the Sky. They leave it all on stage, rock out hard for as long as they can, and that’s it. No anticipation, no big let downs when a band doesn’t play a song you really really really wanted to hear live (Peter, Bjorn and John, I’m looking at you. No "Amsterdam?" Really?). How have we created this culture where every band, regardless of how good they actually were, expects to be invited back to play another song?
(Note to some bands that shall not be named: If you don’t hear clapping, you don’t have to come back out. It’s OK.)
So, here’s a solution. Instead of this bogus “Oh we’re leaving! J/K!” crap, just play your best, most popular song last. That’s it. Then go away, turn the lights on, and let’s roll. We have an afterparty to get to.
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