1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

How long do you expect a rock concert headliner to play?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by hrodbert696, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Just saw the Arctic Monkeys with my daughter last night. Good band, good show, I like their music and they were good on stage - not the greatest I've ever seen, but worth going. But something struck me. After the opener finished, and then all the fussing on stage prepping for the headliners to come on, they didn't start until a few minutes to 10:00. I check my watch when they finished the main set and it was 11:00. They came back out for a three-song encore, but the whole show was done by about 11:15.

    It made me think - bar band gigs may be "too long" (hardy har har), but how long should a rock star gig be? Springsteen was famous for giving four-hour marathon concerts, and when I saw Rush on the latest tour they played three solid sets running 2 1/2 - 3 hours. I could understand a freshman band that only had its first album or two calling it quits after an hour and a quarter, but this is a pretty well-established group with five albums out, playing to a crowd of 6000 in a hockey arena. Surely they could play a couple hours worth of songs.

    So, what's your expectation? How long do you think a headliner band ought to play to give the fans their money's worth?
  2. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    2 hours
  3. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    2.5 hours including an encore.
  4. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    2 to 2-1/2 hours (with a bathroom break) :D
  5. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Depends on how high a quality of show that the artist can pull off. There's a point of diminishing returns on every artist. Voices are limited in how much they can endure, audiences are limited in how much drum solo they can endure.

    I'd rather see a rock solid 75 minute set than a bloated 120 minute set if those are my choices.
  6. mattattack187

    mattattack187 Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2012
    Bangor, ME
  7. basspedaler

    basspedaler Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2013
    at least 2hrs. minimum!
  8. Anything more than an hour and a half, I am happy with. Regarding the event you mentioned. Keep in mind that sometimes the bands are limited by the event manager, even the headliner.

    My longest show: Gov't Mule at 4 hours and a bit. Two sets. Money well spent :)
  9. Bass_Thumper


    Oct 20, 2009
    Madison, MS
    I expect between 2 and 2.5 hours. More than that and I get worn out and less than that and I feel ripped off. If they are co-headlining, I expect 1.5 hours each.

    It could be the age of the expected audience that is making the difference. The bands that lean more to the classic rock side of things tend to play longer sets because their fans expect it. Last time I saw Gov't Mule, it was at a casino in Tahoe and Warren was complaining that the show was capped at 2.5 hours so they didn't take a set break, just plowed through.
  10. poit57


    Apr 30, 2010
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Most of the shows I have attended in the past 15 years (since I was a teen) consisted of 2 or 3 bands touring together with 1 or 2 local opening acts. These shows are usually 2.5 - 4 hours for all bands involved (including tear down and setup between each band's set).

    I've only been to a handful of stadium-type concerts. Those are a different category. The headlining act should probably be a little longer, but unless the band can fill the majority of 2-3 hours with well-known hits, I don't know that I would want a show to go on that long.
  11. thepest


    Apr 8, 2008
    I'd rather see a rock solid 75 minute set than a bloated 120 minute set if those are my choices.[/QUOTE]

    THIS as well.
  12. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
    For a single band? 1.5 probably 2 hours... I could stay longer but only if there is a cooler packed with beer by my side and the bathroom is no more than 40 feet away. To me , a rock concert is like a big party so I need to have all the elements I like to enjoy it.
  13. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    Sometimes it may be the band, but it may also be the venue. The show may have started late for any number of reasons, but if the venue has a hard stop time because of an ordinance or noise concerns, the show will end.
    A big headliner can do 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours. I tend to get bored with anything if I've been standing too long, so I don't care how long a band plays as long as they really knock it out of the park for however long they are playing.
  14. marko138


    May 24, 2013
    Perry County PA
    60 minutes. I get bored after that.
  15. Milk


    Sep 16, 2013
    Montreal, Canada
    However long it takes to play all their hits.....
  16. For me, anything under 90 minutes, they ain't really trying. You got old men like Springsteen out there sweating their balls off and bleeding for audiences for 3 hours, anyone at the large hall/stadium level should be able to pull off 90 minutes of solid, quality entertainment. Especially with an opening act to warm things up.
  17. Milk


    Sep 16, 2013
    Montreal, Canada
    to me beyond 2 hours i'm potentially bound to get bored. It depends what the band chooses to play beyond that but odds are by the two hours mark i heard what i wanted to hear and the other stuff i may want to hear they're unlikely to ever play live anyway. I get tired of standing up, and at some point cant muster the energy anymore to be properly into the show. There's the comfort aspect too, need to go, too hot, need a drink, etc.. Even my favorite bands if they did four hours i'd probably leave by the 2 hours and a half mark.
  18. Savage_Dreams


    Jan 8, 2007
    you might want to go see better bands then ;)

    i want at least 2 hours
  19. I think 2 hours, minimum. But I remember seeing Elvis Costello in the 80's and he only played for an hour. It was disappointing. The Boss and Grateful Dead and even The Police all put on decent shows with at least 2 hours of music.
  20. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    1 hour per twenty dollars ticket price.