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Let's make the encore extinct!!

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Shlabotnik, Mar 11, 2019.

  1. Shlabotnik


    Jan 12, 2019
    I'm having a mostly friendly debate with my band about encores.

    I'm feeling strongly that the encore is just an annoyance for all involved and I'm trying to convince them that we should not do them anymore. Here's are some of my reasons why.

    1. Encores have become expected so they aren't special anyway. It's more unusual for a band to NOT do an encore than it is to do one. The audience and the band both assume that, after the last set, people will applaud for a bit and then they'll come out and do more. If the people aren't truly demanding one and are just doing it out of politeness or a feeling of obligation, it shouldn't happen. If you're a band where the audience demands it, then why not just put it in the main set to being with?

    2. People say that the band is tired and need a break before the last couple of songs. No... Grow the @#$% up and don't whine and just play your damn set. If it's that long, break it into 2 sets. You don't need a break 10 minutes before the set is over.

    3. As an audience member, I feel like I'm being toyed with by a band that goes off stage, keeps the lights down so people can applaud for them and then comes back out again. I find that arrogant. The lights didn't come up so everyone knows full well that they weren't done playing, they just want to feel important and hear people shout for them. Don't make me yell and applaud for 5 minutes. People pay a small fortune for concert tickets these days so don't make them stand there and shout and clap until their hands are tired. As a performer, I don't want to do that to my audience.

    So, to me it's the equivalent of a store jacking up the prices and then having a big sale. Who are you kidding? Let's call it what it is... a charade that everyone is playing along with... and let's just play a good full set and call it a night. Respect.

    I've recently seen a few acts where people are telling the audience they're not going to play the "encore" game and they're just going to finish the full set now instead of going off and waiting for applause and coming back out.

    This recent list in my experience includes:
    • Imagine Dragons
    • Storm Large
    • Mike Nesmith
    So, what do you think? Do we still need encores or is it just an unnecessary ego boost for the band?

    Have any of you discussed this with regards to your own projects?
    backin82, mikeyjm2, megarat and 43 others like this.
  2. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I agree 100%. Very annoying to be out there in the crowd, clapping, wondering how long they're going to make you keep it up. Especially when it's a band known for one big hit in particular, and they haven't played it yet, so you KNOW it's coming...
    BluesOnBass, TC424, Cownancy and 12 others like this.
  3. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    This actually has never come up in my bands. There's always an encore planned, at least. No one has ever spoken up about it.

    But it's always funny when the audience doesn't yell for an encore... but they'll get one anyway!
  4. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    It's just a game that both the band and the audience play together. Most of the audience expects to play the game so it's a bit jarring when the lights go up and there's nothing else planned. I'd say it runs the risk of feeling rude, only because it's so expected.

    However, if an audience is not clamoring for an encore, there is no way I would go back out and do one. If you failed to connect with your audience, just turn up the house lights and go home. This is part of what encores should be about- requesting more when you want more, and getting more only then.

    So, I agree with you in principle, but I'm not sure the audience will.
  5. Shlabotnik


    Jan 12, 2019
    Right, that's why, when it happens, the artist usually says something like... "No encore game folks, we're just going to play our encore now instead!"
  6. akrachanko

    akrachanko Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2014
    Western Pennsylvania
    I'm sort of in the same situation in my band. We plan an encore on every show, but we only play it when the audience wants to hear it. I will point out that we're a bar band, and there is no leaving the stage, so an encore is just one last song before we start packing up. We've played a show or two where the people seemed content after our last 'official' song, so we just skipped the encore.

    I strongly believe that this is exactly how encores should work. My 2 cents.
  7. Shlabotnik


    Jan 12, 2019
    Right... so sometimes a person in the band will say "we should play song X for the encore" and I'm thinking... well, what if they don't really *want* an encore? Then we don't get to play song X? But I love song X!!
    Son of Wobble, Mr_Moo and redwingxix like this.
  8. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    Don't make your encore your best song. Most of us are not saving our best million-seller hit for last. If you're not in that category, you can get away with playing something less shiny if need be.

    I recently did a show where we usually don't get an encore because it's early on a weeknight. It was a Thursday night, we had an unusually large group out to see us and the dance floor was packed. We finished up and they wanted more. We had nothing planned, so we played something simple that we hadn't rehearsed- Suzy-Q by CCR. You have to know that this is not a band that would normally play anything by CCR; we had worked it up months earlier for a special tribute show. But they loved it, and we got away with it. From now on, though, we'll have something held back for that show so we can accommodate and encore with a little more finesse.
    Shlabotnik likes this.
  9. akrachanko

    akrachanko Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2014
    Western Pennsylvania
    I feel ya on this. One of the songs we often encore is Roll With It by Steve Winwood. I absolutely LOVE playing that song, because we vamp a solo section for our sax and guitar player, and I get to just go nuts, but I digress. We are getting payed to play for the people, not for ourselves. Now, if whoever is paying us is there and says they want to hear a certain song, well you better believe we'll play it for them. :roflmao:
    PWRL and Shlabotnik like this.
  10. Shlabotnik


    Jan 12, 2019
    Indeed, if someone is paying, then that trumps any set list philosophy I might come in with. :laugh:!
    akrachanko likes this.
  11. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    My only working band at the moment is frantically adding more material.
    Trust me -- when we stop, you've heard everything we've got...
  12. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas
  13. Scottgun


    Jan 24, 2004
    South Carolina
    Sounds like a solution in search of a problem.
  14. callofcthulhu


    Oct 16, 2012
    If we’re talking in the context of a big name band that’s playing arenas or whatever - they’ve earned it, let them have those few extra moments of hearing the crowd chant their name.

    If we’re talking in the context of local bands - at least in every band I’ve been in it’s a very organic thing: the venue establishes how long set times will be, we plan enough material to fill that slot. When we’re done we start packing up. If there’s still a crowd and they still want more, they need to let us know, otherwise we’ll assume they just want to go home, same as us. If they ask for more we’ll (usually) give it to them.

    No games, no pretense.
  15. red_rhino

    red_rhino Gold Supporting Member

    An encore is a useful thing. If the performance was good, I'll stick around for the encore. If not, it's a great opportunity to beat the crowds leaving the venue.
  16. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    It's funny, encores are supposed to be demand from the audience to play that thing again. Encores can happen after any big number in an opera. Having witnessed thousands of shows as a stagehand and performer, I agree the practice is misused and so misunderstood.

    The classiest encore performance I've seen was by Dizzy Gillespie. It was in '75 on the MSU campus, he'd done a workshop in the afternoon and a great show, and he was clearly tired. When the audience kept calling, he came back out onstage from the green room with a bowl of apples, and quietly and lovingly handed them out to audience members one-by-one, giving his thanks as well. That was it.
  17. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    It must be nice to have a crowd at the end of a four hour gig that even notices when you're done. :(
  18. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Once I’m off stage I’m done. But we often get “one more” after the last song and we keep a few special songs for those occasions.
  19. Shlabotnik


    Jan 12, 2019
    That is freaking beautiful.
    BluesOnBass likes this.
  20. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    I hate encores. I contract with the club to play until 12:00, not 12:05 or 12:10 or 12:15. As extra annoyance, it's usually the jerk that got there at 11:45 that wants you to keep playing. I feel like saying, "Hey dipstick, where were you at 8:00 when we started if you love the band so much?"

    I will do one smiling, two reluctantly, but I've refused to play a third before, particularly when it's only one or two people that are doing all the hollering. Now if the whole audience was asking, of course I'd play as long as necessary.
    Dgl44, KPJ, mstillman and 3 others like this.

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