Once upon a time, there was a performer. Perhaps a singer, perhaps a lute-player, perhaps a thespian of some kind. And this performer put on a show for the king. And the show was so good, the king and his court would not let it end. After the show had come to a conclusion, the applause and hurrahs began. Oh, how they rang from the rafters. As one, the audience rose to their feet, demanding, insisiting without words for More!! More!! At this spontaneous outburst of enthusiasm, our artist repeated some of the better parts of his show, to great acclaim and praise. For months afterwards, he was the talk of the court.
Boy, those days are long behind. You’d be hard pressed to find a bigger bunch of idiots than the tens of thousands at a rock concert screaming for an encore. Here is the script followed by every band out there.
1) “Thank you [geographic location]! We’ve had a great time! We are [band name, or individual members, starting with the drummer and bassist, and working your way up to “..and I am [singers name]”]
2) Stage lights go off, and the band walks off.
3) Concert rookies, the elderly, and the fans who don’t care much for their early stuff head for the exits.
4) The rest start screaming. They stomp their feet, they jump and yell. Lighters come out, thousands of lighters.
5) Meanwhile nothing is happening on the stage. Except you might see a couple roadies put out freshly tuned guitars.
6) The crowd continues. Spontaneous chants ring out.
7) What is the band doing? I’d really like to know. Resting? Talking about the brunette in the third row? Complaining that the bassist is jumping the beat again? Watching NewsRadio on Nick at Nite?
8) The yelling continues. Another ten minutes or so of this, and…
9) Holy cow! I don’t believe it! The band has responded to this outpouring of enthusiasm! Why they are coming out again! Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!
10) The band picks of their instruments, and without a word, launches into a mini-set. This set consists of 3-5 songs, all big hits that were conveniently omitted from the main set. Almost as if they were purposefully planning on an encore… No, don’t say that, it cannot be true!
11) The mini-set ends. At exactly 11:30 (or whatever time is mandated by the venue).
12) The band walks off, perhaps with another thanking of the crowd, perhaps with a reminder that [they’ll be back in the fall/our new album hits stores in the fall].
13) The houselights go up. The roadies come out and start taking the equipment down.
14) At this Pavlovian signal, the crowd meekly files out.
The whole thing is just such a farce. Here’s a few variants I’d like to see.
The band comes out and in the beginning of the show announces, “We’re going to have a 10 minute break after an hour or so. Also, we’re playing a bunch of stuff from the new album halfway through, so that’s a good time to get a beer.” (The Who introduced the song Quadrophenia that way.)
Or: “We’re planning on playing some more. But if you just act like a bunch of lobotomized sheep, it doesn’t seem worth it. We already got your money either way”
Or, I’d geniunely like to see: The band wraps up the main set. They announce, “We’re taking 15 minutes to cool off. Then we’ll be back, and play until 11:30. You can probably guess what songs we’re going to end the show with. You feel like shouting, go for it. We’re coming back either way.”