Friday, May 20, 2011

Encore Etiquette

Listen to this album
and tell me it's not in your
top 5 of all time.
Last night we saw Weezer play at the BofA Pavillion, and they were terrific. They played no fewer than 8 songs off the Blue Album -- and only one off Pinkerton, which I like better -- but that’s why we caught their front-to-back Pinkerton show in December. It actually worked out pretty well!

Anyway, they closed the main set with the last song on the Blue Album, “Only in Dreams.” It’s a moody song, and, despite its throttling crescendo, not something you’d ordinarily end the night with. Still, after the band ducks offstage into the dark, you gotta clap for the encore, right? Show your appreciation?

Well, some people argue not. My friend, whom we’ll call ‘Jeff,’ didn’t bother to hoot and holler, saying, “They’re going to come back out anyway, what’s the difference?” It’s a prevalent belief. Plenty of people just stood there gaping up at the stage, checking their phones or half-heartedly clapping once a minute as they wait for the predetermined encore.

As someone who’s spent plenty of time on both sides of the stage, as a musician and a fan, it bothers the hell out of me.

Yes, a national touring act will have its encore(s) planned out in advance. Unless the whole crowd starts heading to the exits en masse, the band will come back out 99% of the time, and play the same encore set they played in Baltimore four nights ago.

But do you want them to come back out because they HAVE to, or because they WANT to?

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