Just Because We Agree Wholeheartedly

November 11th, 2004 · 1 Comment
by Booksquare

In 2001, near the end of her two-hour extravaganza at the FleetCenter, Janet Jackson left the stage for five unforgivable minutes before returning to perform an encore. Was she having zipper trouble? Was she topping off her chakra with fan love as required by her life coach or choreographer? A novice concertgoer would have been led to believe that if only the fans clapped loudly enough, if the urgent desire for a few more sublime notes were made plain, the pop star would be compelled to reward the impassioned throngs with the spontaneous gift of extra song.

Of course, there isn’t a soul on earth with even a passing connection to the popular culture who isn’t familiar with the faux art of the encore. Jackson’s divalicious milking of the audience was an especially unsavory example, but the fact is that, by and large, most encores are simply the final two or three songs of a show preceded by a built-in adulation break. They’re not only prescribed, they’re scripted. Typed on the set list. Preprogrammed by the lighting technician. Complete with pyro, videos, and confetti-strewn finales.

We have little patience for this encore business. We give the artist sufficient time to hit the bathroom and maybe have a few swigs of beer. That’s it. Usually we have to rescue our car from the valet or some such nonsense — we don’t want to stick around unless it’s absolutely necessary.

P.S. – Saving your big hit (and for the bands we enjoy, that’s sort of a weird concept) for last isn’t how we define absolutely necessary.

  • Encore: It’s become a silly contrivance that must be stopped

File Under: Square Pegs

1 response so far ↓

  • Brenda Coulter // Nov 12, 2004 at 10:45 am

    I’m right there with you, Booksquare, and if you’ll allow me (and even if you won’t) I’d like to take this opportunity to rant on something that nearly always follows these unspontaneous encores. To wit, the Standing Ovation.

    Unless the audience LEAPS to its feet at the end of a performance, a standing ovation is rendered meaningless. I’m always embarassed for the performers when audience members grudgingly rise to their feet only because those two dozen people up front won’t sit down.

    In the good old days, standing ovations were reserved for truly unforgettable performances. Those ovations triggered encores. So it’s the fault of the audiences, not the performers, that encores aren’t real anymore. We did this to ourselves.