View Full Version : What do you expect out of a concert?

04-19-2011, 10:37 PM
In the MPSIMS forum, there's a thread about someone who went to an Arlo Guthrie concert and was upset he didn't play "Alice's Restaurant". It got me wondering about what you expect from a concert. When I go to a show, I want an artist to play modestly different from the album version--I love hearing songs played louder or looser with different solos, but I don't want them to totally abandon the original tune like jam band and jazz acts do. I sure don't want them to play just like the CD; why not then just listen at home? Also I don't expect artists to perform certain songs. I went to a Merle Haggard concert last year, and he left lots of his hits off the setlist to showcase new material. I didn't care because the new stuff was very good and he performed them enthusiastically. What do you say?

04-19-2011, 11:28 PM
I want to see an entertaining performance. If I want to hear the songs exactly like the CD, I'll just stay home and listen to it. I don't expect them to play the big hits or most popular songs. If I like the artist, I'll have already heard them a jillion times. As a performing songwriter, I can tell you those most requested songs get so so boring the 500th time you've played them that it's difficult to put much fun and projection into them. I have to keep reminding myself that though I might have heard (and played) the song a thousand times the audience hasn't. I always try to play requests but they are not always in the active catalog. Believe it or not, you have to practice a song to get it ready for play.

04-19-2011, 11:42 PM
What I expect and what I want from a concert are usually two different things. But what I want most is an enthusiastic performance, and something more than just what I hear from my Ipod. This means at least a *little* bit of a 'show'. There are many, many musicians and bands that I love to death, but I don't expect to be good *performers*. And that's just fine with me! But I do love it when I get to hear what I like, done by someone genuinely happy to be playing it. Or at least really good at faking it; I can only imagine touring gets very old after a while, and I heartily applaud and respect those folk who can be consistent and yet bring something fresh to the performance.

I have high hopes for my first Rush show in June. :)

04-20-2011, 01:18 PM
I want the band to play extended and/or alternate versions of every song they've written, or thought about writing. That way nobody's favorite song is left out. You know, that "one song" you bought the $60 ticket for? I don't care if you have 30 albums spanning 15 years. Looks like we're all in for a long nite, then.

I would like the front-person to tell stories to the audience. How's the tour? What were your influences for the song? How are the kids?

I would also like them to include two to three surprise guests for a jam of original material. This is optional (except if your Trans-Siberian Orchestra, then it's SOP)

Each band member who plays an instrument gets a solo. No exceptions.

I would like the audience to all just sit the fuck down so I can see the band, and not the back of your Stryper concert shirt from '99. They weren't good back ten years before then, and certainly aren't now.

I **REQUIRE** the acoustics to be on par with a high-end stereo system, just louder. White noise is not music. I also REQUIRE your sound tech to be competent.

If you're going to have an opening band, please make sure they don't suck, please make sure you let the ticket-holders know in advance so they can decide for themselves. Local talent is preferred as long as they don't suck.

Start on freakin' time!

Oh, and the guys running the spotlights waaaay up there in the rafters? They also have sniper rifles. If you even think about playing any pre-recorded music as part of your actual concert? BLAM! There goes your drummer. Again? Pink, Bassist-Mist.

**Don't publish your playlist (including encores). Each encore should be different, based on audience participation. The better the audience, the better the encore set. Please refer to the above spotlight operators if you *think* about walking offstage without an encore. Exceptions to shitty audiences.

<Off Soapbox>
Just went to see Iron Maiden. They broke all those rules except the no-encore thing.

04-20-2011, 01:43 PM
It depends upon the act.

If I'm going to see the Eagles (i.e., a band with decades of work behind them), I'd better hear some of their classics. I might not hear all of the well-known songs, but I didn't shell out $100+ just to listen to their latest release.

If I'm going to see a recent act who is touring to promote an album, I would expect to hear a large number of songs from the new album, as well as some of their earlier stuff (if it exists). I wouldn't mind a cover or two thrown in.

If I'm going to see an act that is widely-known for 1 song and 1 song only, I'd better hear that song! One doesn't spend $10 to see Flock of Seagulls not play "I Ran (So Far Away)". (Example pulled out of ass - I don't even know if the group is still around).

Profound Gibberish
04-20-2011, 01:48 PM
I am in my mid-40's and I want: 1) a band that enjoys playing small venues 2) a good (not necesarilly loud) sound system and 3) chairs. The band can play whatever they want--they know what is popular and what they enjoy playing. Taking requests is also a nice touch in a small venue. I am not there to hear "my song," but rather to see a group of artists ply their trade.

kenobi 65
04-20-2011, 02:05 PM
I want the band to play extended and/or alternate versions of every song they've written, or thought about writing. That way nobody's favorite song is left out. You know, that "one song" you bought the $60 ticket for? I don't care if you have 30 albums spanning 15 years. Looks like we're all in for a long nite, then.

I went to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers a few years back. The drunk twenty-something former-frat-boy sitting right in front of me yelled, "Play 'American Girl', dammit!!!" before every single song. I kept hoping he'd pass out before Petty played it. Alas, they did play it, as an encore.

04-20-2011, 02:07 PM
No drum solo, no bass solo. The only exception is Mick Fleetwood, who gets out from behind the kit and plays with African Talking drums. Bass players should face the back of the stage and not get delusions as to their place in the pecking order (ie just below the guy who sweeps up after the show).

The act should be having fun. Nothing kills a concert faster than a band that is just going through the motions.

Expand the songs. Let them grow.

The example all should aspire to is Springsteen.

04-20-2011, 04:07 PM
If you've got more than 2 albums, I'm really hoping that only 50% of the set list is the new album. I know performers want to play their new awesome material, but the fanbase that is there was also built on old material. I don't know anyone who went to a concert for the main act without being a fan first.

Of course, since artists only come here for the usual new album tours, I'm biased. I'm not in a big city where popular artists will come around a couple times a year.

04-20-2011, 06:12 PM
Generally, I prefer it if a band throws in one or two old or obscure tracks for the fans. If I'm not a huge fan, no big deal, it's only a couple of songs. If I am a big fan, hearing the obscure tracks is a treat. I'm a huge Depeche Mode fan and the last couple of tours have, for the most part, been "greatest hits" packages. Those were great songs the first tours they were on, maybe the first two or three, but after a while ... yawn. Instead of the millionth time I've heard "I Feel You" or "Walking in My Shoes", how about pulling out a b-side like "Dangerous" or an old track like "The Sun and the Rainfall"? I doubt casual fans would be all that disappointed not to hear "I Feel You", but the hardcore fans would be buzzing after hearing "The Sun and the Rainfall".

Also, I may be alone on this, but I do want to hear stuff from the new album. In 2009, VNV Nation released an album that I consider to be among their best. But when I went to see them on that tour, they opened with a song from 1996! I realize it's a fan favorite and all, but come on, we've all heard it a million times. I want to hear the new stuff (of which they only played 3 songs, compared to 4 from the album before it). I was really excited about the new album and I wanted the band to be, too.

04-20-2011, 07:33 PM
Free Bird

04-21-2011, 09:39 AM
Most of the concerts i go to are rock/punk in small venues.

I want it to be dirty (i.e. not the precise sound of the record), i want an enthusiastic performance, and an enthusiastic audience. I want to be in the "mass of hummanity" (General admission, standing) maybe like 10 feet from the front row. And if I don't go home with my clothes drenched in sweat (most of it not my own) i probably didn't have that good of a time.

Going to see Coheed & Cambria in a week. Probably my favorite band, and their concerts never leave me dissapointed.

Blaster Master
04-21-2011, 10:33 AM
I've been to over a hundred concerts, and I can tell you exactly what I expect at this point. That said, there are things I wish that was more common than not.

Bands will tend to play about 30-40% of their set from their latest album. Personally, I wish they would adjust that value based on how much material they have. If you have 8 albums, I don't want to a classic pushed out of the set list for a mediocre song from the newest album. Moreso, it's always nice to hear an old song that I haven't heard live before; it's a nice treat to the fans that have seen the band live multiple times.

Bands will often take some creative liberty with their songs, and I think the more the better. Throw in an extended solo or some improvisation. One of the best instances of this was with a song that I hadn't heard live before and normally ends with an acoustic riff and a fade out. They took that, started to fade out, then kicked in a bit of distortion and then the lead guitarist just laid his head back and improvised a solo. Easily one of the best moments in a concert.

A lot of bands take things very business-like where if you see them on multiple shows on the tour, you'll see they have the same jokes and bits between songs or whatever. That's fine, but I really much prefer to see the bands enjoying themselves. On more than a few occassions, I've seen them bring out silly props, or some of the supporting bands run out on stage during the set and shoot silly string on them or TP the stage or whatever.

Along the same lines, any time you can have a guest vocalist or bring something extra to a performance do it. For instance, when a band is touring with another band that has done guest work, you MUST play that song and have them do the vocals or the solo or whatever.

One thing I really would like to see more of, which I've only seen twice, is where a band actually plays a song that the whole crowd is requesting, even if it isn't on their set list. One time I went to see a show where the headline act didn't show up (no worries though, I was really there for the second one anyway). Anyway, they played their whole planned set and took a brief break, then, since there was time left, they came back out on stage and played whatever was yelled out. It was awesome.

And one thing I really don't like is the planned encore. Seriously, it's so cliche at this point, why bother? If you need a break in the set, just take a break partway through. But, seriously, if you haven't played your best known song that you always play at every show and walk off stage, we know what you're doing. I can count on one hand the number of times I saw true encores, where they didn't intend to play anything else, but came back out anyway. Sure, it's usually only done for the last show of a tour or if it's a venue they frequent often, but I want it to be a treat.

04-21-2011, 01:58 PM
I went to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers a few years back. The drunk twenty-something former-frat-boy sitting right in front of me yelled, "Play 'American Girl', dammit!!!" before every single song. I kept hoping he'd pass out before Petty played it. Alas, they did play it, as an encore.

I went to see Yes more than a few years back. The stranger next to me was tripping balls. He kept yelling for them to play Roundabout all the way through the concert and refused to leave after the encore until they played Roundabout.

It was the first song of the evening.

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