Stephen King always adresses his audience in a very nice way in his prefaces and interviews. He seems to appreciate that, (at least untill recently) his loyal group of readers didn’t seem to care about the opinion of official critics that was King wroet was somehow inferior.
I went to see Pearl Jam and was very impressed with the way Eddie Vedder interacted with the audience. Little things like introducing the opening band, playing a few acoustic songs before the openers came on, always being very gracious. I didn’t go in as a real huge PJ fan but I came out with a newfound respect for them. They’re also one of the few big bands I’ve seen lately who really seemed to be enjoying themselves up there. Arena security was pissed that they kept playing after the house lights came on while they were trying to get the crowd to start leaving, fat chance of that, they played another 6-7 minutes and the crowd loved it.
Robin Hood Dell, 'bout 1971 I was walking up the aisle trying to find my seat, Mr. King was making his big entrance down the very same aisle and we crashed into each other. He could’ve been annoyed that I was such an oblivious klutz, but instead he grabbed me and kissed me. Yes, I’d say that he is a man who knows how to, um …build rapport with the audience. :o
Despite their recent public image problems regarding downloading music, the couple of times I’ve seen Metallica in concert, I was surprised at how incredibly polite and gracious they were with their audience. Plus they played encore after encore after encore. I’m not that terribly well-versed in Metallica, but I gained a lot of respect for them as performers after seeing their shows (1999 would have been the last show of theirs I’ve seen).
He’s who I came in here to mention. His band is great too; I sent most of them horrendous fangirly e-mails when I was about thirteen (you know the sort of thing I mean - lots of capslock and exclamation points), and they were remarkably nice about it.
Seconded! I was lucky enough to see one of his concerts at the university I was attending waaaaay back in 1970. Even the long-haired dopers (no, not you guys & gals here on the SDMB) got off on him. He is a big hunk of feel-good up there playing just for you.
Recently I saw Van Halen. I was very impressed with David Lee Roth. He couldn’t stop smiling and actually said it was a privilege to play for us. I always thought of him as arrogant, but I didn’t see that side of him.
Good concert, btw
I’ve seen Wilco five times now, and each time I’m impressed by how much Jeff Tweedy really seems to love his audience. In the bootlegs of his solo concerts, he banters a lot, and is very sweet. In his interviews, he often mentions how important his fans are, and how the music stops being his and becomes theirs. Really, pretty much any time he talks, I’m struck by how humble and gracious he is.
I’ve seen them a couple times, including the first tour. They always put on a good show and treat the audience well. The last time I saw them was on the tour they did with Guns ‘N’ Roses. They blew G’N’R out of the water, which was good 'cause had they sucked it could have been ugly. Metallica opened and killed. G’N’R came out and the very first words out of Axls mouth were ‘Which one of you fuckheads threw the lighter?’*. After that about half the audience left. Axl managed to insult the whole freaking audience with the first words out of his mouth. Anyway, Metallica always played well and were obviously working their asses off.
*Not exact words, but the insult was directed to the whole audience, not the jerk who threw the lighter.
**Hanson ** is right up there. They have a tremendously active fan club , and their website forums are always abuzz. Hanson themselves frequently contribute “from us to you” videos and blog postings and chats, some of which are mildly entertaining (especially Zac’s awe-inspiring spelling errors, which I have dubbed “the perils of homeschooling”). Every spring they mail out CDs or DVDs with new songs, videos and remixes to fan club members.
For every concert, they choose a fan club member to be the “reporter” who gets to interview the band, take photos, and write a “tour report” for the website. During meet-and-greets and they make an effort to make a connection with each person, despite it being difficult to have any sort of conversation in three seconds. And when they are going back and forth from the tour bus they usually stop to wave or sign autographs. Their concerts are a family affair, too - their siblings, wives, children and parents mingle with the fans and are very patient with being chatted up by an overweight girl with “I (heart) Ike” written on her face in eyeliner. And I’m not even getting into the mile-long walks they organize before each live show to raise funding and awareness for AIDS causes in Africa.
I think they genuinely appreciate that while the mainstream regards them as “I Love the 90s” one-hit wonders, they are still making records and selling out venues all over the world because of the crazy fans who line up outside of concert venues and buy three copies of their albums just for an extra track or two on the foreign versions (Not that I would do this. Any more.)
That said, some gripe that it shouldn’t cost $40 to join the fan club, and I think the band seriously needs to work on their stage banter. There are only so many times you can hear “How are you doing tonight? Are you ready to rock?” in one night and still have any desire left to “woo.” Also they are just a wee protective of their personal lives. I mean, I don’t need nor want gory details, but in the midst of a two-hour documentary about them making an album, would it kill Taylor to acknowledge that knocking up his girlfriend and getting married at age 19 might have had some impact on his mind set during the process? Just sayin.’