Ever been to a concert where the headliner did not play an encore?

At a Wilco concert I saw last summer, as the band walked off the stage at the end of their set a woman next to me asked “Do you think they’ll come out for an encore?” I said “I’m sure they will,” but what I was really thinking was “You don’t go to very many concerts, do you?” After all, I’ve been going to concerts for thirty-plus years and I don’t think I have ever seen the headlining artist or group walk off the stage and not come back out. It just seemed like such a ridiculous question.

So I’m curious… has anyone ever been to a show where the headlining band did not come back out for an encore? For purposes of this thread let’s exclude situations that are out of the band’s control, like an outdoor show shortened by bad weather, the drummer spontaneously combusts, etc.

I went to a Nine Inch Nails concert in the mid/late 90’s where they did not do an encore. The rumor was that trent reznor was not happy with the promoter (who insisted on putting fold out seats throughout the floor section, zip tied together. Trent stopped the show and insisted everyone tear the chairs apart and pile them in the corner). Another rumor floating around at the time is his pet puppy died or some such.

But other than that freak show, every single show has had an encore.

Yeah, I’m wracking my brain, and I can’t think of any. It’s more a question of whether they’ll do more than one encore, if anything.

None I can think of. In fact, a couple of shows I’d seen (semi)recently had the performer lampshade it with comments in the vein of “Ok, show’s over. See you in five minutes”.

I’ve heard the stories that Elvis Presley didn’t do encores. He’d come out, do his set, and then leave. But the routine of a performer leaving the stage and then coming back for an encore was already well established so the audience stayed in their seats waiting for Elvis to come back. So venues began making announcements that “Elvis has left the building” in order to convince people the show was really over.

Leon Redbone. Left the stage for intermission, did not return. He sent a flunky to tell the audience his show was over and we should leave.

I can’t remember who it was but yeah there was one time I remember. It was quite obviously a non-memorable event, not horrible, not great. They said good night, and walked off, and everybody instinctively stood up and started to do the encore clap. But after about 7-8 seconds it just kind of petered out like a collective shrug to say “Ehh, we’re good actually”.

Yeah, I can’t remember the band, but I’ve been to a single concert (out of maybe 25-30) that didn’t play an encore.

Rather than play their traditional encore song during an encore, they just played it last and that was the end of the show.

Wish I could remember who it was.

Saw Holly Cole at a theater. My wife and I had seats in a box, above the stage and to the side. Holly started introducing a song saying “this is our last song…” Apparently the acoustics in this theater meant that my wife’s quiet, muttered “yeah, sure” carried all the way to the stage. Holly heard it and said “OK, the truth is I gotta go pee!”

This may be perilously close to “exploding drummer” territory, but when I saw Nina Simone towards the end of her life she was clearly in fragile health and took an extended absence from the stage after performing only a few songs. Her band filled time by playing instrumentals–obviously unplanned–until she returned for a final couple of songs. When she left the stage the audience remained and cheered for what seemed like 15 minutes. Nina finally came back onstage, announced simply “I have no more to give,” and walked off.

Not the headliner but years ago I saw REM in concert in Austin, TX. Opening for them were Natalie Merchant, then promoting her first solo album, and a little band called Radiohead. They came on and played first at an outdoor venue in Texas on a hot, sunny afternoon in September. Temperature was well into the 90s and they were not getting much of a response from the still-arriving crowd. They played their set and then basically walked off with a clear ‘fuck you’ attitude to the audience. I think they might have even said as much as they exited. Can’t blame them but it was so miserable that day I didn’t enjoy any of the performances. I don’t know who thought outdoor concert venues in Texas would be a good idea.

I saw Judy Collins and Arlo Guthrie tour together. Arlo came back out & wanted to play a few more. Judy came out as well, everyone cheered, then she grabbed his sleeve & pulled him off stage. He clearly had no idea what her issue might be. Neither emerged again. Show over.

I saw the Foo Fighters at an outdoor festival with a curfew. Towards the end of the set, Dave Grohl just said something like “Well, we could waste a few minutes going off, and you all cheer, and we come back on again, but we’re just going to keep playing rock’n’roll!” And they did. No encore.

The Manic Street Preachers famously don’t do encores.

A band I managed many years ago would only do encores if they liked the audience. Their attitude was that it was a reward for all concerned if things had gone well. They hated audiences that just sat around drinking all night and then clamored for an encore. Of course I had the thrill of explaining this to the often angry management of the venue.

A couple of months ago I saw Father John Misty who turned the encore into a whole weird thing. He pretended he wasn’t going to do one while admitting that, “astute audience members may have noticed that I failed to perform 3 of my early hits.” He conducted a question and answer session with the audience who, like polite schoolkids, held their hands in the air to ask their questions. He mocked the crowd for being on their feet for all this post gig chat when they hadn’t left their seats while he performed. All very nice stuff and makes a nice change.

I saw Dave Frischberg at Trapper’s Lounge in Honolulu in 1989. He was so annoyed with the rude motherfuckers in the room who couldn’t be bothered to pay attention that he didn’t even finish his set. He sat down and chatted with my friend and me for the rest of the evening though, so it wasn’t a total bust.

Yes, I have been, but like others, I can’t remember who it was. I’m thinking it might have been George Strait…or Randy Travis.

Pretty sure it wasn’t a rock concert though.

Me and my college roomates went to see Chuck Berry because we thought we should see him at least once in our lives. We had no idea how long he would live. Of course that was in 1988 and he’s still alive.

Chuck was very late. When he got there he had no plan or set list. He took requests from the audience. While he was up there he was really good. He only played for 45 minutes. He walked off the stage and a couple of minutes later there was an announcement, “Chuck Berry has left the building.”

I’ve been to a lot of shows, somewhere in the range of 150-200, and I’ve seen many bands not do “encores”. The thing is, if it’s planned for them to go off-stage, have the crowd cheer for 5 minutes for them to come back out and play again, is it even really an encore? Some bands just ignore the pretentiousness of that and just play their set. I’d still say the large majority of headliners I’ve seen do “encores”, but I’ve seen many that haven’t.

Similarly, I’ve seen legit encores too, where either they have a song or two they only play if they’re either afforded 5-10 extra minutes at a given show or the crowd/owner really responds. I’ve particularly seen this when it’s the last show of a tour, the band has a particularly good relationship with the club owner, or either the band is local or just beloved in the town for some reason.

Dee Sninder and Twisted Sister don’t do encores, though they say that when they finish up.

In the mid 80’s I saw Joan Armatrading and John Martyn on consecutive nights in Cardiff. Joan sold out so they added a second show on the same night - I was at the first. Good show, tight band. My girlfriend cried during the last of 3 encores (Willow) and we were out of there by 7.30 as the second audience lined up outside. Went for a drink then home to make sweet sweet Love and Affection.
Next night Martyn came on at 7.30 and left the stage for the first and only time at around 10.45. I remember how his suit clung to him as he had sweated through it; the SOP of asking the audience for a doobie; that he played a new song called John Wayne; and the glances between the band as he called out the next song as if to say ‘is this the last one?’ My girlfriend cried during May You Never and I cried in Couldn’t Love You More. He ended with a long version of Big Muff and had nothing left. A little research tells me it was 16th of Feb 1986.
The contrast between the excellent professional show by JA - that she did all over again 45 minutes later - and JM at his mercurial best was staggering. Of course the next night he might have been drunk and only played half an hour, but we got lucky that night.

It’s the only time that the headline didn’t play an encore in my 40 years of watching music.