Why the ridiculous delays between phases of a concert?

I went to see The Decemberists last night (envy me!) and their opening act was a mediocre Scottish rock band called Sons and Daughters. The stage was already well set up for the openers, and while doors opened at 8pm, the opening act didn’t take the stage until 9:15 or so. In the meantime, the venue played old-timey bluegrass & gospel songs. The openers played maybe seven songs, and then went backstage at about 9:45. The stage was immediately reset for the main band, and the venue sound system played Peter & the Wolf by Prokofiev. The stage setup was done in maybe 15 minutes, but the main act didn’t take the stage until 30 minutes later. That’s a long damn time, but it’s not the longest I’ve had to wait for a main act, either.

I’m not a frequent concertgoer, but this is a pattern I’ve seen at almost every show. By now, anyone with a brain knows how long the openers are going to be on, and when everyone in the main act needs to be ready. Any pretense of “warming up the audience” is ridiculous – by the time the main act comes out I’ve forgotten that there even was an opener. So what’s the deal?

No real reason. From my experience, a lot of rock acts saunter on stage when they’re good and ready.

I have noticed the blues and country groups tend to start at the scheduled time: if the concert is scheduled for 9:00, they’re playing by 9:05, though in some cases the backup band comes out and plays a bit before the headliner shows.

But rock has a tradition of acts coming on stage late.

I mean this more than just a pun. Musicians create their own rhythm and for the rest of us, the clock imposes that rhythm on us.

I’m a big 311 fan and I go see them every time they come around, but one thing I’ve noticed that really pisses me off is that, no matter how quick they’re set-up, they take the stage exactly 30 minutes after the opening act finishes.

This is not cool, IMO, when you’re in Phoenix and it’s 100+ degrees. That 30 minutes can feel like an eternity standing there in the sun.

I can’t remember what band it was, but at one concert I attended, the singer apologized for coming on a bit late. It seems they were watching a playoff game backstaqe and they had to see who won!

I figure it’s just traditional at this point. It does give people more time to arrive and get to their seats if they didn’t come early for the opener or went to the snackbar, and maybe to build up some tension, but I’d guess it’s mostly just because the bands feel no need to be punctual.

As it’s been explained to me by avid concert goers (who have spoken to venue operators), the main act is set to go on at a certain time. This time is determined, among other things, by whether they’ve got to get on the bus to the next stop right away, how complex their setup is, how complex the opening act is, how long the set will be, what time the venue closes, how long strike will take, etc.

The time is essentially set so peopel who don’t want to see the opening acts can show up and not miss the guys they bought the tickets for. The reason there’s such a huge delay, IIRC is to act as a “buffer” if something goes wrong on the technical side.

You’re also supposed to get bored of standing around and go buy beer.

Member of touring (and often headlining) band checking in -

The answer is “no real reason” for the most part. We’re usually hanging out, finishing a drink, tying up loose ends, chatting with friends or fans that showed up, dealing with last-minute hiccups in equipment or setup, hitting the restroom, and so on. It adds up, but we try to not have people standing around for 30 mins or longer for no reason.

also dont forget 30 minutes is a long time for you waiting in the hall - but I am sure it flies by for the band hyped up in the back of stage

May bands have specific performance start times listed in their contracts, so even if the opening band is done at 9:05, if they’re not scheduled to start 'til 10:00 that’s when they start.

The clubs, of course, has an interest in having people standing around with nothing to do for a while - you buy more drinks then.

I saw Guns and Rose second to last concert, Axel didn’t come out until 3.5 hours after the opening act (SoundGarden). At one in the morning he graced us with his appearance and a drunken “Fk You Dayton, my step dad’s from here so Fk you all!” He proceeded to rock the house until 4 in the morning and except for a couple of more drunken interludes between songs, performed quite well. Lot’s of people asked for thier money back, none of us got any because he did actually perform. So yeah, the arist can actually show up when they want and say Fk You all, I’ve seen it. The next night they broke up. Fk You too Axel.

My girlfriend and I encountered this just last night. We got tickets to a hurricane relief concert (Crescent City Throwdown) at the Variety Playhouse in Little Five Points, Atlanta.

The first act on stage was BeauSoleil. They had a great set, albeit a bit subdued without their drummer. They had two fiddles, an accordian, and an accoustic guitar. (I was, however, quite thoroughly entertained just watching Jimmy Breaux swaying back and forth with his accordian, for some odd reason).

The second act was to be The subdudes. My girlfriend had good things about them. I, however am not familiar with them or their music.

But an HOUR after BeauSoleil had finished their encore, we were still sitting there watching the roadies get the stage ready. We were sitting up in the balcony and the crowd on the floor didn’t seem to mind the wait. I think most of them had been wandering around Little Five Points watching the earlier outdoor shows and getting drunk. And after all, it was for a good cause and all. We considered our $50 ticket contributions sufficient support for this particular endeavor and left at that point.

I experienced a pleasant exception to this yesterday at the Across the Narrows Festival in NYC. All the set starting and ending times were listed on their website two days in advance, and amazingly they kept to them within 5 minutes. They did have the 30 minute gap between acts, which was only needed a couple of times, but at least you knew it was 30 minutes beforehand and could go wander around and such.

I was very surprised because usually festivals fall hopelessly behind by the end of the day, due to bands running over their times by 10 minutes and it adding up to quite a lot.

Good grief. the subdudes I used to know had guitar, bass, accordion, and the drummer playing a tambourine with a brush. It’s about as minimal as you can get for a four-piece.

The worst delay I experienced was when we went to see the Dixie Dregs (the old-old dixie dregs) at the old Ritz (the old-old Ritz) in NYC. They took forever. All our pot was gone and what we smoked was wearing off. Our backs were killing us from standing around for so long. Finally someone heaved a bottle which broke on the stage. Yeah that’ll get them out there. They finally came out and did their set but everybody was ready for beddy-bye at that point.

Moved to CS.

-xash
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