Sunday, October 14, 2007

Play the Music, Not the Audience

Went to see Wilco last night at the Crossroads. Fantastic show - great opening act, lively crowd, gorgeous evening, cool venue, and even a fireworks display. Awesome, and a hell of a lot cheaper than the old man who entertained the bigwigs at the Sprint Center.

But, while we're on the topic of fireworks, I resent it when bands do bogus encores. An encore is supposed to be an extra segment of performance inspired by the spirit of the evening - not a scheduled, routine opportunity to extort extended applause and reduce the audience to beggars.

Wilco walked off the stage for the first time after barely an hour of music. Just to make sure we didn't all just chalk it up to a lazy band, a roadie went out on the stage and gestured for more noise.

After a few more well-rehearsed, tightly performed songs, Wilco abandoned the stage again, and again the roadie/cheerleader came out to make us beg for the performance we had paid for. After a few minutes of the charade, out came the band again, for a few more well-rehearsed, tightly performed songs. Only this time, they set off fireworks at the end!

So, am I supposed to believe that they had set up an entire fireworks show, with grand finale, but they weren't going to set if off if the audience members hadn't inspired them with its enthusiasm? Around the time that we were treated to the rockets' red glare, I realized the show was about as spontaneous as a symphony.

The show was great - the band was on - the performances were snappy and professional. I'm glad I went, and it was probably the best concert I've seen in years. But don't play me for a fool with faux encores anymore, okay?

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Blogger sophia said...

I was at that show, too. It's been years since I've seen what looked like a spontaneous encore, but that really was over the top. All the lines about being the best crowd they'd had on the tour, and how the crowd mood was infectious seemed pretty canned too. I'd say the only sincere crowd interaction moment came when Tweedy told that lady that she won, she had the loudest scream he'd ever heard. Which was pretty funny.

10/14/2007 12:34 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

I agree with Sophia. It's just part of the deal. And I don't care as long as they come out play like they care and sound great. They did all that, so I was supremely pleased.

10/14/2007 10:33 PM  
Blogger Ambitious Fledgling said...

Have you not been to enough concerts Dan? They ALL do that... Blah on them, and I agree.

10/14/2007 11:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After seeing Wilco numerous times, I feel the encores are part of the show . Almost like Acts in a stage show. Different encores, different energies. I have listened to numerous shows on this tour and haven't heard any canned banter...I think Jeff Tweedy tells it like it is when on stage. They always make you feel like you spent your $ well when you see them live.

10/15/2007 12:37 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

i haven't been to a show with a spontaneous encore in my entire life.
that said, i've seen wilco 10+ times and saturday night's performance was once of the best i've seen. it was a fun night and the fireworks were a fun surprise.

10/15/2007 2:32 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Alright - you young whipper-snappers needed to be around back in the day, back when bands came out and tried to figure out what song to play next, then everyone would clap and go home in our Model T's.

(This thread has convinced me that the good old days are dead, and I'd better get used to fakery from even the good bands.) It WAS a great show - and if everyone else is okay with bogus encores, who am I to complain?

10/15/2007 2:46 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Good for you! I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks after all.

10/15/2007 4:48 PM  
Anonymous Brooksider said...

Didn't see either concert but little in business is left to chance these days, and whether it is Wilco or Elton it is show 'business'. The techie begging for audience response is just sad but not that far from signs flashing for Applause in a TV studio. What’s next – fake laughter at crap that’s not funny?

10/15/2007 5:14 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

you old grump. we still love you.

10/15/2007 9:22 PM  
Anonymous Sunshine said...

I wish encores were more of a surprise instead of an expected part of the show. Oh well.

After reading your entry and the comments, I really wish I'd gone to the show...but life got in the way.

10/15/2007 9:42 PM  

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