Stop the Scripted Encores, Already!

Brody Vercher | December 19th, 2007

  • Mike Osegueda is tired of predictable and lame encores. He’s sick of the fake suspense and thinks the ticket buyers deserve a little unscripted magic. Make it a real encore.

    Here’s a tip: If the lights don’t go up when the band leaves the stage, there’s gonna be an encore. Doesn’t matter how loud you squeal or how crazily you wave your cell phone. If it’s on the schedule, it’s happening. That’s the world of big concerts these days. Everything is cookie-cutter. Sure, some people put on authentic shows or give the audience little off-the-cuff glimpses, but for the most part even the banter is scripted.

  • Country Universe kicked off the second part of their “The Fifty Best Singles of 2007” series with numbers 40-31–and also announced the gold status, or 500,000 mark, for page views. Keep on truckin’.
  • George Strait’s 50 Number Ones has been certified double-platinum for shipments of 3.5 million.
  • Blake Shelton had time for some good natured ribbing on the CMT Blog before his Clash of the Choirs TV shows a couple of nights ago and threw in some news for you Miranda buffs.

    Earlier today Miranda and I went shopping. She was looking for something green to wear tonight since my choir, Team Shelton, will be dressed in green. She took me to the meat-packing district and lured me into Bloomingdales promising that there would be a Bass Pro Shop. I saw some camo, but it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for.

  • According to Snoop Dogg, Johnny Cash was a rapper. His s**t was dope and his song “A Boy Named Sue” sounds gangster. Snoop is set to release a new album in March of ’08 and revealed that he’d like to pay respect to Johnny Cash by including one of his songs on the album. Let’s put aside for a minute whether it’s a good idea or not and think about what Cash song you’d most like Snoop to cover.
  • Also expected to have a new album out in March of ’08 is Jeff Bates, who recently signed a new record deal with Black River.
  • Nielsen SoundScan posted their year-end country song chart and Rodney Atkins didn’t do too shabby. He ended up with the most played song of the year with “Watching You” and the No. 4 song with “These Are My People”.
  • Merle Haggard says the arrangement of a song means nothing.

    I got out of the bus the other day, and there was a black couple standin’ there and they had a little girl in their arms. And when I stepped out of the bus, the little girl said, “Is that the man that sings ‘Big City’?’ ” She didn’t know my name, didn’t care about my name. All she wanted to know…was that the guy that sang the song she liked. And I think that’s the way the majority of people are. The song is what matters, and the singer is way down the list of priority of being important.

  • Chuck Wicks’ “Stealing Cinderella” was the fastest rising single from a debut artist in 2007. His album will be released in lat January.
  • Earl Scruggs scored himself a Lifetime Achievement Grammy.
  • Gary Allan talks about the evolution of his sound and says that he’s going to see how far he can push the envelope. I’m sure his die-hard fans will follow him wherever he goes, but in the process he’ll alienate others. But hey, good music is good music, right?
  • Check out the newest blog from the CMT crew. It’s called CMT Lifestyles and they write about food, travel, fitness, pets, and fashion with a splash of country mixed in to keep it relevant. I’m half tempted to whip me up one of them chess pies.
  1. Matt C.
    December 19, 2007 at 10:43 am

    The encore thing is one of my biggest pet peeves. If I had my way, enxores would be very rare and usually unplanned. The most ridiculous thing is when an artist with one hit plays a set of album cuts and then the lights go down and everybody “wonders” if the artist is going to come back to play the one song that people will recognize. Encores should be reserved for shows that are truly remarkable, but it seems to have become an obligatory part of the concert. Everybody does it.

  2. Kelly
    December 19, 2007 at 11:51 am

    Worse yet is the artist that comes out and does only covers. Ultimately, I dont have a strong feeling one way or another. It is just a part of it. I am not saying that we shouldnt debate it, or that a new possible alternative isn’t worth discussing. I am simply saying this is how it is, and since we know an “encore” will be happening, whats the problem with waiting to hear the one hit from a person that has only one hit that they might be saving?

  3. Chris N.
    December 19, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    Whoever wrote that Gary Allan thing is a damn genius!

  4. Chris N.
    December 19, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    Oh, and I think Snoop should do “Ballad of a Teenage Queen.”

  5. Kelly
    December 19, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    Was the Gary Allen interview done before his “speaking out” on oprah like 8 months ago?

  6. Kelly
    December 19, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    Sorry, misspelled Allan, my bad….

  7. Kevin
    December 19, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    My favorite encore at a concert was Trisha Yearwood at Westbury a few years ago. She finished the standard set list with “How Do I Live”, and then she said, “So, I’m feeling a bit lazy. Can we all just pretend that we left the stage, you cheered, and I came back, and we’ll just do three more songs for ya right now?”

    My pet peeve with “encores” is artists who force one by not singing their biggest hit, so the crowd is still waiting to hear a big one.

  8. Chris N.
    December 19, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    @Kelly: That refers to his returning to actively doing press. During the last three years he gave (to my knowledge) only two quasi-interviews: ‘Oprah’ and a bylined piece for People, both carefully controlled environments.

  9. Lucas
    December 19, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    If a headliner didn’t do the encore, everybody would be ticked off.

    Opening acts don’t need one though!

  10. Brody Vercher
    December 19, 2007 at 5:27 pm

    Kelly – I don’t think there is necessarily a problem with waiting for that one big hit in the “encore,” but it seems rather silly for the artist to exit the stage when everyone knows he/she is coming back. It’s all so contrived.

    Chris – Peter Cooper did a pretty extensive interview with him recently, too.

    Lucas – Your probably right, but people shouldn’t feel entitled to an encore. I’m sure Hank Williams’ six encores at the Grand Ole Opry wouldn’t have been as magical had they been expected/pre-planned into the show.

  11. Brody Vercher
    December 19, 2007 at 5:38 pm

    Oh yea, and what about “I Got Stripes” or “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town” for the Cash cover? I say anything but “Folsom Prison Blues”.

  12. Hollerin' Ben
    December 19, 2007 at 5:46 pm

    the scripted encore thing is a lose/lose for everyone. If a big act doesn’t do it, the crowd is dissapointed, but if they do come back out for an encore, there’s nothing special. Basically, by forcing “encores”, they killed any possiblity for a real encore.

    Foregoing just trying to be funny, 25 minutes to go might be cool for Snoop Dizzle.

  13. patrick
    December 20, 2007 at 1:05 pm

    The encore story reminds me of a NY Times article from a few years back that stuck with me: “The Tyranny of the Standing Ovation”. It’s about the theater instead of music venues, but the parallels are strong:

    “Whatever the motivation, the effect of the rampant increase in standing ovations has been accompanied by — as with any other form of inflation — a decrease in value. If almost every performance receives one, then it ceases to be a meaningful compliment — and actors who don’t get one cease to be able to console themselves.

    “Have we really reached the point in this crazy mixed-up world where even thunderous applause means nothing unless delivered from a standing position? Even actors — who never met a fan they didn’t like — say that in an age when everything is worthy of the highest accolade, it’s hard to tell how much an audience actually likes you.”

  14. Brody Vercher
    December 20, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    Ben – That would be a good one.

    Patrick – “Decrease in value,” that’s the term I was looking for. Thanks for the insightful comment.

  15. Peter Kohan
    December 20, 2007 at 2:57 pm

    Staged encores only work for me if there is something dramatic to usher the encore in. I was a big hard rock/heavy metal fan growing up in the 80s and attended a ton of arena shows. So even though you knew AC/DC was going to do their three-song encore set of “Hells Bells,” “Highway to Hell,” and “For Those About to Rock, We Salute You” the drama was that with the lights down and the crowd going crazy that first peal of the bell in “Hell’s Bells” would drive you completely insane. Similarly, when Judas Priest came back for their first encore it would be “Hell Bent For Leather,” with the revving of Rob Halford’s Harley signaling the crowd.

    What’s completely unecessary with an encore is when the act leaves the stage and then just returns with no fanfare. The band just puts their instruments back on and cranks into a hit. For some acts this is ample enough because of the nature of the encore. It might be an anthemic number with a signature opening riff. But more often than not, with that type of lazy, ambling back onto the stage, the act denies the audience a sense of “I am so high from the music – TAKE ME HIGHER” where that act can leave the fans awestruck, instead of just happy. The act doesn’t take the invitation from the fans to give them a moment even higher than the one when the lights go down and the crowd roars in anticipation of the opening number. Not only are the lights down and the crowd aching for more, but they’ve heard your entire show and they are begging to be thrilled AGAIN. The audience is at least owed some kind of drama at that stage of the evening.

  16. Stephen H.
    January 1, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    I think Snoop should cover “One Piece at a Time,” and change some of the lyrics so that it’s a pimped-out ride that happens to be a car constructed over 25 years.

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