I’ve been to a lot of gigs over the years (probably too many) and something that has always stuck out to me is the obsession which bands have – this obsession is the consistent need to do an ‘encore’. An encore, to me, appears to be a way in which artists can guarantee that concert-goers stay to the end of the show as they are waiting in anticipation to hear their favourite, or more likely most popular, song. But is there really any need for an encore, when those attending usually idolise the artist they are watching and in reality probably know every single word of every song being sung?
Over the past few years, I have been a huge fan of Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, a band whose frontman Frank Carter notably wears his heart on his sleeve and isn’t afraid to point out ‘flaws’ of the music industry and entertainment scene. Carter has had a huge influence on the importance of not only the health and safety of his fans, including his work with the charity Safe Gigs for Women, but his acknowledgement that encores are basically pointless.
An encore, for many, is the most exciting part of the show due to the increasing buildup that forms throughout the gig as they wait for their favourite song to play so they can sing their heart out. On the other hand, many audience members (like myself) prefer bands to perform a wider range of their songs throughout the entirety of the gig, mixing up the expectations we may hold.
When I used to attend more than one date of a bands tour I used to notice the increasingly monotonous nature due to the fact that the encore of their setlist would always be the same. The lack of difference became much more noticeable and the repetitive nature of the same three encore songs would begin to loose the spontaneous and free feeling of the gig environment that I loved.
It could be argued that perhaps encores are only necessary for the festival scene, where crowds flock together to experience their favourite songs by the biggest bands on the planet who are known for one mega-hit, with their other songs going by as only known by their fans.
As the title of this article states, do we really need encores? Or are encores beginning to make gigs become repetitive and stale? Perhaps bands should save the encores for the big festival crowds?