At every concert I have been to ever, there has been an encore. An excruciating, ongoing, when-will-it-ever-end experience. Each time I’m forced to wonder, is it over? Will the band play for another hour? Who can tell? In a sure effort to take our sense of understanding social norms, the encore has effectively taken away certainness; the only thing it promotes is that encores don’t make sense. Sure the band/singer/comedian might be incredibly amazing, that’s why I showed up in the first place. But why can we not go to good shows that also follow schedules? It’s simple common courtesy.
I’ve never been much of a concert dweller … much to Manny’s dismay (I’m assuming; he has yet to complain). I’m too short and have never heard of 90% of bands. While it’s true I’ve enjoyed every concert he’s taken me to, it’s also true that I spent each evening craning my neck for a better view of stranger backs. (In contrast, I absolutely love any concert that allows guests to stay seated in an assigned and cushioned seat for the entirety of its showing.) Add in one of my all-time hatreds, the encore, and it’s enough to turn me off of the event altogether.
Why do I hate these encores so much?
5. It’s a stolen word.
Meaning “again” in French, it’s a word we flat-out hijacked from their vocabulary. And it doesn’t even make sense in English. ON-core, not EN-core – couldn’t we have come up with something more American-y?
4. It’s a product of rude behavior.
Way back in the very first concerts, audience members decided they’d clap and hoot and holler until the performers came back for more. “That will show them how great they are,” they thought. Except it really just makes the artists work harder/longer. Nowhere on those original stone-carved tickets did it say extra songs were included with the price, folks just thought they’d be greedy and turned getting more than they paid for into a social norm.
3. It’s confusing.
It’s not the extra songs/jokes I dislike, it’s the uncertainty – the sheer stress of having no idea what’s happening next in life. When can I put my coat on? Do I have to keep clapping? (Clapping makes my hands itch.) Is it rude to start halfway to the door, then listen to the last bits? Why does it take some performers multiple minutes to come back – it’s a tease that the encore won’t actually take place. And why is there no set encore length? Some play three songs, some stick to two, while others have a one-and-done attitude.
2. It’s expected.
Anymore, any performer pretty much knows their show is going to last an extra five(ish) minutes. In fact, they now plan for it, which really doesn’t make it impromptu at all, it makes it the world’s shortest intermission. Some upper class operas have banned encores altogether (bravo), but for the other 98% of stage dwellers, encores are simply seen as part of the show.
1. It makes people lie.
How many times have we heard “This is the last song,” and been forced to give the lead singer a wink. “OK, we respond. This is ‘the last’ song. We’ll play along.” But then demand more once they’ve stated the show is done. The artists, however, give fans what they ask for, turning themselves into liars. Programs, too, which list sets, turn into libel forms of souvenirs. It’s like the last act never even happened.
If I was a performer, I’d have a “no encore” clause in every contract. I might even make an announcement, that no matter how long fans cheered, it wasn’t going to happen. Then, they could applause to their hearts’ content, or be smart about it, and leave as soon as the curtain closed the first and only time. They’d simply collect their belongings, line up, and leave – like I’ve always wanted to.
Imagine the peace we’d all feel, the sense of closure, and most of all – a better appreciation for time management.