There seems to be a growing trend in concert goers that THINK they own the show. The experience is their personal right to have the perfect show and evening. The band is playing for them alone. The culture of selfies and preferred venue placement at the front of the stage has ruined many shows. I don’t go to these kind of shows, where you pay extra to be closer to the band. I think a show should be a moving and free thing, where everyone has the chance to get close to the stage. I also don’t think the audience is that entitled. It’s a mutual trust relationship between you and the band, a reciprocation of band and audience. There is respect involved.
What Happened to MY Song?
We have all been going to gigs for years now. You know the ritual. For weeks before the show, you play all the bands albums and 12 inch singles. You remember and practice all the lyrics so that when your song is played, you can belt it, baby.
The concert is going great, the band are mostly playing new stuff you may not know so well. They have been touring for 3 months in the US and Canada, 20 cities. You sadly are on the West Coast and one of the last places the band is playing. Sometimes that means the band is pretty exhausted by the time they get to your town.
The concert is nearly over. They have played a few of their hits, but not really that anthem you have been waiting for. Then it’s over, and they didn’t play it. You leave, people are grumbling about it. “They didn’t play our song.” Then take to Twitter for a shit parade on how bad it was that their song did not get played.
Back when I was a kid and going to punk shows, the audience would start throwing things. And sometimes the band was the one that started throwing things, because the audience was rude. I don’t know about you, but I really don’t enjoy that experience, didn’t at the time. I just wanted to dance. I certainly don’t want it happening now.
Stop whining. The band has had to play 20 cities and sometimes 2 shows per city, maybe 3. That could be 40+ shows. Plus any appearances on TV and in Record shops, and any festival they may have added on to. They have played their whole catalog of whatever music is playable to an audience. What does that mean? Not every song translates well to various venues, or especially outdoor concerts. Sound is always key, and depending on the place it’s being played in and the sound quality of that hall or venue, and equipment, some songs will not translate well. The music may become distorted, if really audible at all. An audience of 20k outdoors is no small feat. Certain songs just won’t do well for an outdoor gig.
After the band has played a few cities, they also need to change up their sets. Some bands will stick to sets and make small changes, the musicians really prefer to keep to a set. Others are notorious for changing the set to fit the venue or area, which can be good for you. In the US that translates to from state to state, East Coast, West Coast, the tastes of the audience are reflective of the place they are in. They are still fans of the band, but it’s a local custom to react differently than say in San Francisco. If the band is traveling through Europe, and you are traveling and lucky enough to catch them there, they may have experience with a German audience and how they like their concerts, and in Spain or France, it’s a whole different thing with their cultures. There is a lot to consider. Just enjoy the show and experience.
Music and Politics
Some bands are flexible, some are not. Irish Punk or hard metal groups will probably not have patience for this: You getting up to the stage and requesting songs, like they are a wedding DJ. I have seen this at shows and just cringe. Some bands are good about how they handle it. You may get a serious confrontation if you get obnoxious about the music you want to hear. Bands still can throw things at audiences just as audiences sometime throw things at bands. There is always someone who tries this, and probably your ridiculous friend. Stop them.
I have seen some interesting ways song requests or political conflicts were handled by bands. Some very well done, diplomatic, and some right back in the persons face. There is also the possibility of band members talking about politics, something they may support as a band, or talking to the crowd about something that happened locally. I have heard some idiot in the crowd get confrontational with them. Bad idea. There have been shows that have been cancelled half way through because someone got into it with the band, and the band members decided to stop the show. And that was really not fair to the band and the other 1000 or more people there besides that one person.
Kindness Does Matter
Please be a responsible fan and an adult. Yes, I was sad I didn’t get to hear my song too, but there was probably a good reason for it, they were just tired of it after 40 shows. You would probably hate doing it that many times if you were playing it. So, play it on the way back home. Send them a responsible Tweet, “Great show, had hoped to hear (blank), but you guys are probably tired of it by now. But I really like your lyrics for that one.” Be good about it. Don’t make the band not want to come back. And don’t bash on Twitter about it. And if you are really, really nice about it, they may Tweet you back.