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19 September, 2006

Should be special

An article in the Guardian, and more so the subsequent comments, reflects my dislike of concert encores.

If a performance was stunning, and the audience was especially impressed, extended applause and an encore would be justified. An encore shouldn't be routine; if a band was planning to perform extra material anyway, I'd prefer it to be played as part of the main set, and avoid the almost hypocritical artifice.

I've attended several concerts at which bands haven't deserved effusive applause (in some cases they haven't received it, either, but played encores anyway). For that matter, I've attended concerts at which inattentive, noisy audiences haven't deserved encores – I'd have a lot more respect for bands which withheld them.

The only case I can recall (vicariously, via an unofficial recording) occurred on Transatlantic's last European tour, when exceptional applause in Tilburg inspired the band to give an unplanned rendition of Pink Floyd's 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond'. That was special, and meaningful in a way the usual tacit game between a band and audience simply isn't.

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