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Monday, July 23, 2007

Two Musical Traditions I Don't Understand


There's little I enjoy more than a live musical performance, but the tradition of the encore is one aspect of the experience that I wish would go away. I hate the ritual of waiting several minutes after the "last" song of the night, clapping like a maniac, just to hear two or three more songs. The reason I hate this is because I know that they know that I know that they know that they will be playing this encore. (Still with me?)

It would be one thing if the show really was intended to be over, and the band had played all the songs they had planned to play, but the audience just needed a little more. That kind of encore would be honest and meaningful. (A true encore such as this actually happened at a Tally Hall show I attended, and it was an incredible experience.)

But I can't stand the empty meaninglessness of most encores. A band should play all the songs they are planning to play in one go, no pretenses or expectations, and then they should get off the stage.

"Secret" songs

It used to be a clever and novel thing to "hide" an unlisted additional track at the end of a
CD. When this was a new trend, the secret song was kind of cool. But now, let's face it, the trick isn't new, and it's a little annoying. It's especially annoying when the secret song isn't a track of its own, but is tagged several minutes onto the end of the preceding song, so you can't skip right to it without holding down the damn seek button. And even if the secret song is a track of its own, the track number is often much higher than the last song track, so you have to skip, skip, skip, and keep on skipping tracks until you finally make it. Annoying. And if you've ever fallen asleep to a CD that has a secret track, and then been frightened awake after the silence ends and the secret song begins, then you probably hate secret songs as much as I do. No one likes being frightened awake. So bands should just cut it out already.

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