Last night the audience stood and cheered Dana Carvey as his stand-up routine ended. It didn’t look like anyone was leaving, but the credits rolled over them and I wondered, “Do stand-up comics do encores?”
That got me thinking of encores in pop/rock music and how cliché they’ve become. I cannot think of a show I’ve attended without an encore. And while the requisite two or three bonus tracks may not be on the set list, my guess is most are pre-determined. Yeah, there’s the occasional audible called at the line of scrimmage, but most “encores” are textbook; maybe one deep catalog dive and a couple fan favorites. Of course Sloan’s show in Cambridge a couple weeks back included requests and audience members singing, but that’s Sloan…
Back in the seventies when I began frequenting the old Boston Garden for shows, fans really built up the noise and illuminated their desires with thousands of tiny flames, but today fans mail in their applause and fire laws prohibit any flashes of want. Lighters have become cell phones and most encores these days are expected, pre-measured formula. In the history of modern music, Elvis stands out for not doing them. When the King did the last song of a set, it was over, hence the post title.
Have you ever been to a show that didn’t have an encore?