Do bands really think they are fooling us when they leave the stage at the “end” of their concert? We know your music, we know you haven’t yet played your number 1 hit, we know you’re coming back for an encore. We will clap for like 30 seconds and then there you are walking back on stage. It’ so predictable. It is so obvious. It is so overdone. I don’t even clap very hard at the fake ending of a show any more, and I definitely don’t shout, “We want more!!!! We want more!!!!!” I know it is all just a ploy. You’re going to come back out, weather or not we ask for it. It is all part of the game.
I bet back in the day an encore really meant something. I bet it was really genuine. All the artists really poured their hearts into the music and the fans could feel it. By the end of the show, everyone really wanted more. They couldn’t get enough; like a really delectable chocolate cake or a spine-tingling kiss. So the fans clapped, shouted and begged for more. Backstage the band, exhausted and spent, brainstormed and dug into their catalog and found a few old songs to satisfy the crowd. They had already played their number 1 hits and more. But that just wasn’t enough, the fans wanted it all. So the band really had to dig deep and pour their hearts into it. Back then you couldn’t half-ass an encore.
But nowadays, encores are expected. They are scheduled. And most of the time they don’t really feel very full-assed. And just like Santa Claus, I don’t believe in them anymore. When I was younger I could feel the magic. Santa was real. And even though it was anticipated, it was not expected. Every year it still felt like a surprise. Was Santa actually real? Was he really going to come to MY house with presents? Even the small amount of logic my young brain possessed told me, “No way!” But then on Christmas morning there were the gifts under the tree and the empty cookie plate next to the fireplace. Surely there was no better explanation than that it had truly been Santa himself!
But now my trust in the magic is gone. I know it was just my parents staying up late to scatter the presents under the tree (and obviously my dad eating the cookies, happily). Just like I also now know that the super special encore, seemingly scrounged up by the band to satisfy a chanting crowd, is nothing more than an act incorporated into the set. And just like I don’t ruin the magic for little kids who still believe in Santa Claus, I also don’t negate the joy the other fans experience during an encore. That’s why I still clap when the band leaves for the first time, but you can’t tell how hard, so it still looks like I believe in the magical power in my hands to lure them back on stage, but I know the truth. The magic is gone.