I’ve been to enough concerts at this point in my life that the schedule of a show is pretty predictable. Gone are the days of rock bands coming on stage an hour a half late, completely trashed and playing three-hour sets. This largely has to do with restrictions on venue curfews and contractually required set list lengths, where bands just don’t have the same artistic freedom that they used to.
The encore is an opportunity for the band to move away from the usual program. Sometimes they take a unique approach to one of their well-known songs, play covers of their favourite artists, but almost always save their best for last. Encores were traditionally spontaneous and not a guaranteed portion of the set, which makes it ironic that encores are now the most looked forward to part of the performance. Bands almost always leave the biggest fan favourites for the very end to leave audiences buzzing on that concert high.
So how did we get here? How have encores become an integrated part of the set that we scream and cheer for relentlessly, knowing the band is just standing beside some brooms and wires in the wings of the stage, waiting for their cue to come back on?