There’s a Reason Rock Concerts Suck
My first concert was in 1992. Skid Row & Soundgarden at the Palmer Auditorium (best concert venue ever IMHO) They could've come out & farted into the mic and I would've squealed with 15 year old excitement. Nowadays, I expect more. It takes a lot more to get me out. I'm more jaded and judging by most of the crowds I see at rock shows, so are you.
I went to see Florida Georgia Line last night at The iWireless Center (my 8 year old daughter loves them...don't judge me). A few things struck me as being vastly different than the normal rock show that blows through town.
A Sold Out Show?
FGL (as the Florida Georgia Line fans call them) was at or near capacity. It's rare to see a rock band get that kind of support these days. Sure, you've got your Metallica's & Pearl Jam's that can still pack the house...but for your average show...it's the "theater" setting (which halves the place) and still doesn't fill it.
Opening Bands Actually Put on a Great Show?
Here's a crazy thought: how about the opening act actually "warm up" the crowd! That's supposedly their job. Instead, we see a band being stunted by partial stage use & minimal lighting. Many times, the PA mix is off. The sound is crap for the opening band, so that by comparison...the headliner sounds that much better (therefore more deserving of your attention/money, right?).
Last night, not only did the opening acts get full access to the "ego ramp" into the crowd...but one even had drums on a riser & their own lights on stage! Their own catwalk behind the drummer?!?! Can you believe such a thing exists? I mean, these guys probably felt like they were welcome on stage. Shouldn't this be closer to a freshman hazing than rock star status? I mean...how are they expecting me to make a beer run if there's a real show going on?
Country's ability to reach into different genres played a big part in last nights show. One of the opening bands actually did a medley of "crowd pleasers". NO WAY would an opening band for a rock show be able to pull that off. Especially, when the headliner (FGL) planned to do the same thing later in the night! (bad idea, btw...it totally fell flat)
Headlining Rock Bands>>>Don't set up your "support act" to fail!!
Intermission Music Was Fun
Instead of playing the 2nd side of your favorite New Wave of British Heavy Metal album...perhaps play songs that jazz the place up and create a party atmosphere. The head roadie's iPod on shuffle doesn't work. There has to be more thought put into it! It's not just background music for us to sit and wait for the band to grace us with their presence. Let's create an atmosphere! An EVENT!
Sure...a FGL crowd is more open to more genres of music than a typical rock crowd. So, there are more options on the table. They were able to throw in party songs from the pop world, country world and one performer even shut the lights out & blasted You Shook Me All Night Long before hitting the stage. You play Flo Rida "My House" before a Megadeth concert, you're going to confuse people...so I understand country acts have a leg up in this category...but rockers still need to step up the intermission music game.
Look...I'm not jumping to the dark side by any means. I'm still a rock guy at heart. But, watching 5 dudes on stage jamming their own songs isn't enough anymore. Your audience is are "snapping" and "chatting" or whatever those youngens do...they're doing it while you're on stage. You have to do something to keep their attention so they walk away feeling like their dollars were well spent.
We gotta step up our game, folks! Next time a big country act is in town. Go see it. You'll see what a rock show COULD/SHOULD be!! In the meantime, I'll still go to rock shows...but it probably won't be as fun as Florida Georgia Line.