8 Things An Audience Wants

Going to see a performer live in a big venue is a big commitment of time and money. It’s expensive nowadays with an average concert ticket starting at over $50.00 (plus service charges). If you buy a bottle of water, that’s another $5.00… beer or wine? $10.00. Oh, and you want a t-shirt too? That’ll be another $40.00. Parking costs if it’s local, hotel costs if it’s farther away. Yikes!! Before you know it, you are $150.00 - $300.00 in for the evening and this is just a starting price - some tickets can start at $150 or more.

And so, performers…. we DO expect to get some value for the money and time we are investing in our special evening out. 

Being musicians and lovers of all kinds of music, my husband and I have gone to see a few rock legends over the past few years: 

The Eagles 
Steve Miller Band 
Journey 
The Doobie Brothers 
Bare Naked Ladies 
Heart 
Sting 
James Taylor (just Kim) 
Rush (just Jim) 
Blue Rodeo 
ZZ Top 
  
There is always something to learn from watching pros work their craft but I wish someone would tell them what we as an audience are really hoping for when we take the time and spend our hard earned money to go and see them live. The Eagles really got it right and we are so happy we got to see them the last time they came through Vancouver as it turns out, this was the last time they will ever tour now that Henley is gone. Coming back from the ZZ Top concert last night, Jim and I were talking about why the show was just kind of “meh" for us and here is what we came up with: 

1) TALK to the audience! We want to hear your stories and learn something new about you we couldn’t find out on your Wikipedia page. 

2) Have some visually interesting components to your show. Yes, yes, it’s all about the music but if you are only going to stand there the whole night, please give us some interesting things to look at in the background to add to the experience. 

3) Perform with energy. Sure, it’s a job and some nights you might not really feel like being there but we only get to see you once so please put everything you have into the experience or have your tour manager put you on a less aggressive tour schedule. 

4) Dress like you are a professional (okay… this is just MY opinion and is a personal pet peeve but too many rockers dress like they could be any old schmo waiting to catch a bus.) Dress up for your show with an element of professionalism - the days of grubby jeans and t-shirts is long past. This isn't as much of an issue for pop performers but it sure is for most rockers.
 
5) Connect with the other people in your band. We want to see the camaraderie that you share with everyone in your band and feel that musical connection on stage. 

6) Tell us something you enjoyed about OUR town. We know you arrived at least the day before. Did you go anywhere? What struck you about where we live? Again, we want to connect with you. 

7) Tell us some background on a few of your songs. What was your inspiration? Sure, we want to hear your music, but we want some inside information too!

8) For the love of GOD, please invest in good sound equipment and set your mix so we can HEAR your vocals clearly! In this day and age, we don’t need to have our eardrums bleeding in order to fully experience your sound and have been to shows where the sound has been fantastic and not physically painful. Suffering for days from an audio hangover isn’t a fun souvenir from your show. 

We love your music but if all we wanted was to listen to it, we could play a CD or pull it up on YouTube in the comfort of our own home. The reason we come to see you in concert is because we want to feel more connected to YOU. Please, please make it your priority not just to perform your music but to connect with us!

1 comment

  • Dave C.

    Dave C.

    Very well put. I've played in a few bands and it has always irritated me that the musicians think just playing the songs is the whole game. No matter whether the audience paid to "see" your band or not they came to "see a show". As you stated" if all we wanted was to listen... we could play a CD...". And bands, enough of "the pros can do it because their pros" is a stupid thing to say. They got to be pros because they "do it". If your bandmates need to fiddle with stomp box settings and tunings between each song and are too scared to talk with the audience either they should buy better gear or learn to use it properly and man-up. The audience wishes they could be up there performing, have fun along with them.

    Very well put. I've played in a few bands and it has always irritated me that the musicians think just playing the songs is the whole game. No matter whether the audience paid to "see" your band or not they came to "see a show". As you stated" if all we wanted was to listen... we could play a CD...". And bands, enough of "the pros can do it because their pros" is a stupid thing to say. They got to be pros because they "do it". If your bandmates need to fiddle with stomp box settings and tunings between each song and are too scared to talk with the audience either they should buy better gear or learn to use it properly and man-up. The audience wishes they could be up there performing, have fun along with them.

Add comment

Voice Teacher Kelowna specializing in singing, public speaking, spoken word and acting coaching