As any loyal concert-goer knows, there are certain things that work for artists, and others that we’d just as soon forget. Let’s be honest, this rings true even when seeing our favorite artists perform.
Now, as one of those aforementioned concert junkies, I’ve been compiling a mental list of these attributes and it’s about time I share them with music lovers and bands alike. Join us after the jump for a rundown of some of our personal DOs and DON’Ts for touring musicians, large and small.
One of the coolest shows/events that I’ve had the good fortune to attend was The Action Item’s Until It’s Over documentary tour. Using this tour as an example, it’s easy to deduce what works and what doesn’t work within concert touring.
The first cool thing was that the band had created and released a documentary, and they were making a tour out of it.
Lesson 1: Do something unique. Although organizing a tour is hard work all in itself, if you’re going to do it, make it something to remember. Your fans will appreciate it and it will stick out among the throngs of other local tours.
The second cool thing about this tour was that, because they wanted to give back to their fans in a real way, the tour consisted of a screening of the documentary, a Q&A, an acoustic performance, and a meet and greet (photos included). The icing on the cake? It was a true red carpet affair, for the fans as well as the entertainers, with an intimate cinema setting, rolled out red carpet, and fancy attire.
The band took the time to construct each evening with care, making sure fans got a glimpse into their world and were showed true appreciation. For me personally, this was one of the most intriguing, creative and impressive displays of passion and appreciation I’ve seen as a concert goer. Those are the type of memories you want to create.
Lesson 2: This is a band that had not – and hopefully never will – become complacent. In my experience, the moment you become complacent about anything for which you were once passionate, it’s time to change what you’re doing or stop. There’s nothing worse than seeing a band up on stage, doing the same old routine with no heart. One of the greatest things I learned from a creative writing professor was, “If you know the ending, so will your audience.” This applies to music as well. If you know all your skips, hops, and encores ahead of time, so will your audience.
Recently, I attended a Of Monsters and Men show in Boston. During one of the songs, a fan pulled out an Icelandic flag (the band’s native country) and began jumping up and down. When they noticed him, the band pulled the fan onstage, and he spent the next minute and a half bouncing around on stage. Do you think that guy went home and told the anyone who would listen about this awesome experience, how great the band was, and what it meant to him? You better believe he did.
Lesson 3: Appreciate your fans. No, really. This is the perfect time to apply another great rule of storytelling to your music. Show, don’t tell. It’s great to tell your fans that you appreciate them, but what’s even better is taking the time and creativity to show it in both unique and impromptu ways.
Let’s not forget folks, it’s all about the music, after all.
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