“I don’t know anything about music. In my line, you don’t have to.”

Elvis Presley

Friday night Shelley and I enjoyed the company of good music. One of our favorite music groups, Snow Patrol, was in town. It had been a few months since my last concert … and so, too, it had also been a few months since I had an irrational bout with one of my bizarre pet peeves: the purported conclusion to a concert followed by the requisite encore(s).

Before I go any further, let me first say that the concert was outstanding. Going to a great concert is always exhilarating. It’s even better when you know the songs well enough to sing along and notice when something special is done. This was one of those events for us.

So back to the encore … “Thanks so much for coming out. This is our last song!” So was the counterfeit declaration of Mr. Gary Lightbody, Snow Patrol’s frontman.

Ohhhhh really? Really Gary? Is that so? Or are you just saying that to let us know that you are going to momentarily step off the stage, keep the house lights off, and wait until people start wondering if the concert is really over?

Concert after concert, this happens. Why is it that we must engage in this charade? So many questions flood my mind. Why is the encore mandatory? Why is it assumed? And what are they doing backstage? Are they just chit-chatting? Enjoying a beverage? Are they having a laugh?

When Shelley and I went and saw Prince a few years ago, not only did he do three (count them once, twice, and thrice!) encores—he made us wait nearly twenty minutes for the first one. That’s right. Twenty eternal minutes of sitting there clapping. In the dark.


That’s ridiculous.

It’s not that I don’t want to hear my favorite bands play more music—I just don’t have an appreciation for the liturgy of events that includes the false pretense that the show is really coming to an end. “Thank you for coming out! Have a good night.” I would have gladly clapped in the dark for you Gary. But I knew what was coming…whether I wanted it or not.

So I took the chance to sit back, rest my legs, and—of course—prepare to sing along.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Product + Content Marketing at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.