Len Feshkens replies:
>It's a cliche (i.e., a timeworn truth) within the the pop music business,
>at every level from touring megahit bands to cover bands playing in bars,
>that most audiences want to hear they stuff they know and like. It
>doesn't matter how good you are, you don't get invited back if you play
I'm not so sure this is always true. In fact, both of my most enjoyable
and fondly-remembered rock concerts are counterexamples. One featured
Van Morrison and his band, plus Joe Cocker, Mad Dogs and Englishmen
(under Leon Russell, of course). That was in San Francisco in the very
late 60s, maybe early days of the '70s; I knew both marginally, through
radio play of a couple of hit songs. No doubt they played them that
night, and they were richly enjoyed, but the resonance of those performances
then, as now, doesn't hang on that. Rather, it was those bands' soundworld,
the musical space they created and drove home which enthralled. (I think
that concert cost all of $6 -- and also included a third group, It's a
The Allman Brothers (with Duane) did much the same for me in the early
70s, in concert on Nun's Island, in Montreal. Memories of Elizabeth
Reed was their big radio hit, but that to me was the gate-crasher, the
means to get you to the concert and into their musical world.
Then again, maybe these concerts and pop music proper aren't quite the
same. Notwithstanding the great fun hit Gloria, Van Morrison and the
others were, to me, more than pop musicians. It strays too far to draw
arcane distinctions from the 70s between underground FM music and boppy
AM, so let's get back to Larry's original note, where he'd said he was:
>...constantly trying to balance programming between things that the
>audience is familiar with, and introducing them to new music.
To extrapolate from my concert experiences above, then, my inclination
would be that it might help to play something familiar, but it's not as
necessary as captivating your audience with some rich sound-world in a
program, and to provide a consistent musical continuity of some kind.
Say, playing some Sibelius followed by a piece by his musical 'grandson'
Rautavaara. Or a program offering some Bartok plus works by Rozsa and
Ginastera, say, who drank from that source. And so forth...