Hi there again. In all my years of doing this job I can't help noticing one thing in particular. Long 5 to 6 hour gigs tend to drag on not just for me, but for the guests too. Sometimes particularly weddings seem to have to go on depending on the venue and set up situation. But if you can keep cool and restrict our performance to 4 hours or better still say 3 hours, what you will get is focused attention!
Time and time again I've done long sprawling 5 to 6 or even longer gigs where the crowd knows I'm there for ever and a day and they don't pay much attention until the last hour or even worse the last half hour!
Then guess what? I've been on my feet for hours and and looking forward to the end vs. The crowd suddenly doesn't want anything of the sort! Sometimes they are able to pay me to go on for extra time and I have to take a deep breath and psych myelf up again, but more often than not the staff at the venue are also anxious to get away and the owner is thinking of the neighbours and his licence restrictions. The bolder and sometimes more drunk members of the party are insisting on one more song after one more song (even after the encore) and I am having to be a kill joy and refuse! Not a role that I relish, being who and what I am..
So here's the other side of the coin: This usually happens when it a dinner dance or wedding and the dinner part runs hopelessly over time. I get a 3 hour window or maybe a 2 hour wondow to get everyone up and dancing their arses off. Attention becomes much more focused on both sides. I have to fill the floor from the get go and the crowd can't spend hours and hours wasting time outside sitting about by the waterfall/walking to the car/hanging out in their bedroom/smoking/having sex in the toilets/fighting/taking drugs/insert your activity here... What they do is stick around and get their request in before it's all over! And the result? Full floor from start to finish. Tonnes more atmosphere, Better sounding compact performance with no time for long introspective musical journeys for me or a small clique of guests ie: There is no time to play those tracks which empty the floor for the sake of one or two people.
I don't know if it will ever happen this way as I'm just one bloke and this system is ingrained now for better or worse. What I am saying is that quality beats the hell out of quantity everytime and you being the booker have the power to change it to just that. Remember that timeless saying in entertainment? "Allways leave them wanting more".
Until next time, all the best,