Why Do Bands Still Perform Encores?


Encores have become concert standard issue. Artists pencil in a big hit or two at the back end of their set list, walk off stage, wait for fans to shout for the encore, act surprised, play aforementioned hit songs in all their encore glory, rinse, repeat. So what killed the spontaneity of the encore?


Musical encores (the word is French for "again") date back to at least the 19th century, when bigwig aristocrats in concert halls would request a song to be played again, since recorded music wasn’t available. Encores would honor extraordinary classical musicians for extraordinary performances.

Encores would often also act as instant replays instead of bookending a concerto or opera—an orchestra might repeat a section of music that garnered audience applause in the middle of a concert.

And forget saving the hits: Encores played at the end of a show were often lackluster in comparison to the actual program. According to University of Missouri Professor of Music History Michael Budds, “In the fine arts tradition, a performer will put on an hour and a half show of grand proportions and difficult material while the encore will exist simply to please attendees.”


The tradition of encores also dates back to the early days of Broadway. Audiences would call back actors during curtain calls to take an extra bow, according to Middle Tennessee State University recording industry professor Paul Fischer. When singers and musicians caught up to theater in popularity, encores became a second performance at the end of a set. Acts would typically reprise a favorite song—that’s where the whole “again” part fits into the equation.


When rock concerts exploded in the 1960s and ‘70s, encores were saved for performances that deserved to be commended—held for momentous shows. Elvis Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker, refused to let the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll play encores to keep fans wanting more (the catchphrase “Elvis has left the building” originated as a reassurance that the rocker wouldn’t come back for an encore).

Another Elvis (Costello, the British proto-punk,) would have his manager blare loud white noise through venues’ loudspeakers to clear out fans hoping for an encore. In the 1970s, The Who would only encore when a show was “exceptional.” The Beatles didn’t play encores because of a necessity to book it after shows for fear of mobbing fans.


Former Washington Post columnist David Segal puts the blame for encores becoming cliché squarely on Bruce Springsteen. In a 2004 column, Segal stated, “It was the Boss who transformed the rock show into an iron-man event, playing four-hour marathons, staggering back to the stage with the E Street Band time and again, their sweat and stamina part of the spectacle.” That iron-man style—Bob Dylan has closed shows with four encores, and The Cure are known to have played up to five—took away from the spontaneity of the encore.

Encores are also pre-planned for logistical reasons: The Guardian says that the precise planning behind encores stems from the need to be “tailored to things like the curfew, contractually required set-list lengths and the fact that the encore has to be tied in with the lightning and computer visuals.”

Some bands embrace the encore ritual. Some hate it. New Order frontman Peter Hook compared playing a set to having sex—and the encore to “being forced to having another go after you’d had an orgasm.”

Why Are Mugshots Made Public Before a Suspect is Convicted by the Court?

Jennifer Ellis:

Several reasons.

1. Mugshots can help find people when they have absconded, or warn people when someone is out and dangerous. So there is a good reason to share some mugshots.

2. Our legal system requires openness as per the federal constitution, and I imagine most if not all state constitutions. As such, this sort of information is not considered private and can be shared. Any effort to keep mugshots private would result in lawsuits by the press and lay people. This would be under the First and Sixth Amendments as well as the various Freedom of Information Acts. However, in 2016 a federal court ruled [PDF] that federal mugshots are no longer routinely available under the federal FOIA.

This is partially in recognition of the damage that mugshots can do online. In its opinion, the court noted that “[a] disclosed booking photo casts a long, damaging shadow over the depicted individual.” The court specifically mentions websites that put mugshots online, in its analysis. “In fact, mugshot websites collect and display booking photos from decades-old arrests: BustedMugshots and JustMugshots, to name a couple.” Some states have passed or are looking to pass laws to prevent release of mugshots prior to conviction. New Jersey is one example.

a) As the federal court recognizes, and as we all know, the reality is that if your picture in a mugshot is out there, regardless of whether you were convicted, it can have an unfortunate impact on your life. In the old days, this wasn’t too much of a problem because it really wasn’t easy to find mugshots. Now, with companies allegedly seeking to extort people into paying to get their images off the web, it has become a serious problem. Those companies may get in trouble if it can be proved that they are working in concert, getting paid to take the picture off one site and then putting it on another. But that is rare. In most cases, the picture is just public data to which there is no right of privacy under the law.

b) The underlying purpose of publicity is to avoid the government charging people and abusing the authority to do so. It was believed that the publicity would help protect people. And it does when you have a country that likes to hide what it is up to. But, it also can cause harm in a modern society like ours, where such things end up on the web and can cause permanent damage. Unfortunately, it is a bit of a catch-22. We have the right to know issues and free speech rights smack up against privacy rights and serious damage of reputation for people who have not been convicted of a crime. The law will no doubt continue to shake out over the next few years as it struggles to catch up with the technology.

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

What Happens When You Flush an Airplane Toilet?

For millions of people, summer means an opportunity to hop on a plane and experience new and exciting sights, cultures, and food. It also means getting packed into a giant commercial aircraft and then wondering if you can make it to your next layover without submitting to the anxiety of using the onboard bathroom.

Roughly the size of an apartment pantry, these narrow facilities barely accommodate your outstretched knees; turbulence can make expelling waste a harrowing nightmare. Once you’ve successfully managed to complete the task and flush, what happens next?

Unlike our home toilets, planes can’t rely on water tanks to create passive suction to draw waste from the bowl. In addition to the expense of hauling hundreds of gallons of water, it’s impractical to leave standing water in an environment that shakes its contents like a snow globe. Originally, planes used an electronic pump system that moved waste along with a deodorizing liquid called Anotec. That method worked, but carrying the Anotec was undesirable for the same reasons as storing water: It raised fuel costs and added weight to the aircraft that could have been allocated for passengers. (Not surprisingly, airlines prefer to transport paying customers over blobs of poop.)

Beginning in the 1980s, planes used a pneumatic vacuum to suck liquids and solids down and away from the fixture. Once you hit the flush button, a valve at the bottom of the toilet opens, allowing the vacuum to siphon the contents out. (A nonstick coating similar to Teflon reduces the odds of any residue.) It travels to a storage tank near the back of the plane at high speeds, ready for ground crews to drain it once the airplane lands. The tank is then flushed out using a disinfectant.

If you’re also curious about timing your bathroom visit to avoid people waiting in line while you void, flight attendants say the best time to go is right after the captain turns off the seat belt sign and before drink service begins.

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