Ideal Concert Length

drmilktruck

I Bleed Orange
May 17, 2009
19,230
Plymouth, MN
In the spirit of the Ideal Song Length thread, I’ll ask the same question about concerts. Assuming no opening act, how long do you think a headliner should play? What's too short? What's too long? Does it matter how much you paid for the ticket? Does it matter who the artist is? (e.g., someone you know all their songs vs. someone you only know a few.)
 
Last edited:

afire

Friend of Fred
Feb 12, 2009
5,548
Where the action is!
First of all, I don’t love the fact that there is a headliner. I’ve been to very few concerts where I cared about the opening act or acts. And some where I only cared about an opening act. Maybe not for more open minded music fans, but it’s been very rare for me to luck out with two bands I wanted to hear on the same bill. Weezer opening for No Doubt might be the only one I can think of.
Leaving that aside, I’d say two hours. I don’t regret watching McCartney crank out a three hour sets a couple of times, yet I would have been fine with two hours. But when you’re seeing an icon that exists on his own plane, you soak up every bit you can and be thankful you had the opportunity. For anyone else, give me the big finale at two hours, tops.
 

wabash slim

I Bleed Orange
Feb 10, 2010
17,550
lafayette in
Depends on the band.
A few minutes of GWAR or Bieber would have me sprinting for the door.
The Grateful Dead did 6 hour shows with fireworks after, then there would be the all-night party in the parking lot.
 

oneforsorrow

Synchromatic
May 15, 2020
988
Iowa
I attended the Benson and Hedges Blues Festival and the Coca Cola Starplex in Dallas the summer before SRV died. I think it was June and he died in August? It was hot, awesome, long. But what struck me was that Stevie closed the bill that night and it was the only time I've ever been done before the artist was done. Granted, I'd been there all day but I was young and tough and could handle the heat and all. And he was the main reason I was there. I was a FANATIC! But as he kept playing, I found I was just emotionally spent. It was as if he'd pulled everything I had in me out and left me drained and depleted. And he just kept going. No fatigue. No mailing it in. It was unbelievable. I don't recall how it ended now that I think about it. I do recall the big jam with everyone on stage at the end and BB King was waving a white handkerchief in surrender. I felt like he was waving that thing for all of us. It was intense. Really intense.
 

OzzPocket

Synchromatic
Aug 11, 2020
642
NYS
It varies......assuming no opening act, and it's not one of these tours where there are multiple headliners (ie Poison, Motley Crue, Def Leppard).....I think 90 minutes to 2 hours is probably a good length......but, some bands I could certainly enjoy a 3 hour show from......and if I wanted less than 90 minutes....then I probably wouldn't be paying to see them in the first place.....lol (I could definitely enjoy the entirety of a 3 hour Paul McCartney concert)
 

Henry

I Bleed Orange
Apr 9, 2014
18,702
Petaluma
Yea I hate opening acts unless it is a band I really want to see.

90 minutes from first song to close of encore is the max.

But I was happy with 2.5+ hour Grateful Dead shows.

Don't even talk to me about music festivals. So done with that. I went to the first Coachella. Great music but I spent half the time looking for a place to nap.
 

juks

Country Gent
Nov 26, 2020
2,495
Fremont, California
Really depends on the band. I saw Who for their 2nd gig after Entwistle passed. The played the whole Tommy and then started to play other favorites. Had to leave b4 they were done as the baby sitter deadline was coming up. At that point they were well over 3 hours and I could have stayed way longer.
 

stiv

Country Gent
Sep 12, 2014
2,368
Firenze, Italy
Unless your audience is a true-fans one (that means you're an estabilished band that at least had a cover story on all the major music magazines and webzines or the audience know the lyrics of your songs better than you after a couple of beers...), after 45 minutes the crowd will start loosing attention, that's scientifically proven. So 50 minutes may work but 60 is pushing (I don't like encores so I never include them in a set list). For opening bands, 30 minutes are the max. Better 25. :)
For The Who, as longs as they want to. 🤣

p.s. This timing is intended for bands that plays original material for the most part. For cover bands, tribute bands and stuff like that, it's supposed to be a party going on so the limit could either be the one that's requested from the club owner or the one that's requested from the people that keep on dancing and/or drinking... ;)
 

stevo

Friend of Fred
May 1, 2012
7,068
Atlanta
Depends on the band/artist. If it's Sheryl Crow, get her off that stage ASAP.

But on the other side of the coin, I've seen 3 hour acts that were mesmerizing.
 

Emergence

Gretschie
May 25, 2022
391
New York
Back in the day when there were no warm up acts a concert consisted of a one hour set, a 15 or 20 minute break, and another album length set followed by a couple of encores. That worked for me. With a 20 minute opening act and a 40 minute set by a not yet top draw band, an hour plus encores from the featured act is enough. At the last few concerts I went to there were people still drifting in during the second act and others rushing for “empty” seats during the featured act. And my ears can’t tolerate more than a couple of hours of wall of sound music anymore. At classical music concerts, people are seated and quiet 10 minutes before the orchestra walks on. Different cultures I guess.
 

drmilktruck

I Bleed Orange
May 17, 2009
19,230
Plymouth, MN
Depends on the band/artist. If it's Sheryl Crow, get her off that stage ASAP.

But on the other side of the coin, I've seen 3 hour acts that were mesmerizing.
I saw Sheryl a few years ago opening for Heart. She was good. she also just played outside the Twin Cities last night.
 

drmilktruck

I Bleed Orange
May 17, 2009
19,230
Plymouth, MN
My answer is 90-120 minutes for most. Macca played for almost 3 hours and that was fine, but we still left before the encores. No mas.
 

Runamok

Country Gent
In the spirit of the Ideal Song Length thread, I’ll ask the same question about concerts. Assuming no opening act, how long do you think a headliner should play? What's too short? What's too long? Does it matter how much you paid for the ticket? Does it matter who the artist is? (e.g., someone you know all their songs vs. someone you only know a few.)
You could probably start a thread asking if anybody went to a concert JUST to see the opening act & then left well before the main act finished.

I remember a festival which had 3 stages.
I was there at a stage for Taj Mahal & left 2 songs into ZZ Top, who closed. Not exactly the same thing, nevertheless…
 

TSims1

Gretschified
Jun 18, 2013
12,519
Atlanta
Hour and a half/hour forty-five. Not a fan of opening acts. Just want to see what I paid to see. I’m like that with movies though too, I find the 35 trailers before the actual movie to be annoying. 7 o’clock movie? More like 7:30 movie after all the stuff you made me watch that I didn’t ask for. Lol
 


Top