NPR logo Are Short Shows A Rip-Off?

Are Short Shows A Rip-Off?

There was glee and some grumbling when Passion Pit left the stage of Washington, D.C.'s Black Cat the other night. The 40-minute set included a one-song encore, and left many wanting more.

Just how long should a headline act play? When The Beatles played Shea Stadium to a crowd of 56,000 screaming fans, the band played a dozen songs and left the stage in less than 30 minutes. In the late '70s, when bands like Ultravox or Devo would headline a show with one LP under their belt, a 50-minute set wasn't unusual. Truth be told, I always thought that was the perfect length.

These days, it isn't unusual to see sets that are double that. Of course, it depends on the band; a 45-minute set by Wilco would leave a lot of favorites out of the set list. Here's what I'm wondering: Do you ever stand at a show and wish it were over? Do you find yourself thinking, "Please play my favorite and say goodnight"?

What's the optimal concert length for you? Would you rather leave a show wanting more, or err on the side of too much of a good thing?