As a non-musician, you might be wondering what musicians actually do after a concert. Whilst it’s tempting to conjure up images of wild parties and trashed hotel rooms, you’d be right in thinking this is an unrealistic depiction of a typical post-concert routine.
So, what do musicians do after a concert? After a concert, musicians will first debrief the performance between them, before debriefing the technical aspects of the show with their crew. They will then shower, eat a meal, greet their fans and spend the rest of the evening on their tour bus or at a hotel.
Keep reading for a realistic account of a typical post-concert routine for a touring band:
Debrief The Show
Immediately after walking off-stage, the band will re-group in their dressing room to debrief the show. Debriefing usually happens in two stages:
- Performance debrief
- Tech debrief
For the first 20-45 minutes after the show, the band members will be left alone in their dressing room to discuss the show between them over a couple of drinks. The discussion will typically include:
- Points of interest: This almost-always serves as the icebreaker for the debriefing session. The band may chat about the attitude of the crowd, the quality of the security or the guy who started doing backflips on top of the crowd.
- Points of concern: The conversation then usually turns to points of concern. A band can be very particular about how well they present themselves on-stage, pouring over the miniscule details of each performance in order to improve for subsequent shows. If major mistakes were made, these will usually be discussed and resolved first. Following this, the band may discuss how to improve the setlist, crowd engagement or stage production for the next show.
Once the crew have packed everything up, they’ll then head to the band’s dressing room to debrief the technical aspects of the show. The discussion will typically include:
- Monitor mix quality: Bands will typically use in-ear monitors to hear themselves on stage and customize their mix. The sound engineer will use the debriefing session to ensure each member’s mix was adequate and note any problems that occurred. If you’d like more information on the benefits of in-ear monitoring systems, check out our dedicated article.
- Lighting quality: The lighting engineer will ask the band if they were happy with the lighting, before asking if any changes need to be implemented for subsequent shows (i.e. changing the color or intensity of the lights for a certain section of a song).
- Instrument quality: Each member of an established band will have a dedicated instrument technician. Instrument technicians are responsible for tuning, maintaining and upgrading instruments whilst on tour. They set amplifier tones and control the sound of the instrument during the show (i.e. switching from a clean guitar tone in the verse of a song to a distorted one in the chorus). The instrumental technicians will chat to their respective members and ensure they were happy with the sound and the playability of their instruments, making note of any changes to implement for the next show.
Take A Shower
After debriefing, the band members will take it in turns to shower (as they’ll likely be sweaty following the concert). As venues are notorious for being both hot and stuffy places, many musicians will opt for a cold shower after a show.
Bands tend to avoid heavy meals prior to a concert in order to prevent stitch. Furthermore, they will have expended a significant amount of energy during the show and may have had a few drinks, meaning they’ll be hungry. Whilst the members are showering, one of the crew members will typically put in an order for takeout. This’ll usually be something greasy and calorific, such as pizza or Chinese food. It’s also common for bands to opt for local cuisine (it’s almost a rite of passage for bands to order deep dish pizza when playing in Chicago).
If takeout isn’t an option (or the band simply doesn’t feel like it), the catering team may make something for everyone. This’ll usually be something quick and communal, such as sandwiches, hot dogs or a pot of chilli.
Once everyone’s been showered and fed, the band will meet any fans that have hung around after the show. These fans will usually be waiting outside the band’s tour bus, eager for an autograph/photo and a brief chat with the members. The fans that hang around to meet a band after a show are often the most-dedicated, meaning the band will want to give the best representation of themselves possible. Similarly, the fans may have attended multiple shows on the same tour, meaning the members would’ve had the chance to develop a relationship with them.
Some bands opt to host a dedicated meet & greet session after the show, where fans can briefly meet the band, receive an autograph and have a professional photograph taken. Meet & greets are sold as a ticket add-on and are now standard procedure following the recent decline of record sales.
Head To The Tour Bus/Hotel
Once they’ve greeted their fans, the band will retire to either their tour bus or a hotel for the night. Here, they’ll usually take part in one (or several) of the following activities to unwind before going to sleep:
- Business-related tasks: Many musicians are involved in a range of different projects at any one time, from other bands, to product endorsements, to autobiographies. Band members may check up on their projects and get some work done if needed.
- Speak to loved ones: Bands are often on tour for several months at a time, meaning they have to keep in regular contact with their families. Provided it isn’t too late into the evening, many band members will speak to their families via Skype or phone call after a show.
- Read: Most musicians are avid readers. After a show, many band members may read to decompress before going to sleep.
- Watch TV: As bands will have quite a lot of downtime on tour, box sets are very popular. Many bands will binge-watch several series of a TV show together over the course of a tour.
- Play video games: Most tour busses have a back lounge with a video games console. Team-based video games (notably sports-based ones such as Madden NFL or FIFA) are popular amongst musicians due to their laid-back and communal nature.
Following this, the band members will head to bed and get ready for the next day of tour.
So, there you have it! A realistic account of a typical post-concert routine for a touring band. If you have any further questions, feel free to leave a comment down below and I’ll answer as soon as possible!