Have you ever wondered what bands do after a concert? There you are, sitting in an audience of thousands watching your favorite band. They play their encore and disappear behind the curtain. You may wonder, what now?
What do bands do once they go backstage after performing? As a musician and someone who has spent some time backstage hanging out with fellow musicians, I think I’m pretty well qualified to answer this question.
So what do bands do after a concert? Ask yourself what you would do. Musicians may relax, engage in illicit activities, or get the heck out of the venue as quickly as possible. Often bands are just excited to finally grab some food, go to the bathroom, and set off to the next tour stop.
A typical day looks something like this:
- Travel to the next venue
- Meet And Greets
- Mental/Physical Preparation
Life on the road isn’t always a nonstop party. It’s not always sex and drugs. Rock documentaries have portrayed a picturesque backstage lifestyle that is often larger than life and inaccurate. Read on to find out more about what artists do after the lights have gone down.
Let’s Talk About Sex
Okay, let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room right away.
Yes, groupies are still a thing, and yes, many of them are still desperate to get their hands on that backstage pass. But the groupie movement has changed… a lot.
Here are some reasons why bands aren’t getting laid as much as they were in the past.
Reasons Musicians Aren’t Getting Laid
- The Me-Too Movement: With the #metoo movement gaining momentum, rock stars have to be careful who they sleep with. They can never tell when they will be accused of rape, statutory or otherwise. It is for this reason that many artists prefer to sleep with prostitutes, if anyone at all.
- STDs: Although AIDs isn’t as much of an issue as it was in the ’80s, it brought a lot of attention to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Today artists are wary of groupies eager to sleep with them. They need to think of how many partners those groupies have had in the past.
- Privacy: The internet may also be putting a damper on backstage sexcapades. Many artists have had their careers ruined by a sex video that suddenly became viral.
- Age: As mentioned before, many rockers are performing that are well into middle age. Some are even in their senior years. These artists may not be as interested in sex as they once were due to a lack of libido that occurs as one gets older.
Rockstars on Drugs – What About Drugs?
While sex might be waning as a popular after-show activity, unfortunately, we may not be able to say the same about drugs. There are still countless artists who have battled addiction and gone through rehab. Therefore, it could well be that many of the musicians you see onstage celebrate their performances with a good stiff drink, a mellow joint, or worse, a quick bump or even a shot in the arm.
Now that we got the sex and drugs out of the way let’s look at some somewhat more normal things a musician might do after a show.
What Bands Do Before The Show
Driving To The Venue
Shows often end LATE, especially if you include the time it takes to tear down and load up all the artist’s gear into vans and busses. Busses usually begin the long trek to the next tour stop location after 2 am. Crossing state lines and country borders on long tours can be a huge time suck.
Bands often spend the beginning of the day sleeping or getting ready in their tour vehicle before ever getting to the venue. As bands grow, these homes away from home grow alongside them. Check out a tour of Simple Plan‘s double-decker bus.
The first thing any artist needs to do once they get to the venue to get ready for a performance is to have their equipment brought to the concert hall to be set up to their specifications onstage. Most artists who are just starting and playing smaller, local venues will have to take care of themselves.
More established artists may have a road crew that travels with them to each city and handles this part of the show preparation. The road staff follows a blueprint of sorts that is known as a stage plot. The plot tells them exactly where everything goes and the sound levels of the equipment.
A professional road crew will generally have everything in place and ready for soundcheck before the artist even arrives at the venue.
Sometimes load in, and teardown can be monstrous tasks. Just ask German metal icons Rammstein.
What Is A Stage Plot?
A stage plot is a drawing that is similar to an architectural blueprint. It conveys to stagehands and sound engineers where each artist’s gear will be and the location of their microphones and sound monitors.
The stage plot is often accompanied by an input plot that tells the engineer which channel of the mixing board all microphones and instruments get plugged. Most larger productions will also have a lighting plot to let the lighting crew know where to place their lights.
What Does A Roadcrew Do On Tour?
The term roadcrew is a blanket term that applies to all technicians and assistants who travel with an artist to assist in executing a performance. It covers a wide variety of job titles, including:
- Personal assistants
- Instrument technicians
- Lighting personnel
- Personal trainers
- Tour managers
- Merchandise Cahsears
The list goes on with a wide variety of other specialized positions. As tours grow in scope, the list of backend support grows as well.
When the artists arrive at the venue, the first thing they will do is soundcheck. During a soundcheck, the soundperson dials in the tone and volume balance are optimal for the performance.
The soundcheck serves to put the musicians’ minds at ease by ensuring that they will sound the way they want to sound and hear the instruments’ correct balance. During soundcheck, the band can also go over any specific notes or changes relevant to that day’s performance.
Food, Drinks, & Hospitality
Most artists have what is called a hospitality rider in their contract with the venue or promoter. The rider stipulates that the artist will have certain items backstage to make them feel comfortable before performing.
The rider can include everything from the type of food and drink the artist wants to clean towels to incense to fresh pairs of underwear and socks. Artists may take advantage of what’s provided by eating food before the performance, taking a shower, or even meditating.
What is a hospitality rider?
A hospitality rider is a part of the artists’ contract with an event promoter or venue. It stipulates all items that the artist needs to be made available to them at the venue. It can include catering, access to private showers, specific types of drinks, an onsite masseuse, or pretty much anything that the artist desires.
The hard rock band Van Halen was even known to have a clause in their rider specifying that M&M candies be made available for them, but with one odd exception. No brown M&Ms were to be included. Why, you ask? Did they hate brown M&Ms that much?
No. It turns out that that was the band’s way of making sure that the promoter had read and followed the rider down to its last detail!
Meet and Greets
Often before a show, a select group of fans and VIPs will have the chance to meet the band and get a photo or autograph with the members. Meet and greets will have to be worked into the artist’s pre-show schedule.
Musicians are a lot like athletes; they need to warm up their muscles before performing. What type of exercise a musician chooses to warm up with will depend on the instrument they play.
Guitarists and bass players will usually strap on their instrument and warm up both hands by playing some scales up and down the guitar’s neck. They may also do various picking exercises, and there may even be some songs they prefer when warming up.
Drummers play with their entire bodies. Therefore, they will want to make sure their legs, hands, and fingers are ready by the show’s time. They will often sit at a small practice kit or a practice pad and play different patterns known as rudiments to get the various parts of their body ready for a performance.
Singers must be careful before a show. If they sing too much, they can end up straining their voice. Therefore, they will want to keep warm ups limited to scales, and they may also want to do some exercises to get their lips, and vocal cords stretched out.
Singers will sometimes go off into an isolated room and sing scales and octave glides to warm up their voices. They may also do tongue-trills and humming exercises to ensure their lips are nice and loose.
While guitarists, bassists, singers, and drummers typically make up the core of most rock bands, bands can have additional members such as keyboardists, saxophonists, and many more options. There are different warm-ups recommended that vary depending on the instrument the musician plays.
Additionally, performers (especially those who move around the stage) may choose to do stretching, Pilates, or yoga to get the blood flowing throughout their bodies. Some superstars even bring their trainers on the road to help them with these sorts of activities.
In addition to being physically warmed up before a performance, many artists like to prepare themselves mentally. Artists achieve this in several ways.
For example, a singer may review the song lyrics to ensure they are fresh in his or her mind before the show begins.
Other musicians may sit alone quietly and meditate for 20 minutes before going on stage. Others may say a prayer or a blessing. This may be done out loud, silently, or as a group activity.
I even once knew a guitar player who couldn’t perform until he called his wife and kids to say goodnight to them.
Some group leaders like to give the rest of the band a pep talk similar to what a sports coach would do.
Other artists like to shower before going onstage, although most prefer to do so after the show.
In addition to settling nerves, there are some final touches before massive bands can hit the stage. Here’s a quick video of how KISS travels in style and prepares for sold-out arenas.
What Do Bands Do After the Concert?
Yep, that’s right. After two hours on stage, you can bet that musicians have to pee.
Many artists play with pee buckets hidden behind their amps to relieve themselves without stopping the show. (I feel bad for the roadies who have to clean those out). But I bet many of them do their best to hold it.
Therefore, you can count on there being a line for the bathroom after the show ends.
Hit the Shower
After long hours on stage under bright lights, musicians can get sweaty. A quick shower will be very much in order!
Eat and Drink
Musicians work up quite an appetite while playing a show. Just like a good workout, they will need to provide their bodies with the fuel they need to rebuild glycogen stores and repair and regrow muscle proteins.
Eating nutritious foods can help the body get the job done faster.
While it is also essential to hydrate after doing all that sweating, most musicians have a bottle of water or Gatorade on stage with them. All the same, it should come as no surprise that they may go through several more bottles once they cool down.
Talk to Their Bandmates/ Colleagues
When bandmates are together onstage, they produce chemistry between them and the audience that can not be ignored. After such an experience, it is only appropriate that they get together, at least briefly, to congratulate each other on a job well done.
Of course, not every performance goes as well as we would hope. However, as a musician, I recommend refraining from pointing out mistakes a bandmate has made until the next rehearsal or group pow wow. It is best to leave musicians with a good feeling about the performance.
When musicians are on stage, they experience a rush of adrenaline that works as a natural high. This is the reason so many musicians love their jobs.
And while that feeling of adrenaline is pretty incredible, it’s not so great when it’s four in the morning, and you are trying to get some much-needed shut-eye.
It is for this reason that many musicians will immediately try to relax after shows. They may meditate, seek out a soothing atmosphere for some peace, or sip on some bedtime tea.
Get the Hell Out of Dodge
Although the musicians you see onstage may appear to be extroverted wildmen (and women), you may be surprised to learn how many of them prefer privacy in their personal lives. For these reasons, many musicians choose to go directly home or to their hotel room after they get off the stage.
Many of them have cars, buses, and even private planes waiting to whisk them from the stage to their preferred destination.
What About the Gear?
That’s a good question. Of course, after the show, the gear will need to be collected and packed up. Typically, this is the job of the road crew. However, local bands who don’t have the budget to hire a staff may have to do this job themselves.
Packing up involves unplugging the equipment, putting guitars back into cases, removing amps from the stage, and packing it into a vehicle. While drummers and guitarists struggle with heavy equipment, singers are infamous for making themselves invisible while the gear is being loaded.
Now that we’ve covered what bands do after a concert, here are some FAQs that will give your further insight into a musician’s crazy life.
How do you meet the band after a concert?
Meet and greets are another activity that commonly occurs before or after a concert. If you would like to meet your favorite artists during a meet and greet, there are a few ways to go about it.
One possibility is to listen to the radio and pay attention to the internet to find about meet and greet opportunities. Several radio stations and bands conduct contests that fans can enter for the chance to meet their favorite bands.
You can also try to contact the band personally. Joining a fan club or writing for a local publication can help you get your foot in the door. Once you develop a personal connection, you may meet the members, and you may even have the opportunity to interview them.
Some fans will come to shows very early in the hopes that they will see their favorite artists as they arrive at the venue.
Although bands make some money from selling their music, most of their revenue comes in through touring. They make their money off of ticket sales as well as the merch they sell at shows. Research shows that musicians make 75% of their money through touring.
How much does a musician make on tour?
While some musicians are quite wealthy, it may surprise to find out that many live with middle-class incomes. Others struggle to get by.
The average annual salary for a musician is $49,315 a year. Musicians on the lower end of the spectrum could make closer to $29,000 and year. The lucky ones make a salary closer to $59,000 a year.
Backstage after a show isn’t all fun and games, but the thrill of being on stage makes it all worthwhile. What do you think is the best thing to do after a wild show has ended?
There is no single answer to the question of how artists warm up for a show. The preparation will vary depending on the instrument the musician plays as well as their mentality.
Several of the activities listed above are common to many performers, but each has his or her own unique set of rituals that get them in the right physical and mental shape before performing.
After the show, they like to relax and recharge like normal human beings. When they are done with their work on-stage, they need to take their time to relax and recharge. The old days of sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll still exist to some degree, but each rock star is different in their post-concert activities.