Hearing new songs versus old songs in concert: Buzzkill or invigorating part of the experience?

Categories: Hot Topic

Jon Solomon
Welcome to Hot Topic, our latest feature, which is precisely what it sounds like. We present you with a topic that is, well, hot, and then we ask you to weigh in with your opinion. Today our inquiring minds want to know: When you part with your hard-earned loot to see your favorite band in concert, how do you feel about hearing new material? Does it bug you, or is it something that you actually look forward to so you can sing along?

When we saw Mumford & Sons recently at the Fillmore and they offered up some new songs, including the one below, the momentum seemed to dip a bit, which got us to thinking about the whole idea of playing tunes no one's heard before, and whether it's a buzz kill or an invigorating part of the experience. And if it's the latter, what's a good mix -- 80 percent fan favorites and 20 percent new tracks? What say you?

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Being a local music junkie, I love hearing new tunes when I go see a band. It's the little screw ups that happen when test driving a new song that can create beautiful moments at house shows or small venues. If it's someone bigger, like Mumford and Sons, I would still love it, because it feels like you're getting in on a secret with them. When I truly love a band with their kind of success, I already feel like I have a sweet something with them, and the higher the stage goes (meaning, the more notoriety they get, and therefore the more impersonal they become in relation to their audience), the more I crave that personal touch. However, I have to agree with Cory Casciato that when it comes to a long-term, successful band, the audience is a lot less interested in paying $50 to see something they're unfamiliar with as opposed to what they already know they love.

Cory Casciato
Cory Casciato

Always, always, always new stuff. I mean, I want to hear some tunes I know, but if the band doesn't play material I'm not familiar with (and/or interpret familiar material in an exciting way) then I am disappointed. I have the albums, I don't need to see a note for note regurgitation of the best songs on them...

Note: If a band is well into its golden years, that's different. Then we probably just want to hear the hits. No one wants to hear that new Rolling Stones about hip replacement surgery or whatever.

Bill Schwamle
Bill Schwamle

It is very rare to go to a show and not hear a song you have not heard before. If it is the headliner or the opening act, something is going to be “new” to you. So I think it is a treat to hear new songs from a major band. I may not rock out like a song I’ve rocked out to before, but it adds to the total experience and gives bragging rights.


It's great when they're up beat, but it's not safe to unleash calm stuff onto crowds.

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