How the Cars Chased Off a Crowd At Lollapalooza

Posted on August 9, 2011


So many entertainers, even veteran ones who should know better, fail to realize how important it is to grab the audience’s attention.

For example, there’s the Cars set at Lollapalooza this past weekend.

As surprised as I was to see them on the schedule, I was at least moderately interested in seeing the band perform.

I was even more surprised to find out I wasn’t alone. A huge crowd gathered right before their set.

They opened with “Let the Good Times Roll” and the crowd was into it.

Then they proceeded to play two songs I didn’t know — I’m guessing they were from the band’s new album — and the crowd got bored and started chatting amongst themselves.

Two of the next four songs were also off the new album and the crowd started to lose interest completely. A not insignificant amount left.

This is an example of not paying attention the fans (or in the case of a radio host; listeners) — and what they want.

After not touring or putting out a record in more than 20 years the band has the chance to play in front of a large crowd and insists on focusing on new, unknown music.

I’m not saying don’t play the new songs, just don’t start the set with them. Lead off with a bunch of hits to get the crowd engaged before you work in the new material.

And speaking of crowd engagement, if you haven’t played a live show in over 20 years acknowledge it. No one from the band said anything to the crowd for at least the first six or seven songs; at which point I left.

I know Ric Ocasek isn’t the most dynamic guy in rock’n’roll but c’mon, talk to your fans. Show some appreciation or, at the very least, plug the new album by introducing songs almost no one in the audience has heard before.

Take a lesson from the Cars: deliver content your listeners want so they are engaged before you expose them to something new or different.

And for god’s sake talk to them.

Acknowledge them, win their loyalty and Let the Good Times Roll. Ignore them and it’s likely to be Bye Bye Love.