What A Rock and Roll Concert Teaches Us about Dealing With Humans

In producing live music shows, you quickly learn about dealing with humans. From an audience perspective, it seems pretty simple. A bunch of people pay money, (sometimes a considerable amount) to see someone perform for them.

As a producer, it is not remotely close to that. Remember how we talk about your customers emotional needs being met? At a concert, the “customer” is not just the ticket buyer. It is the artist, the caterer, the driver, and the vendors. Everyone involved in the show has similar needs to be met.

First you have the audience member. They don’t just want to see an artist perform. They want to be a part of something bigger than themselves, experiencing something others are sharing with them. They fulfill the need for safety and esteem, as well as the need for love and belonging when attending a live performance.  The proof of this is the amount of money some will pay to go to a show. They want to feel good about themselves in a concentrated dose.

The artist themselves have similar needs. They may be paid an alarming amount of money to play, but they still have the same emotional needs those audience members do.  In some cases, they may even be household names, but they still need the same thing you do, like love, acceptance, safety, and esteem. We all have heard and seen stories illustrating the insecurity of many in the entertainment business, especially regarding the talent themselves. It’s mostly true, and that’s ok. We are human, and we can be insecure, especially when we are scrutinized by many people.

With that being said, a good performer makes the audience feel as though they are a part of something special, and recognize the needs the audience came with when they perform. Those are the gems, and I love working with them.  I am not going to be a name dropper, but I worked with a very famous blues man over the years who was one of the dearest, kindest people I have known. One night, a number of people assembled outside his bus, appearing to be planted there until they could meet this legend. I apologetically told him I would get rid of them, and he responded, “Let them on the bus, five at a time.”

“Excuse me, sir?”, I asked. “We will be here for two hours.”

He smiled and said, “Those people are why I am here. They came to feel special, and I want to make sure that happens.” He proceeded to meet everyone, ask their name and where they were from, give them a signed photo, and thanked them for coming. The thrill appeared at first to be for them, but I soon realized it was for him, as well. Everyone getting what they need is the best end to a transaction.

The vendors, caterers, security, and others involved in the production have those needs, as well, and the producer who understands this will go far. One of my mentors, Christopher, ran Red Rocks for the City of Denver for years. He is a kind, but assertive Texas boy who had a knack for making everyone involved in the production feel as though the show would not have happened without them. He gave them what they needed, and they would take a bullet for him.

Why am I telling you this? Reminiscing is a joy, but the point of this story is if you treat your interactions with client, guests, and customers with this in mind, you will give them what they need, every time you see them.   

Empathic customer service and Rock and Roll can save the world. Turn both of them up to “11”.

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