Pixies Honor Chilean Miners, Integrity of Encores

Five minutes after the last Chilean miner reached the surface this week, Pitchfork reports, the Pixies took the stage for a concert in Santiago. To mark the occasion, the lead singer (whose name seems to revert to Black Francis from Frank Black for Pixies-reunion purposes) announced the band’s longest set ever,

33 songs, one for each miner


Then, according to the set list on Pitchfork, the band played 35 songs—a 33-song concert, as billed, followed by a two-song encore. Because an encore does not count as part of a concert. It is supposed to be a bonus. The fans love the show too much for it to end, so the band gives them something extra.

Almost nobody treats the encore this way anymore. It’s a scripted obligation: A band plays a certain fraction of its show, then the crowd cheers, then the band comes back and plays the final fraction of its show. It’s built in, like the automatic 18 percent gratuity for a table of six.

The Pixies didn’t totally avoid the preordained-encore system in Chile. As most bands do, they came back with songs that people would have come to the concert planning to hear in the first place (“Gigantic” and “Where Is My Mind?”), rather than something unexpected, like a cover of “Stand by Your Man” or something. But they didn’t count those two toward their marathon miner-tribute set tally. Those were something additional, for the fans.