The Art of Stalling (a.k.a. The Show Must Go On)

The Art of Stalling (a.k.a. The Show Must Go On)

I’m sure most of us have been there at some point. Your concert is moving right along, the audience is enjoying the music, the Spirit is moving, and then….something doesn’t go quite right. Maybe your next track doesn’t start when it should. Maybe a battery went out on a microphone. Maybe someone kicked a cord out by accident. Perhaps someone else on stage needs a bit of a break (you can choose any appropriate reason), or a transition between songs is needed. In any event, THE SHOW MUST GO ON….

Herein enters the Art of Stalling – keeping the show going when it abruptly grinds to a complete halt. Most talented emcees will have an arsenal of jokes they can pull out to fill time (and the REALLY talented ones will make us laugh no matter how old the jokes are). Some will have a “conversation” with someone else on stage (more daring ones will do so with someone in the audience, offering some ad-libs here and there. The more shameless ones will start a product plug while whatever issues is fixed. The point being, when someone is good at stalling, audiences will never even pick up on the fact that they’re doing so.

What are some tricks that you’ve seen used (or have used yourself) to keep a concert going when something goes awry?

P.S. Thanks to Darrell Richie for the inspiration!

Kyle Boreing

Kyle has been writing for MusicScribe since 2008. He is a musician, producer, arranger, and occasional quartet singer, who pays way too much attention to recordings. He is an alumni of Stamps-Baxter School of Music and has shared the stage with many different artists. He also really likes movies that are "so bad they're good." Visit his website at, or follow him on Twitter @kyleboreing.

MusicScribe Comments

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  1. Darrell Ritchie
    Reply December 14, 14:23 #1 Darrell Ritchie

    Don’t mention it!

  2. Jeff Gurnett
    Reply December 14, 23:43 #2 Jeff Gurnett

    Saw Parker Jonathan handle this expertly at the Great Western Quartet Convention (now called the Fan Fest). The click track went out in Greg Fox’s ear monitors so PJ had Chris Collins slow down the second verse and sing the same line three times in order to give the techs some precious time to get it corrected. Audience thought Parker was just feeling the song in a powerful way and never knew. lol

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