Give the people what they want

Last night Jacqueline and I went to see the Black Crowes on their reunion tour.

I’ve been a fan of theirs for years and some of their songs (Jealous Again, She Talks To Angels) are among my favorite Southern Rock classics.

They totally disappointed me. Apparently, Rich Robinson (Chris’s brother and guitarist) has had a beef with Chris getting all the attention as a lead singer. So last night they played for two hours without playing a SINGLE one of their hits. Some songs went fifteen minutes, others were brand new. Even though the crowd of five thousand would scream for the hits between songs, the BC’s ignored them and indulged. It was as if Chris was on a leash. He looked cowed and Rich looked like he wasn’t having fun, yet was running the show. He didn’t sing on at least a half dozen songs. It was like a scene out of Almost Famous with the faux band, Stillwater.

We walked out before the encores. We talked to folks the next day that reported that even though they did three encores, they still refused to give the people what they wanted. I fear I’ll never feel the same way about them again. If they come through your town, unless you want to hear a mediocre jam band, skip ’em.

Here’s the lesson to be learned from this: Give the people what they want. If you offer a service, product or even as a person a “bit” — make sure you have a constancy that meets your client’s expectations. Don’t fall into the self-indulgence trap or succumb to office politics. If you have a hit (example: Doubletree Hotel’s cookie or the Ritz Carlton’s ‘My pleasure”), don’t lose it because your customer is expecting it from you. On a personal level, you have your greatest hits that others come to depend on — don’t betray or resent them or you’ll experience the same fall from grace that Chris and the BCs did last night. Just because you may grow bored with the dance “that brung ya” doesn’t mean that others must suffer as a result.

Check out comments on their message board to find out I’m not alone in this view.