Whether it’s an arena-sized encore or intimate finale, these show closers leave you smiling

You know the feeling – the house lights begin to brighten, you see the band pace a bit on stage before the singer steps to the mic to thank the crowd. You look to see who is around you and suddenly there’s a rush of “No, please don’t be over” mixed with the high of what you just experienced and that final push to let loose one more time. It’s about to be the last song.

For many, a concert is more than just that. It’s an experience, an escape and an opportunity to forget everything else and rejoice. When you think about it, you can really admire how much you succeed at being present in the moment while you attend a show – especially one of your favorite artists. To me, two of the most emotional points of any live event is the opening (when the band first takes the stage) and the closing.

From the perspective of the artist on stage, often times it’s four or five people staring back at thousands of others. With certain groups you know it’s probably one of three typical songs that will be last, but you will still be surprised by what it is, while other artists have their closer solidified for each show and tour. Regardless, it’s their chance to go out with a bang and assure the enthusiastic concert-goers leave with something memorable. The best thing that can happen during the closing song is to feel. It can be anything – happiness, an outpouring of emotion or as Hozier says, Just sing.

“You don’t have to sing it right
Who could call you wrong?
You don’t have to sing it nice, but honey sing it strong
At best, you find a little remedy, at worst the world will sing along.”

As we head into Memorial Day weekend the world of live music shifts into full gear. From festivals to amphitheater tours this 2019 season is plentiful. With that in mind, and with your help, we have compiled some of the most meaningful concert closing song experiences. We put the question out on various social platforms – what is your favorite show closer? The top three responses were Pearl Jam, “Yellow Ledbetter”, Foo Fighters “Everlong” and Alter Bridge “Rise Today”. In addition, we dug deeper to showcase some addition closing song comrades. The finale of a concert should feel like this…

Jack White “Seven Nation Army”

Usually starts with White relentlessly stomping the beat with his right foot. There’s something to be said for a song that contains a guitar hook that you sing. “Oh a oh oh a oh oh” has become a stadium chant for events everywhere around the world. To think it all starts with White’s foot!

The Who “Baba O’Riley”

Few concert moments compare to a crowd of thousands all lit up singing “Don’t cry, don’t raise your eye….” Then comes the eruption and the entire place is on a pogo stick.

Foo Fighters “Everlong”

We don’t say goodbye, we just say this…

art by: Diego da Silva

311 “Creatures”

If there’s a song that properly embodies 311-Nation / The Excitable Crew perhaps it is this one. Nod your head to this, you feel so proud and it feels so good… to be creatures for a while.

Imagine Dragons “Believer”

An appreciation for where you have been, with an eye on where you are going. As it should be, this Imagine Dragons closer is hard to capture in words, but it’s like a giant dancing group hug with an injection of confidence.

art by: Gail Younts

Fleetwod Mac “All Over Again”

“Well it’s time to say goodnight and finally turn out the light. How do I say in some simple way how much you have been on my mind… I’d do it all over again.”
Or “Say Goodbye” ~ “Now I best be on my way before the night turns blue. Once you said goodbye to me, and now I say goodbye to you. Once you said goodbye to me, now I say goodbye to you.”

The Avett Brothers “No Hard Feelings”

Another band that admirably changes the setlist each night – except for the final song. “No Hard Feelings” is like you attended a big family reunion. You saw people you haven’t seen in years – some are loved, some you’ve had issues with, but all you respect. You’re left with a warm embrace that no matter what, we may not always agree, we are different, and that’s OK because there will always be a place of appreciation.

 Florence + the Machine “Shake It Out”

Shortly after Florence Welch sprints her way through the audience barefoot, often embracing fans on the rail nose-to-nose, Welch and her machine take back to the stage (still barefoot) and rip an anthemic “it’s always darkest before the dawn, it’s hard to dance with the devil on your back, so shake him off, shake it out, shake it out.” Confetti falls and it’s pure magic.

Alter Bridge “Rise Today”

In true Myles Kennedy fashion, what an amazing message to belt out and take with you…”I want to rise today and change this world.”

photo by: William Burkle

Pearl Jam “Yellow Ledbetter”

The venue is completely illuminated, fans are arm-in-arm with each other, swaying and singing every word. It’s the curtain closing in song form and a reminder of how refreshed you now feel from the Pearl Jam live experience. Mike McCready hits the last ‘E’ note and often launches right into the “Star Spangled Banner”. It’s celebratory and it’s perfect.

*honorable mention
Elton John “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”
The closer on Elton John’s current worldwide Farewell tour.