Surprise! Why do bands persist with the ‘unexpected’ extra shows we all expected?

My Chemical Romance are the latest band to reveal extra live dates after kickstarting an emo bunfight for their 'one' gig. Why don't artists avoid fan anxiety and announce all their gigs at once?

To be filed next to the ‘surprise’ party that everyone saw coming anyway, we now place artists who announce extra shows following a frantic, over-subscribed ticket sale.

Earlier this month Milton Keynes unexpectedly became the hottest destination in the UK, as emos across the nation battled it out for a spot at the My Chemical Romance comeback gig this June. But just as intense despair set in, the inevitable message landed. “This is incredible. Thank you all so much,” the band wrote on Twitter. “We have announced a second show.”

They’ve now even gone so far as to add a third and will be playing Stadium MK on June 18, 20 and 21. While I personally gain a great deal of enjoyment from the mental image of a frazzled Gerard Way ringing up the venue in a panic, and frantically begging to book it out for extra days – ‘Please, sir, people are cross with me! Please help me!’ – we all know it never happened. My Chemical Romance probably had the extra places reserved for months, ready to whip out at the last minute – just like every other big band has recently.

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To be clear, I’m not mad about the second (or third!) show itself, because that would be monstrous. Thousands of previously-disappointed fans have now secured illustrious golden tickets; plus, Milton Keynes shopping centre is now set to transport itself back to the heady days of 2004, with its loitering emos, for more glorious days. But – and I’m sorry to turn into your concerned mum for a second – this pointless charade, engineered to whip up yet more demand, can’t be healthy for anyone’s blood pressure!

It’s not just MCR, they’re all at it. Ariana Grande added multiple shows to her Sweetener tour last year due to “phenomenal demand” (one of the biggest pop stars in the world, in high demand shocker? Truly ground-breaking). The Streets whacked three extra dates seemingly from nowhere onto their 2019 tour. In fact, it’s probably quicker to find an act that hasn’t cracked out this sorcery during a ticket sale. Even flippin’ Westlife and Dido have pulled the same stunt.

It’s true that extra dates have saved my ticketless butt countless times, but haggard by far too many fierce battles (remember the Great War of the Harry Styles Tickets back in 2017?) the surprise second show has become as inevitable as festivals with entirely male headliners. And we too are complicit in this farce. We are weary enablers in the performance of it all – setting Google Alerts and keeping Twitter close so that we’re primed for the predictable reveal. And the fall-out is just as irritating. When the anxiety high wears off, it soon becomes apparent that, amid the chaos, all of your mates bought tickets for a different day. Well, shit.

Surprise extra dates are just too extra. Please, bands, for the love of all that is holy – just announce all your shows at once next time. You’ll save us all the indignity of scrambling into yet another online ticket queue with shaking hands from downing 10 coffees.

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