Thankfully, rumours of Rush playing a three and a half hour set on their current Time Machine tour proved misplaced.

And I say that despite the omission of the peerless Jacob’s Ladder from their songs of choice and the fact their gig at the Newcastle Arena was one of the finest I’ve ever had the privilege of witnessing. 

But just as concerts can be far too short, they can drag on beyond what is the enjoyable optimum.

Just for the record, Rush came on stage – or rather their show started (because it kicks off with a highly amusing film) – at 7.30pm prompt and at around 8.50pm they had a 20 minute interval.

Then the second half of their concert lasts between 9.10pm and around 10.40pm. So I make that just under three hours of entertainment.

Considering Rush’s vast back catalogue, the length of some of their songs and the complexities of their stageshow, I would imagine it would be very hard indeed for the band to trim it.

And while most rock fans would happily sacrifice a drum solo for the sake of a couple more songs or even an earlier finish, is there any Rush devotee who would forgo Neil Peart’s piece de resistance? Thought not.

Personally, I think around two hours 20 minutes is just about the perfect length for a rock concert. You should be leaving a gig wanting more, not relieved that the marathon has finally come to an end.

I remember seeing Bruce Springsteen at the City Hall on his The River tour in 1981 and the sight of dozens of punters streaming out of the auditorium long before the end, was not what such an occasion deserved.

Now the Boss was his magnificent self that night but unfortunately, Tyneside’s transport service was not and back then, it is was a common occurrence to see concert-goers leaving early to catch the 10.52 to Ashington or the 10.56 to Bishop Auckland.

But even then, at a time when he’d only released five albums, while acknowledging the passion, majesty and sheer energy of a Springsteen show, I felt the concert dragged on too long.

Of course, you had to admire the incredible stamina of the man as he banged out tune after tune after tune with the same intensity at encore time as when he launched into his act more than three hours earlier.

Had Springsteen trimmed his show by 20 minutes, I don’t think it would have lessened the enjoyment for anyone present.

Mind you, Springsteen’s attitude of “give ’em what they want” is infinitely preferable to that of Axl Rose or Richie Blackmore for instance.

During his Rainbow days, Blackmore was notorious for his own mood swings dictating the length of a show or the inclusion or otherwise of a particular song. And it wasn’t unusual for the band to be back on the tour bus with the audience still demanding an encore.

I remember back in 1980, when complaining of the fact Rainbow had only been on stage for one hour, 30 minutes, to be told they played for just under two hours the very next night.

Guns N’Roses could be even less fan-friendly, both by keeping their fans waiting at the start of a gig sometimes arriving at the venue hours later than scheduled and by short-changing them with a truncated set.

So when it comes to musical crimes, over-indulgence is a slap on the wrist compared to the hanging offence of selling fans short.

And in expressing my own preference for bands to quit while they’re ahead, some of the best gigs I’ve ever been to were when they spontaneously decide to throw in an extra song or come out for a second encore.

Just as a great concert electrifies an audience, a super-charged atmosphere can spark the guys on stage.

There’s nothing that gives a fan greater satisfaction than the knowledge that the noise created in the hall , with the collective cries of “More, more, more” clearly audible in the dressing rooms, persuading a band to come out for one last hurrah.

Even if it does mean missing that bus back home.

Ian Murtagh