"People have short attention spans, Google Generation. On the long notes I'm going to insist that you keep us with you."
Long notes are just as vital to the musical story you are trying to tell as the short ones. There is a way to play long notes such that not only your audience but also the people playing along with you know exactly where you are headed musically, where you are coming from musically, and exactly when that note is going to end.
Keep us (the audience and your fellow performers) with you on the long notes at all costs.