Touring bands putting their set lists online

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I know I mentioned Setlist.fm earlier, but keep in mind that the info is only as accurate as the people who submit (or modify) it. Which is to say, it's as accurate as Wikipedia. Actually, apparently not even.

Case in point, from the one guy who can absolutely verify it (I keep detailed accounts of our infrequent song changes.) Al's set lists that are posted for four of the 27 shows so far on the current tour, show (at least) one egregious error - a song that we rarely perform, and in fact performed only once in the current leg, and not on any of the dates listed. Our recent Australian dates, also with a different (egregious) error, were copied as fact, including one venue listed under two separate dates (thankfully one date was correct!) I haven't bothered to look beyond that, but I'm confident that mis-listings appear throughout the dates listed.

But, don't be surprised when info can be submitted by anyone, and is then able to be modified by anyone. Even if I had the inclination to correct all of the incorrect listings, the same person who got it wrong in the first place might just as easily change it back.

The only guaranteed-accurate info that can be relied upon is from the artist's camp, or trusted fans in that artist's forum.

Bermuda
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I admit, I'm not a fan of reading the exact set list before the show. I do like the surprise factor.

Rush has done this, once they make a set list, they never vary it. I stopped bothering going to see them more than one night per tour, because while they are (were) awesome live, nothing changed from night to night.

But to Bermuda's point, I did like it when bands that have a long history promote a focus of the tour. Before the split with Geoff Tate, Queensryche would do this, one tour would be a greatest hits tour across their catalog, another our would focus on their early material, another tour would focus on a specific album with bonus songs sprinkled in. You knew what you were going to get for your money, but you didn't know the exact set list.

One reasons I stopped bothing to go see Ozzy what all his set lists, tour after tour, were essentially the same songs. The order would be different, but the songs would be the same. I never quite understood why someone with so many albums couldn't mix it up more, but then again, he can't sing without a teleprompter, so maybe he's just incapable of mixing it up.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Knowing what you're going to hear may also be a benefit.

Suppose you wanted to see Bob Dylan, who's touring to promote his new album. Obviously the new songs will be highlighted, but you'd expect him to also play some of his classic hits, right? You go to the concert and are disappointed that he played exactly two hits, and the rest was all new material.

Wouldn't it have been helpful to know up front that you'd be paying $75 to hear only two familiar songs?

Bermuda
IMO this contributes to a stale mindset...meaning not open to new material. The death knell of spontaneity. For myself, spontaneity is one of the pinnacles of musicianship. No pinnacles for me! Some things are better left unsaid. I want to be surprised, not expectant. Being surprised is 100x better than coming from a show where I'm expecting everything before it happens. How dull!

If I want the old songs, I'll listen to the recordings. If I am truly into the artist, a fresh mindset would accept the new stuff with open arms and open minds. There is absolutely no surprise at the end of a show the way things are. It's so formulatic, it breeds stale-ness, and yet people defend that. Race to zero. Where are the standards that used to be so high? I cannot get on board with the lemming mindset. There's no beauty in that for me. And to be a musician onstage that has to perform that, IDK after about 10 shows I'd want to change things up for my own sanity. Instead of playing "Like a Rolling Stone" when it was brand new, and Dylan just sat on his laurels and stuck to his old stuff, is that the better way? Ewww.

I'm just really disgusted with the mindset of the masses, I just want to collectively shake them. We are happily reducing ourselves to pathetic imitations of what we once were....and no one seems to notice or even care.

A Broadway show...I can't compare the two. A play has to follow a certain order, it's a story. You can't just jumble it around or put in new scenes every so often. With music, you most definitely can, and it makes it fresher. Fresh is better than stale last time I checked.
 
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bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
One reasons I stopped bothing to go see Ozzy what all his set lists, tour after tour, were essentially the same songs. The order would be different, but the songs would be the same. I never quite understood why someone with so many albums couldn't mix it up more...
Even an artist with a solid fan-base and a large catalog can't get away with playing every deep cut. There are tried & true audience favorites, as well as songs that never seem to generate excitement. Maybe only 10-20% of someone's material really goes over well in concert, and that's what the artist stays with.

And when the audience loves the show, the local press takes notice, and good reviews generate good revenues.

Bermuda
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Even an artist with a solid fan-base and a large catalog can't get away with playing every deep cut. There are tried & true audience favorites, as well as songs that never seem to generate excitement. Maybe only 10-20% of someone's material really goes over well in concert, and that's what the artist stays with.

And when the audience loves the show, the local press takes notice, and good reviews generate good revenues.

Bermuda
I'm not even talking about playing deep cuts, I'm talking songs that were big hits for him!

Every show consists of most of the songs from his 1st solo album, the 3 essential Sabbath hits, "Mama I'm coming home" plus 2-3 from whatever the new album is. You might get "Bark at the Moon" or "Shot in the Dark" but for the most part he ignores the rest of his catalog, even though he had many other huge MTV hits and multi-platinum albums.

I get when certain artists only have so many hits, they have to keep playing those every show, and some bands have just enough hits to fill a whole show and doesn't leave room for much else. But when an artist had 7 multi-platinum certifications in a row but ignores most of them to concentrate on one every time, it's just pretty odd, and eventually, gets old.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
There are some bands that do refuse to play certain parts of their catalogue - even if it's the most popular. Radiohead refused to play Creep for quite a time and some of the deep cuts are the best received at concerts because they're so rarely played (I'm thinking of Let Down from OK Computer and some of the Amnesiac material). With that said, they are a band that still make a lot of money from record sales by having the right business arrangements and self-releasing (or close to it on physical sales), so they don't have to rely on ticket sales so much. Sold out every show in London within a day of them being announced again though, so I missed out. Yet again...

It depends on the artist in terms of the material. If I went to see David Gilmour I'd really hope for some of the Floyd classics but his solo catalogue is fairly expansive - if a little less appreciated and I'd hope to hear that too. If I was seeing Paul Simon, I'd hope for at least a little Garfunkel material and some of Graceland but if that only makes up 20% of the show, that'd be fine.

There's setlist ordering to take into account too. I was watching a 2012 Jello Biafra gig recording last night and the band played a classic Dead Kennedys song probably every 3/4 songs and ended on a real classic. I'd guarantee that it was the DK material most of the audience were there to see but he kept it going throughout so the audience would listen to the newer material (which isn't bad - doesn't quite reach the same heights). Didn't play Moon Over Marin though (one of my absolute favourites)!
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Suppose you wanted to see Bob Dylan, who's touring to promote his new album. Obviously the new songs will be highlighted, but you'd expect him to also play some of his classic hits, right? You go to the concert and are disappointed that he played exactly two hits, and the rest was all new material.
From everything I've read about Dylan, he pretty much refuses to play his hits as recorded, and often goes on stage without a set list, and when he does play the songs he's known for, he will change the feel, tempo and sometimes even what key the song is in.

Which much be both exciting and frustrating to his fans at times.
 

STXBob

Gold Member
Knowing what you're going to hear may also be a benefit.

Suppose you wanted to see Bob Dylan, who's touring to promote his new album. Obviously the new songs will be highlighted, but you'd expect him to also play some of his classic hits, right? You go to the concert and are disappointed that he played exactly two hits, and the rest was all new material.

Wouldn't it have been helpful to know up front that you'd be paying $75 to hear only two familiar songs?
Depends.

About ten years ago, my wife and I and some friends went to see/hear The Cure. We got to the venue and realized we five were just about the only non-Goths over 25. It was a vast, teeming sea of emo teenagers. We took our seats, and commented quietly about the phenomenon.

When they were scheduled to start, Robert Smith walked onto the stage to wild acclaim. He shaded his eyes with his hand, peered keenly into the audience, and buggered off again stage left.

The crowd was confused. Murmurs of "WTF?" were clearly audible.

Then I saw the rest of the band peeking around the stage-left curtain, just their heads, then they ducked out again. Curiouser and curiouser, I thought.

After about 60 seconds of confused waiting, the band came out. Wild acclaim again. Music started. Confusion reigned once more. What was this? Even I failed to recognize it at first, until I heard the vocals. They led the concert with Secrets, followed by Fire in Cairo.

For the next two hours, they didn't play anything at all recorded after about 1983. Hell, they even played The Hanging Garden.

The emo girls were confused as hell. I overheard one to say, about 1.5 hours in, "I want to hear Friday I'm In Love, goddamn it!"

They were sorely disappointed. The band was amused. Our little demographic LOVED IT. We have this shit on VINYL. My copy of Three Imaginary Boys was a hand-me-down from a friend's big sister who brought a copy back from when she was an exchange student at Cambridge. My wife knows all the words by heart. This was before hipsters even existed, but we were a half-dozen blissed out hipsters, because we were back in approximately 1982 inside our own heads.

So yeah, set lists are nice. But they can be somewhat less entertaining than just winging it, pulling shit out of your back catalog you haven't played in ages. There were mistakes, wrong chords, "Oh, THAT's what the bridge really is" moments on stage. There was no pyro, no synced massive screens, no dancers. But it was BRILLIANT. The best damn concert I've ever seen. Those emo girls are probably still talking about how much it sucked. So as an art piece, it really, really worked.
 

Super Phil

Senior Member
I like to know the set list beforehand. That way if there are songs I'm not familiar with then I can listen to them a few times before the show and get to know them. Did that with Paul McCartney and was very glad I did. I enjoy concerts much more when I know all the tunes.

And Rush typically has an A and a B (and possibly C) set list where they change a couple of tunes in and out. So they aren't exactly ALL the same. (I'd go no matter what, lol)
 

bonerpizza

Silver Member
When it's one of my favorite bands I like not knowing what to expect from a show and don't even look it up, BUT when it's a band I'm somewhat interested in seeing but not sure I'll look up what they've been playing to see if it's worth paying to see them.Maybe I'm just cheap but concert tickets seemed to have gone up in price within the past couple years.

I live in Austin TX and we've got the Austin 360 Amphitheater which has seats as well as lawn seating, lawn seats for most of their upcoming shows are around $45 and go all the way up to $150 for the Dixie Chicks! If I'm going to spend that much I want it to be a good show and at least hear songs I want to hear!
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
Knowing what you're going to hear may also be a benefit.

Suppose you wanted to see Bob Dylan, who's touring to promote his new album. Obviously the new songs will be highlighted, but you'd expect him to also play some of his classic hits, right? You go to the concert and are disappointed that he played exactly two hits, and the rest was all new material.

Wouldn't it have been helpful to know up front that you'd be paying $75 to hear only two familiar songs?

Bermuda

That's why ppl like to see cover bands, all hits, all the time.







Depends.

About ten years ago, my wife and I and some friends went to see/hear The Cure. We got to the venue and realized we five were just about the only non-Goths over 25. It was a vast, teeming sea of emo teenagers. We took our seats, and commented quietly about the phenomenon.

When they were scheduled to start, Robert Smith walked onto the stage to wild acclaim. He shaded his eyes with his hand, peered keenly into the audience, and buggered off again stage left.

The crowd was confused. Murmurs of "WTF?" were clearly audible.

Then I saw the rest of the band peeking around the stage-left curtain, just their heads, then they ducked out again. Curiouser and curiouser, I thought.

After about 60 seconds of confused waiting, the band came out. Wild acclaim again. Music started. Confusion reigned once more. What was this? Even I failed to recognize it at first, until I heard the vocals. They led the concert with Secrets, followed by Fire in Cairo.

For the next two hours, they didn't play anything at all recorded after about 1983. Hell, they even played The Hanging Garden.

The emo girls were confused as hell. I overheard one to say, about 1.5 hours in, "I want to hear Friday I'm In Love, goddamn it!"

They were sorely disappointed. The band was amused. Our little demographic LOVED IT. We have this shit on VINYL. My copy of Three Imaginary Boys was a hand-me-down from a friend's big sister who brought a copy back from when she was an exchange student at Cambridge. My wife knows all the words by heart. This was before hipsters even existed, but we were a half-dozen blissed out hipsters, because we were back in approximately 1982 inside our own heads.

Great story Bob!
 

Nancy_C

Senior Member
That's cool that Country music artists do that because usually they only have one good song, and you can see if that song is being played early or later in the set so you know when to show up for the show.
Whee!

*high five*

I agree with those who, like Uncle Larry's wife, like to be surprised. At the very least, it's cool to see how a band might handle the outro from one song into the intro to another in a unique or unexpected way. Like, "Oh, I didn't expect that!"

Fortunately, we seldom get big acts over here in the vast expanse of blue. They keep flying past us.
 

Living Dead Drummer

Platinum Member
i don't ever go looking for it before a show. But I have looked the day after. If the band played a song that I really liked, but didn't know what it was before, than having the set list published helped.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
I guess I've never thought about it before, and can see both sides.

In many concerts that I play (jazz/cabaret) there is a program that lists all the player's biographies, a list of the songs played, and usually some information on the songs.

On many of my pure jazz gigs, we don't even have a setlist, and sometimes we're playing Creative Music (the genre, not describing it) and there isn't anything to call it.

I haven't played many classical gigs lately, but they would always have a program to let people know what songs were being played.


When I go to see a concert, which is rare since I'm usually playing rather than watching, I don't really pay attention to the program (if there is one) as I like to be surprised or have to guess what song they are playing. That being said, it is nice to have the set list and/or program as a reference.
 
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