It’s nice that ZG has gotten looser over the years on what they try without rehearsal. It’s become much more relaxed over the years. We threw in a Fleetwood Mac song - but none of us knew it so before we started we went outside to listen to it on a phone! I was surprised because in the early days there’s be a full rehearsal before they added anything new. Trust has grown over the yearsI'll add that I just did this in November with my monthly cover band, which hasn't rehearsed in maybe 2 years? On the last gig, we threw in I Got A Line On You (Spirit) and Hard To Handle (Counting Crows? Black Crows? Sheryl Crow? I forget...) with only a discussion about the key and endings. Took just a few minutes before the first set. Since they're pretty close in tempo, I suggested a segue from I Got A Line into LaGrange, and fortunately they were in the same key. No prep, no quiet guitar strumming, nothing. And it worked perfectly, as it should when there's a certain level of musicianship and clear communication.
BTW, this is the Zero G Band I'm talking about, and DW member Bo Eder subs with them when I'm on the road.
On songs where there's a clear arrangement (Honky Tonk Woman, I Saw Her Standing There, etc) yes, a quick discussion about the key and whether there's a longer solo or something is all that's needed. Usually that can be in the 10 seconds just before the song is counted-off. In the case of Honky Tonk Woman, I jump in and let them know that I'll start the song, a la the record.
If I'm sitting-in with a band that knows a song and I don't, I'll ask them if there's anything I need to know. Typically I say "cue me on stops and changes" and I pay close attention. There are a lot of songs I know, but have never played. Some are just in my DNA from having heard them over and over for 30 or 40 or 50 years. When I play those, the parts and fills come naturally, as if I'm hearing the song while I'm also playing it. Sometimes I surprise myself with the parts and fills that come out without even thinking about them.
That's really all I care about too. With good signaling, as long as someone knows the song and there aren't too many iconic parts you might miss, it usually goes fine. Once you've been playing with someone for a real long time somehow you just start to learn their mannerisms and it becomes a little easier.I'm doing a fill-in gig this Saturday with no set list and songs being called off. I also ask for cues for when to start and stop and changes from the bass player.
When I play with excellent musicians it’s this way (and I’m lucky to be there!)...meaning no rehearsal. Everyone learns their parts of an agreed upon version and then you debut it onstage with no rehearsal.
Does anyone do this?