setlisteous spontaneous

Stephen Fairbairn seeker at
Mon Feb 26 19:15:12 PST 2007

Steve here in Canada.

Is all this 'inability to change' up the setlist something else?

Safety zone?


Fear of being less than perfect, and then having the wrath of the  
press and fans to deal with?

That one I suspect.

Why am I wading into an issue above my head you ask?

'Cause I am in a band. A band that plays live at least once every two  
weeks. We play in bars, we play loud and electric. We play coffee  
houses -  acoustic (but still loud :) ) , we play as an opening act  
for other touring bands in theatre settings, we play festivals.

We use props - confetti guns, smoke, black lights, strobes, costumes,  

videos and sound effects (and when the computer wonks out, we cope)

We play original music - and covers for the bar crowd.

Stay with me, I am getting to my point.

We're not as tight as The Who - we're only regional.

We make more mistakes than the Who - likely only we know when and how...

Point coming.....

We don't use a setlist - our signer - the heart of the band, picks  
the songs 'up next' based on the crowd reaction. When they're  
dancing, we play music to keep them dancing (gee this group likes our  
rockin' Johnny Cash / Black Sabbath / death country / Clash /  
original etc)- and we often go without a break. Usually we go without  
a break actually.

When the song has a video, it's cued up. The lights go.

Ok, our (his) costume doesn't change.

We rock.

Second part to the point -

When we mess up, the press and the fans don't jump all over us (ok,  
even on the best night, no one jumps all over us - we just get beer)
And we are not getting rich.

So, why not have so variety - is the audience that unforgiving?

Is the comfort zone that good?

And so if there is no video, and what if the lighting for a deviation  
has to be simple - I am there for the music, not the videos behind  
the band.

Why can't live = spontaneous

once in awhile?


On 26-Feb-07, at 9:55 PM, sroundtable at wrote:

> "I heard Pete say that it is difficult to add different songs or  
> change the set
> list because of all the lights, video screens, etc. that they have  
> incorporated
> into the show, only slight deviations from that can be  
> accomplished, certainly
> not changing the set list each night.
>   I imagine it is all computerized and choreographed very precise.   
> It is quite
> an impressive show.  Do I expect to see something different next  
> Thursday?
> Naw...but I know I was blown away last November, so I think my  
> expectations are
> in check.
>   I guess if we want to see spontanity, we can watch old Who videos  
> from the
> 60's and 70's."
> They actually have some spontaneity when they jam on songs like  
> AAA, MG, Sparks, SMFM.  My problem is that they don't vary the list  
> AT ALL.  They might remove a song one night, and replace AAA with  
> Substitute another, but otherwise there is NO CHANGE.  They had 2  
> 1/2 months to change out 4 or 5 songs and alter the videography,  
> and they didn't.  NOTHING changed.  The more I think about it, the  
> more annoyed I get.  The 2000 setlists were awesome, so is it that  
> without John they have lost the ability to know more than 20 songs  
> for a tour?  Can anyone here really say that they would prefer five  
> full singles from Endless Wire plus Wire and Glass to a song or two  
> from Quad?  Could we have Long Live Rock replace Eminence Front,  
> which has been in the setlist since 2002?  Could we have Sister  
> Disco rotate with YBYB?  How bout morphing into Naked Eye during  
> the MG jam some nights.  I just can't justify continuing to spend  
> big bucks on tickets to see The Who, now matter how awesome, pla
>  y the exact same songs show after show.  In fact, the Endless Wire  
> songs don't feature any real jamming or energy, for that matter, as  
> Pete and Rog just sort of stand there and play, leaving the  
> windmills, jumps and mic swings for the hits.  Maybe I'll make to  
> the UK.  In the festival setting they generally feel more free to  
> play some different stuff.
> Mc
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