Aug 122011
 

Here’s an oldie but goodie that first ran a little more than 4 years ago. A few longtime Townspeople struck up a nice dialog, trading personal stories. I suspect so many more personal stories are out there, waiting to be shared by folks who weren’t pacing the Halls of Rock in our nascent days as a blog. Here’s your chance to dazzle!

This post initially appeared 8/7/07.

A friend of mine is a die-hard Police fan, and he’s been to three of the shows on the reunion tour currently ongoing. He’s enjoyed the shows but told me that they’ve been playing exactly the same set and telling exactly the same jokes/stage patter each time. Sting even takes a little walk away from the mic at exactly the same time in exactly the same song.

Back in my touring days, the Dead Milkmen made it a practice to pass the setlist duties around in rotation. The set was always different every night. This made the shows a little more interesting for all of us and hopefully for the folks who saw us multiple nights (we even played different sets for the two reunion shows we did in 2004). Sure we played some key songs every night but chances are you were going to hear a couple different tunes and different stories/stage patter based on who made the setlist that night.

Maybe the Police like other “bigger” bands have lightshows and camera angles for the big screen TV’s to worry about but c’mon! Mix it up a little and take a few risks!

So my questions to the Townspeople are as follows:

  • Have you been to see bands multiple nights on a tour and have they always played the same set and told the same jokes each night?
  • If you’re a musician, How do you approach the setlist? Do you try to get into the comfort zone and play the same set each night?
  • For all of you, How do you feel about bands playing unreleased material and new songs? Or maybe you just want to hear the hits.
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  41 Responses to “Same Bat-time, Same Bat-channel!”

  1. BigSteve

    What exactly are these risks the Police should have taken? Reunion or not, once you’re playing arenadomes, isn’t the time for risks long gone?

    Why in the world would the Police play some deep track maybe 5% of the audience would recognize? 95% of the audience would remember that part of the show as ‘the part that sucked.’

  2. Mr. Moderator

    Regarding any risks The Police might take, how about starting with the risk of mixing up stage patter?:) They’ve already got a captive audience, they may never tour as The Police again. Why not mix up the setlist a little bit? Why not change the order around, if nothing else? Why not, if you’re Andy Summers, play a slightly different discordant 8-second solo? Most likely people will be waiting in line for beer and not notice the slight changes of pace.

    HOWEVER, I do recall seeing The Police at Philadelphia’s Tower Theater when the third album came out. I hadn’t seen too many big concerts before then. Prior to seeing them I’d recorded a King Biscuit Flour Hour concert from the time of the second album off the radio. Save for the addition of newly released songs, the set I saw that night was almost identical to the one I’d taped from the radio. Same “Banana Boat” jams during “I Can’t Stand Losing You” (I believe). Pretty sure the same cover of “The Harder They Come”. The same discordant, 8-second solos. The same Sting open-string bass notes folowed by slow moon walk… I wonder if The Police was ever that adventurous onstage.

    That brings me to Townsman Mrclean’s questions…

    I’ve never seen a band play multiple shows and repeat that much material. I once saw Gang of Four twice in the span of a month, and the shows were wildly divergent, with singer Jon King drunk beyond his capacity for a great performance the second time.

    I’ve never seen my own band play, but I’m pretty sure we’ve delivered the same or nearly the same set many times. More likely, we’ve done little more than shuffled a particular set of segues that work for us for a couple of months at a time. Many of us in the band have enjoyed playing sets in batches of 4-song segues. It cuts down on (lame) stage banter and tuning, and it allows us to try to structure the most physical set possible. A couple of us are certain that it’s our best way of structuring sets.

    I used to watch the Milkmen take turns constructing sets, and I was amazed at how nice they were about it, how little anal, uptight self-delusion went into it. We could never be that way. So much of what we’ve done, for better or for worse, has been in line with one band member’s famous statement, “I don’t mind jamming so long as it’s planned out.” Believe me, whether what we’ve done is ever any good or not, the Thinking Man’s approach allows us to work to the best of our limited abilities.

    I don’t mind hearing a new song or two, just so long they’re not packaged together. Then you’re almost begging the faint-hearted to get in that beer line or take a piss.

  3. Are The Police doing the songs the same way every night? I’ve only seen them once; I thought it was very good, though.

    I always hated set lists; they’re necessary, but your choices are either 1) play the same set over and over or 2) come up with an awesome set list and then for the next show, well, come up with another, which almost certainly won’t be as good.

    Bands I’ve been in have handled it pretty much every way there is to handle it. I always liked having three- or four-song “Bob Hopes” and making a set out of three or four each of them.

  4. BigSteve

    I remember hearing bootlegs of several dates on a particular Elvis Costello tour. I was amazed at how similar the ‘patter’ was from night to night. I think it’s more common that is generally realized.

    Having seen Randy Newman several times over the last few years, I now know that he does basically the same introductions to the songs every time. He plays a slightly different set from night to night, but he always starts sets with either Last Night I Had a Dream or It’s Money That Want. I believe it’s called being a professional and ‘going with what works.’ The talk is also part of the show, and leaving it to chance or whim runs the risk of falling flat and ruining your flow.

  5. Mr. Mod: I always loved that “I don’t mind jamming so long as it’s planned out.” quote!

    BigSteve – from what I heard, the Police spent some time rehearsing and learned quite a few more tunes than they’re playing. My fan friend tells me they have cut at least two songs from the set they used to play in the beginning of the tour. I would have thought they could at least pull out a couple different tunes to swap in and out of the set over the course of the tour.

    As for those Andy Summers “discordant 8-second solos”, my informant tells me since Mr. Summers fancies himself a Jazz Guitarist lately, he takes quite a few “extended discordant solos” during the set.

  6. Exactly. Just like with a set list, you do something enough times and you know what works. It was evidently important to the Milkmen to mix things up; for The Police, at least one of whom is playing the exact same instrument he played in 1978, not so much.

  7. * Have you been to see bands multiple nights on a tour and have they always played the same set and told the same jokes each night?

    We’re talking about national acts, right? I saw two nights (New York and Philly) of the Wilco-Sonic Youth tour in ’03 (I think) and both bands varied the sets enough. They definitely had certain songs that were staples, but the order was different both nights.

    I personally don’t mind bands not varying their set list in concert. I don’t think they should be playing for the bootleg collectors or the hippie-van set. They should be playing for the whole crowd, so if a band feels more comfortable setting their set in stone, if that means a better performance, than I’m all for it.

    I saw Jarvis Cocker in NY last April; I’d been following reviews of his shows and had a boot of a show in Germany. He does pretty much the same set every night, but he only has one solo album and a few b-sides (not doing Pulp stuff, not yet anyhow). However, he always wings his banter, tailoring it to the city/venue/crowd. Also, he and his band rehearsed something like 15 covers, and would play one or two per night, so you had that to anticipate.

    * For all of you, How do you feel about bands playing unreleased material and new songs? Or maybe you just want to hear the hits.

    I’m okay with new material, especially if it’s a band I like a lot and have seen multiple times. I like the sense of hearing a work-in-progress.

  8. The term “Bob Hopes” is pretty funny. We had song “pairings” so you’re right – certain tunes went well with particular songs and when doing the set you could match things up that way.

    Joe was the most adventurous with set lists and one I remember in particular was him having us play a set that was “backwards” – the songs that all went towards the end of the set first and the songs that we usually played towards the beginning (like certain “hits”) at the end of the set. It was a great set – the difference was exciting.

    Bands who play arenas are charging huge sums for tickets so maybe they can justify “putting on a show” with playing the same sets and lightshows and big screen TV monitors. This is why I don’t go to “big shows” anymore. But I’m also aware from playing enough shows with other bands that it is common to “work out” the set and stick to it. It just didn’t work for us.

  9. Mr. Moderator

    We did a backwards set at least once as well. It was fun getting to roar out of the gates like that.

  10. I saw bowie twice on the same tour: same set.
    I saw chris issak on about 3 tours and he keeps telling the same jokes between songs.
    When my band plays, it’s always different. lots of covers, lot of variety.
    andy only got “modal” once during this police reunion tour towards the beginning of the set, then after that, he sounded like he was in key and had heard of rock.
    sting, however told an anecdote about the first time they ever played philly at grendels lair and now look at this, here we are today. a week later i read the new york times and they wrote that he did the same story just with cbgb’s

  11. Mr. Mod: I always loved that “I don’t mind jamming so long as it’s planned out.” quote!

    I’ll fess up. That’s my famous quote. While its funny now, it was said with some vitriol at the end of a very long…ummm….dicsussion about the ending to our song “Yeah Yeah Yeah”.

    I stick by it though

    With regards to Set lists -I probably did more of the lists than other NH members. I have a pretty strong idea of how a set should go with reagrds to tempos, building intensity, etc. I think Elvis Costello was the master during his 77-80 period

  12. sting, however told an anecdote about the first time they ever played philly at grendels lair and now look at this, here we are today. a week later i read the new york times and they wrote that he did the same story just with cbgb’s

    Yeah, he said the same thing in Boston with The Rat and Fenway Park. I don’t consider that a problem, though; I’d bet it really has run through his head.

  13. yeah i hear ya.

  14. 2000 Man

    I’ve got literally a googob of Stones shows from just about every tour, and they usually keep the setlist tight. If I’m going to see a big band like them, and I’ve spent the better part of a paycheck on two tickets and parking for the privilege of sitting a mile away to watch a big TV, then I want the band tight. Sure, I want recordings with different things on them, but the 72 Tour is essentially exactly the same night after night and I can’t get enough of it.

    Bands shouldn’t play for the ten percent of the audience that’s going to several shows. Those people are too picky and aren’t there just to have a great time and get away from it all, especially now with the Internets. There’s the big gathering of new “old” friends, and the meeting of people that apparently can actually afford to take a year off to tour with The Stones (I’d have to drop the family and work two jobs for three years and eat pizza noodles to even think about something like that). It’s more fun to be one of the people that thinks it’s a big deal. Besides, for 350 bucks I should damned well get to hear Jumpin’ Jack Flash, doncha think?

    But if I’m not going to the EnormoDome, and I’m at a swell place like The Beachland, and beer is three bucks and parking is free and the ticket was all of seven bucks, then play whatever the hell people yell out; so long as if it’s YOUR song you play it good. If it’s a cover song who cares? Make it fun. 10 to 500 good friends are easier to please. When it’s 20,000 people, play what 18,000 of them want to hear. 10,000 toilets flushing because someone like me wants to hear Sister Morphine really isn’t worth it.

  15. I understand what you mean 2000 man. I wasn’t suggesting that bands not play “the hits” or only play the odd “deep cuts” or play a show of all new stuff. But I think its too easy to get into a rut and play the same songs in the same order and say the same stage patter over and over.

    And no-way am I ever paying $350 to see a show!

  16. saturnismine

    great idea for a thread mrclean!

    i think bands who are bored with their set should cover…oh…i dunno…foreigner. or blondie.

    seriously, though…

    rock has ossified to the point where it’s practiced in lock step by its biggest names for the reasons that 2k describes above. they’re substantial reasons, i know.

    i’m with you, however. i think it’s a shame that bands play a rote sets for months at a time, and that fans like it that way, are unwilling to hear new material or deep cuts. it’s a sad state of affairs. i’d love to see a band play it a little looser. not that it’s a perfect example, but the grateful dead were known to change their show entirely from night to night.

    as for my own set listwriting practices, the photon band has over five albums worth of material to choose from. we usually pass those duties around like the dead milkmen did. once the set list is suggested, others are allowed to tweek it with additions / vetos (you drummers always have lame suggestions!). then i break out the sharpie. i have a rule: one song we’ve either never played before or haven’t played in a LONG TIME has to be in the set, if not more. and we can’t play the same first song that we used at our last gig.

  17. BigSteve

    The main reason for changing the setlist up is to keep it interesting for the musicians, on the theory that, if they’re engaged, they’ll be better able to engage the audience.

    It works well at the club level. It may have worked well for the Dead, because so many of those present would have been familiar with a broader range of their material.

    But part of being a pro is the ability to seem engaged with the material and make it seem fresh even when it isn’t. The Police are doing this tour just as a 3-piece right? I think back in the day they played the songs a bit more freely, opening them up a little. I thought I had read they were still doing that, even if it’s the same songs every night.

  18. Valid points BigSteve. My only gripe is the robot/mechanics of it all…

    Didn’t the Gorillaz send hologram images out to play “live” shows? Then there’s Kraftwerk standing in front of laptop computers. And how about Man or Astroman sending out “franchise” versions of the band…but I digress…

  19. saturnismine

    BigSteve, it works both ways:

    being flexible enough to play anything thrown at you, with no dropoff in quality, is a challenge, especially when it comes to songs that you haven’t dusted off in years. that’s one form of being “pro”.

    finding the state of mind to continue being engaged with the same exact set of songs also requires a different brand of professionalism as you describe. people in the theater can relate to this brand of professionalism, i’m sure.

  20. saturnismine

    i’d also like to add that i’ve yet to encounter a “pro” who can engage a song with the same focus night after night. it’s a natural part of us that we are somewhat like the weather, human as it were.

    even the most gifted, most connected musicians among us, blessed with the strongest powers of concentration and the ability to compartmentalize our emotions so that we can “get there” for a song, must inevitably exist in a sine curve relationship to playing the same set of songs every night. in other words, everyone has off nights.

    and i imagine that doing the same thing every night might exacerbate the potential for being asleep at the wheel, even in the best of us.

    from a more smart alecky standpoint, whatarewesupposed to do, huh? sit there and say “wow, i hear that sting’s been playing the same set for the past 30 dates, but LOOK at his ability to engage the song ANYWAY! what prowess”?

    so…ermmm…..i’d rather not see a rote thingy-hoo happening. the kinds of bands that would choose to do that are usually pretty tight-assed and high-strung anyway.

    wait a minute…sting? tight-assed? nah…

  21. tonyola

    1. I’ve never seen a major act on multiple nights. However, I have seen show bands and minor bands that I’ve shared stages with. Those that rely on sequencing and pre-arranged tracks will do the same identical shows every night. Fortunately, I’ve never had to play in such circumstances.

    2. I’ve always been in bands where there was enough flexibility so that we could adjust to the crowd. For instance, if a song was getting people to seriously dance, then we’d throw in a few extra solos and choruses to keep it going. If a song wasn’t going over, we’d get out of it quick. We could change the setlist on the fly. I learned in the bar band days that the quickest way of emptying the dancefloor was to announce that we were going to to an original song. We learned just to go ahead and play it and hope the crowd gets into it.

    I spent nine months in 1989 touring with one of the more notable Elvis impersonators, including some big show hotels and Vegas casinos. The guy preferred to do high-energy shows rather than laid-back. His band was composed of younger serious rockers including a metal-loving drummer so the shows had quite a bit of drive. He never used a setlist except for the opening entrance number. He’d yell back to us the number we wanted (out of the 180 or so that we knew) and we had to be ready on the spot. We had enough leeway within the songs to do what we want as long as we kept within the style including playing the major hooks and provided the singer with the cues he needed. I don’t think I ever played a song the exact same way twice.

    3. I’ve seen major bands preview new and unreleased material on stage, and I like it. I don’t like concerts where the band goes into jukebox mode and tries to play as close to the record as possible. It ends up being a slightly sloppier version of the record – boooring. It’s cool when the musicians stretch out and vary things.

  22. 2000 Man

    I still think the biggest of the big shows need to be more rehearsed and “samey,” I suppose. The Stones did a thing on one tour with a jukebox and Mick would go up to it and it would supposedly “tell” Mick the song the audience had chosen online that day. The thing was, they generally swapped out Starfucker, Waiting on a Friend and 19th Nervous Breakdown, I think. So off the list of 30 songs it was almost always one of three.

    They also did tours in 2002 where each night was a dedicated set to an album. In Cleveland they played like six songs from Exile, and they’d do like three right in a row with the album cover behind the stage. They also did Some Girls nights, Tattoo You Nights and Let It Bleed nights. So it did change up, but even the most casual fans were still pretty engaged because those albums are still so popular. I don’t think many bands can do that, though.

  23. Have you been to see bands multiple nights on a tour and have they always played the same set and told the same jokes each night?

    Macca is one very guilty party that comes to mind. He is very rehearsed, down his patter. I don’t mind it, though because chances are, I will only see him once on a tour. I’ve seen him on three different tours and they all their own variances, but I feel that I have seen him and have no desire to see him a again. I have seen Dylan on multiple occasions on a tour and it’s always different. He doesn’t talk (with the exception of band intros), so that doesn’t matter.

    If you’re a musician, How do you approach the setlist? Do you try to get into the comfort zone and play the same set each night?

    We do change our sets up, depending on the performance environment. We just played a show on the courthouse square and kept the set “family-friendly.” We stuck to mostly the poppy numbers and kept out all the posturing about hot chicks. I presonally like what I call a three-tiered set and I approach my band’s set this way. Keep in mind, we play mostly originals with only two covers. I like to open with “punches.” Three or four short blasts full of energy and excitement. No breaks or banter, just boom, boom, and boom. Then, slow it down and catch out breath. Sell the record, talk about us. Then, I like to settle into a nice little groove of the strong material. The songs. Then, I like a ramp it back up. Build up to a strong finish. This is where the covers come in to sort of “reward” the audience for sticking it out. Not that I find any of our material slow or boring, but I like to open with a bang and close with a bang. We don’t have an over abundance of big dumb rock songs to just play that for an hour. And if we do a couple of sets, I like for them each to be shorter versions of this. But, it is fun to vary this. If it’s a place we’ve played a few times, we like to open with an oddball and give the set a different feel. Same songs, different feeling.

    For all of you, How do you feel about bands playing unreleased material and new songs? Or maybe you just want to hear the hits.

    I think it’s nice to mix it up. Play the hits. I like the hits. I think to refuse to play the hits would be wrong. However, reward the hardcores with a deep track or two. The hits make people happy and get the audience fired up, but there’s nothing wrong with a new song here and there.

    TB

  24. tonyola

    Did they ever do a Dirty Work, Emotional Rescue, or Jamming With Edward night?

  25. ladymisskirroyale

    Mr. Royale and I try to go to see live music regularly, and being old farts, refuse to pay huge bucks for a show (to me, huge bucks would be over $75). So we tend to see a lot of new (cheaper) bands that don’t have tons of material, and I really enjoy those shows because the band seems to be getting in to the swing of performing and is willing to take some risks. Sometimes there are flops and leaden stage talk, but sometimes there are amazing surprises, such as having Tame Impala perform Massive Attack’s “Angel” as an encore. If we’re seeing a band I don’t know very well, I’m listening for the songs I’m familiar with; if it’s a band that I know very well, I hope to hear some things other than the hits. Mr. Royale and I will be seeing Portishead on their upcoming US tour and I’m very interested in what will be on their set list.

    Question for the performers out there: If the set is the same each time, what is the purpose of the set list? Just to jog the memory?

    I’m not a musician but I dance quite a bit, and when performing something that has been done a bizillion times before or in which I’ve previously danced that role (such as The Nutcracker), it still feels different every time. Even when we are doing the same darn show, there are always snafus or different audience energy and differing performer energy/connections. So I’m guessing that musicians that perform the same set over and over do have a different experience of it than does the audience.

  26. A good set of encores has been known to save a show for me. Years ago I stood through a really long, boring set by The Feelies at Maxwell’s (at least that was my opinion – everyone else thought they were the bee’s knees). Finally, after 90 minutes of minor-chord jams they played “It’s All Too Much” and “Here Come the Warm Jets” for their encore. Likewise, the 12-day Springsteen set I attended on His River tour was mostly a snooze (again, for me) until his encore of the “Devil with a Blue Dress” medley and “Rosalita.”

    The jogging of the memory by setlist is HIGHLY important. I have a bad memory to begin with, and then if I’m caught up in a show – positive or negative – I get scrambled easily. It also looks cool to see one of our setlists, with our little seques broken out. It’s like a baseball manager’s lineup card.

    More later. Off to a less-exciting task!

  27. Sometimes I need the memory jogged as well. Sometimes the set list is just a safety net. When putting a set list together, I really just worry about the first 2 or 3 and the last 3. The rest of the set sorts itself out fairly easily.

    In my band we usually change sets every twice a year. We only play out about once a month, so the set changes before we get bored with it.

    As for professional bands, I think the Stones do it right. They always play the hits but they usually sprinkle in a deeper cut or two, like 2000 Light Years From Home or Shine a Light.

    I usually don’t like it when a band plays the bulk of its new album. GBV used to do this a lot towards the end of their initial run. They would front load the show with about 10 new songs in a row.

  28. My arena rock days are mostly behind me but I think it depends on the band — if you go to U2 or McCartney or R.E.M., you know you’re going to get the same set list they played at the last arena. If it’s Neil Young or even John Mellencamp, you expect they will mix it up a bit more. (Except when Neil did Greendale — no hits until the end — crowd got hostile, although I don’t know what they expected.) At my advanced age, I get more of kick out of new material or cool covers than hearing “Rockin’ in the Free World” for the umpteenth time. But I realize I am in the minority on this.

    The internets also put up the set lists immediately, so if you look you know what’s up from previous shows — “Here’s where they do Orange Crush!” — it’s great if you want to beat ass out early escape the parking mess.

    Most of the shows I go to now are in small clubs and I’m not totally familiar with the artist (like Jolie Holland), or they’re kind of cultish (like Garland Jeffreys), so I don’t really know or care if they are doing the same set every night. Some of the best shows I’ve seen at least “seem” to have spontaneous moments, but that’s part of the performance and why guys like Sting, Stipe, and even Simon LeBon are millionaires.

  29. 2000 Man

    No. I like the first two albums, though. I think Jamming With Edward is a turd of the highest order. I wish they had done some of their older albums, like Aftermath or Out of Our Heads.

  30. For The Police and Van Halen, I assumed they did the same set every night because they were using pre-recorded back up singers, percussion, etc. That would force you to time your show pretty much the same every night.

    As a band member, I always insist on creating the set lists in order to focus on the songs that work the best without playing the same set over every time. I often look for 1-2 songs that we have not played in a while and highlight them on the list so that everyone can give them a quick run-through the day before. I can;t say I’ve ever used the same setlist twice

  31. If I had “hits” I would play them 😉

  32. I think a combination of comfort and risk is best. I am also of the mind it’s good to get a new song out as soon as possible. There is no rehearsal that can duplicate the live vibe. A band will gain more from playing a new song not perfectly than it will loose by making mistakes live.

    Percy Sledge tells the same jokes every night. For “Whiter Shade of Pale” he talks about being in Barbados working on his tan. But the set list does change and the banter also fluctuates within a framework. Ray Peterson used to tell long stories, dropping lots of names, but they were different each time. The song list was rigid however.

    I think a set is analogous to a song. You can change things up but play the signature lick and stick to the melody. You’ve got to hit the highlights and give the people what they want. But if you turn into robots they may as well just buy a DVD.

    I saw Pat Benatar on TV once explaining how much she hated “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” but she played it anyway. Why? She spoiled it for everyone. No one wants to be played at.

    The other thing is, it’s live! Shit happens and you better be ready to roll with it. It makes the night special. I saw Yes in Atlanta years ago and the pedal steel was not working. The road crew frantically worked on it while Jon Anderson improvised a song about Atlanta and the band joined in. They still couldn’t get it going so Steve Howe played “And You And I” on a Les Paul with a slide. Awesome! The night was special.

    On a similar note, we were playing at a redneck bar in SC with a singer sitting in for the set. We new only a few songs together but wanted her for the entire set. She did “Crazy” solo so we figured we’d follow along but right before the song her guitar went out. We did not know the song but she just said give me G and started singing. By the end it was magic that would not have happened by playing it safe. I’ve got a video somewhere.

    I’ve played in bands where everything was scripted and am currently working with musicians where nothing is scripted. No set list, no rules. It’s a trip but I still think either extreme is not as fulfilling to the audience (the ones paying you).

  33. Wasn’t there an incident a few years back with Van Halen when the recorded tracks were played back in the wrong key?

  34. Awesome stuff, gregg. It’s totally cool that not everyone here has played in front of people, but I get a kick out of hearing the experiences of people who have. It’s an “added value” of the Hall, if you ask me.

  35. Thanks Mr. M. Your blog has many virtues. It’s amazing to me how much esoteric knowledge you guys have. I don’t know half the artist mentioned much less the songs.

    As for my perspective, I’m going to have to write a book someday but a whole lot of names will need to be changed to protect the not so innocent.

  36. there is a you tube video of “1984/ Jump” where it comes in a 1/2 step sharp from the sampler. They are not able to adjust to it and do not want to stop and start over since it’s their final song. They just trudge on through and it’s a mess.

    I’d rather have bands play “hide the keyboard player / back up singer” like Cheap Trick or Aerosmith than play to tapes.

    I saw the Hagar version of Van Halen in 1991 or so and they were obviously playing to tapes. They did “When It’s Love” (blech) as their 2nd song and the guys all just stood there and looked at their monitors while the keyboard intro went on and on. A disappointingly dull show, where just a few years before they did the 5150 tour with Sammy and Ed playing guitar and/or keys when needed, had real interaction.Like Van Hagar or not, was an exciting show.

  37. I watched a few minutes of a Gorillaz concert last night. Damon Albarn had about 83 musicians on stage and a big screen behind the band, projecting the cartoon videos made to accompany each song. I watched one song that featured Albarn talk-singing. Then the next song started and when a rap break (sorry, if my terminology is about 28 years out of date) kicked in there was no actual rapper; it was on tape. With all those people on stage you mean to tell me one of them couldn’t have spouted out the rap break for 30 seconds? It was at this point that I switched channels.

  38. Paid $350 a ticket for The Rolling Stones in 2006. My wife had never seen them and I was able to get floor seats. The 2nd stage was 5 feet from us so we got a front row show for the 20 minutes they did from the 2nd stage.

    Was worth it because it was her birthday and Valentines day (so I would have spent that much anyway) and that she got to see The Stones with me (our tastes rarely intersect).

    They actually played some rare stuff, including Worried About You from Tattoo You, The Night Time Is The Right Time, and Keith did This Place Is Empty, and I finally got to see them do “Sway”. Of course the rest was the big 10 greatest hits, which was fine with me.

    The most I have paid outside of that was $90 for AC/DC and $90 for Eric Clapton’s Crossroads II.

    I can’t imagine another situation where I would pay more than $45 to see anyone. I just got my $28 ticket for The Jayhawks at a (maybe) 1,000 seat venue.

  39. Ah yes, it’s all coming back to me now. Thanks.

    I agree with you about tapes and I guess it’s better to hide players but that would suck for the players and is not a good way to build the cameraderie it takes to make magic. I’d rather hear the band as is even if some parts are missing.

    Do you know how ZZTop does it?

  40. They’ve got all kinds of sequencers stashed in those beards!

  41. I get the feeling that ZZ uses the sequencers on the songs that requre them and play the others straight. The 80’s concerts you can tell that much is flown in. This last DVD it was more subtle (or they flew in everything, either way there was a better flow)

 
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