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Does anyone have any insight or a magical formula for planning a set list? I've put together several set lists over the years trying to anticipate the audience demographics, type of gig/venue, time of performance, inebriation factor, danceability of the tunes, etc., but I find the whole exercise very complex and frustrating. :eek:

Of course there are some basic principals such as the first tune of the evening should be impressive, one that the band performs well. The last tune in each set should leave the audience wanting more. But is that it? Is it that simple? Maybe I'm over thinking it?

There advantages and disadvantages of having a prepared set list. It’s good being prepared and being able to roll from one tune into the next without a long interruption (very professional) however, that sometimes makes it difficult to react to the audience. The drummer in our band used to play in a band where they didn’t have a set play list. Their singer would read the audience and select songs from their repertoire that he felt kept the momentum going. I have no idea how he managed to keep track of what’s been played and what hasn’t. The must have had a huge pool of tunes to draw from. Personally, I like to know which tune I'm playing next so I can prepare for it (guitar change, etc.).

Does anyone have any suggestions or formula to follow??? Any “Trade secrets”???

We play classic rock and current rock tunes. We haven’t gigged a lot but our gigs are usually parties, golf tournament dinner/dance, fund raising events (no bars/clubs).

Also does anyone have suggestions for Rock/Classic Rock tunes that are a “must play”, guaranteed success, type of tune?

I appreciate your input. :rockon:
 

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"Their singer would read the audience and select songs from their repertoire that he felt kept the momentum going. I have no idea how he managed to keep track of what’s been played and what hasn’t. The must have had a huge pool of tunes to draw from."

That makes sense to me. How many songs have you guys got down?

You could change things around as the evening progresses.

I wouldn't be to rigid.

It should be fun for everybody.
 

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Somewhere in between works best for me.


I always give the guys typed lists and then often make changes on the fly.

The show should be smooth. If you have to tell the other guys the tune before every one it looks pretty amateurish in my opinion.


I also take liberties with arrangements if the mood strikes me. The guys know to watch for cues.
 

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...i've been doing them for decades. here's what i've learned:

1. 8-10 songs equals about 45 minutes (depending...).

2. two slow songs in a row: musicians think audiences hate it. not true.

3. the biggest mistake i've made is thinking that, because the room is relatively empty during the first set, that's where i should dump the "extras", "filler" and less exciting material. dead wrong! always start with your best stuff. it sets the mood for the night, both for the audience AND the players. i do, however, tend to save the most danceable and singalong tunes for later.

4. always be prepared to deviate from the setlist.

5. "Rock/Classic Rock tunes that are a must play, guaranteed success, type of tune"

mustangsallysomekindofwonderfulbrowneyedgirlsweethomealamabaoldtimerockandroll:zzz: :zzz: :zzz:

-dh
 

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david henman mustangsallysomekindofwonderfulbrowneyedgirlsweethomealamabaoldtimerockandroll:zzz: :zzz: :zzz: -dh[/QUOTE said:
LOL!

borntobeknockingontakincareofpurplehazemagicwomanthrillisgone :D
 

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Mr. Henman sure has it down.

My 2 cents

Set lists are a MUST. You cant deviate from a plan if you dont have a plan to start with.

You cant play to a crowd if you dont have enough material that will allow you to "change horses in the middle of a stream."
Having been the "band leader" all my professional life ( way back when), I allways hated when I put together a new band for this specific reason. The agents and managers allways wanted you "on the raod" ASAP and that allways ment having just enough material for 4 sets. It took months to build up enough EXTRA material that allowed me to slip in enough songs to realy play to a certain crowd.
Knowing what to play in certain situations is a great gift. Having the songs to make it happen is another thing.
 

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Now here's the rub.

Yes you have to play songs the audience enjoys. That's why you're there.



However, if you play songs they like but you don't, they'll pick up that vibe in a nanosecond.


There are MANY songs to pick from. I've never found it necessary to play a song like Wonderful Tonight (which I loath) in order to please an audience.

You have to enjoy yourself up there. If it's just a job.....well, you can make more money a lot easier at other occupations. If it isn't fun, don't bother.

Just another perspective to consider.
 

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Milkman said:
Now here's the rub.
Yes you have to play songs the audience enjoys. That's why you're there.
However, if you play songs they like but you don't, they'll pick up that vibe in a nanosecond.
There are MANY songs to pick from. I've never found it necessary to play a song like Wonderful Tonight (which I loath) in order to please an audience.
You have to enjoy yourself up there. If it's just a job.....well, you can make more money a lot easier at other occupations. If it isn't fun, don't bother.
Just another perspective to consider.
...i think we too often don't give our audiences enough credit.

i steadfastly avoid the mustang sally syndrome, and yet i can count on one hand the number of times we've had requests for those songs in the past four years and still have enough fingers left over to play "walk don't run".

lately, we've been playing over 1/3 originals, and still no complaints or "hey, play something we know!"

as milkman says: "...if you play songs they like but you don't, they'll pick up that vibe in a nanosecond."

conversely, if you play something they don't know, or have only heard a few times, with conviction and genuine enthusiasm, they will pick up on that vibe, too.

at least in the bars. i can't speak for weddings, private parties etc.

-dh
 

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There are a lot of good songs out there that you don't have to "cover". You do your own take on it, a rendition, it is what keeps some of the older song alive as various artists do remakes. Most of the stuff we are doing right now, which is still in the development stage, is being done our own way, it is still recognizable but we work in our own dynamics etc.. it's a lot more fun that way... and there's that key word again...fun.. we feel good about what we do.
 

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PaulS said:
There are a lot of good songs out there that you don't have to "cover". You do your own take on it, a rendition, it is what keeps some of the older song alive as various artists do remakes. Most of the stuff we are doing right now, which is still in the development stage, is being done our own way, it is still recognizable but we work in our own dynamics etc.. it's a lot more fun that way... and there's that key word again...fun.. we feel good about what we do.
...that really is the key to playing covers, and getting some personal satisfaction/artistic fulfillment at the same time. unless you absolutely butcher a song, no one will complain. whenever i hear someone rave: "man, they play that song exactly like the record!" i tend to think, "why?"

-dh
 

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david henman said:
...that really is the key to playing covers, and getting some personal satisfaction/artistic fulfillment at the same time. unless you absolutely butcher a song, no one will complain. whenever i hear someone rave: "man, they play that song exactly like the record!" i tend to think, "why?"

-dh

I agree to an extent.

Yes the song will naturally take on the personality of the band playing it and that's why people go to see a band instead of a DJ, however my view is that the harmonic and melodic structures should be respected. I'm a bit of a purist in terms of seeing the song as the artform.

We don't mimic the original recording, but when I hear completely wrong chords being played it really bugs me. Just my personal tastes.

I don't need the solos to be note for note or the vocal tone to be dead on. It's not about impersonating the original artist. It's all about the song first and then the performance.


Otherwise it's only one step away from a flat out jam. Nothing wrong with that I suppose. It's just not what I do in the context of a performance.
 

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I have heard the Cover Butchers which you speak of.

The make anything sound crappy. If they played origional stuff they would be The Origional Butchers

Some bands just aren't good.

If someone takes a good song and plays it. It is there version of that song.

I think that to play a piece well the musicain must have the talent and musical skill to be able to play it as it was intended by the composer.

The players can move it to where they like, but should start with a good base.
 

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Milkman said:
I agree to an extent.
Yes the song will naturally take on the personality of the band playing it and that's why people go to see a band instead of a DJ, however my view is that the harmonic and melodic structures should be respected. I'm a bit of a purist in terms of seeing the song as the artform.
We don't mimic the original recording, but when I hear completely wrong chords being played it really bugs me. Just my personal tastes.
I don't need the solos to be note for note or the vocal tone to be dead on. It's not about impersonating the original artist. It's all about the song first and then the performance.
Otherwise it's only one step away from a flat out jam. Nothing wrong with that I suppose. It's just not what I do in the context of a performance.
...no argument here. there's a world of difference between developing your own version of a cover tune and flat out playing it wrong or butchering it.

-dh
 

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david henman said:
...no argument here. there's a world of difference between developing your own version of a cover tune and flat out playing it wrong or butchering it.

-dh
Really, we're all on the same page here I guess.
 

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david henman said:
...and none of us, least of all ME:redface:, would ever admit to butchering a song.

-dh

I butchered one on Friday night, but I'll take it back to rehearsal and get it right next time.


It happens. That's part of the process sometimes.
 

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Milkman said:
I don't need the solos to be note for note or the vocal tone to be dead on. It's not about impersonating the original artist. It's all about the song first and then the performance.
Absolutely. What gets me is when you are covering a great song and you check to see who the writer was and it's some obscure name you've never heard of. So, you really have never heard the song in its original form, even if it's the first public version you're covering. Then, I try and imagine what the original skeleton may have been and flesh it out again. The recorded original may be miles from the writer's original demo. I always wish I could start from the source when doing an arrangement. The problem with covering some songs too closely is your trying to cover the performance and not the song itself. Even the band who recorded it might not try to do that.
 
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