About Setlists

Here you can talk about Stratovarius and related bands. Language used is English.
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Intiaani
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About Setlists

Post by Intiaani » Thu Nov 05, 2009 1:07 pm

I'm sure you people know about conversations concerning what should some band play in their gig(s). With small bands, those few people eager to see the band have a big chance to affect the setlist. Then there are larger bands that don't even know what their fans want. It's kind of convention to them really play a similar set every show, with some balance of possible new songs and those old songs considered hits or otherwise legends, I don't know... Also if a band does songs in variety of styles, they usually try to bring all of these styles to their set to still attract new listeners or "just" to please as many people as possible. They also might use mainly their more energic department. This, as many things else, has mainly to do with the performing style of the artist.

Now, there are fans that actually want their dream setlist. However, people think the majority of their shows consist of people who don't know the band's whole discography that well, mainly only hit songs or those aforementioned cult status - or something - ones. I would say Forever is such with Stratovarius. Or The Cage with Sonata Arctica. Just some conventional songs that have remained in setlists and thus, or otherwise, have become fan favorites (although I think The Cage is finally off Sonata's list atm).

Anyway, I would like to discuss about setlist stuff, and I feel I cannot make any hypernymial generalisations about it. I shall cut things down. I don't require this, just your opinions in what "level" possible...

I think very minor bands (garage groups, backyard bands, musicians with occasional small club gigs...) should stick to their main "fangroup"'s wishes mostly. It's not like no-one else actually knew what else they have in their repertoire. Own music still is important, because thus the music itself gets name for itself. Although I think they should have a set full of covers as well, showing people they actually can interpret and play well-known music. This requires a great sense of style, though, if they wanna do it well. Also this is the spot where they can surprise and do something completely out-of-box stuff. There's a former Helloween tribute band named Trick or Treat that covered Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Wanna Have Fun for example... I think this was completely surprising but still kind of fitting because they're a humorous band after all, or just guys you can't take that seriously, which is great in my opinion. After all, they follow the big footprints of Helloween exceptionally well even now that they've began making their own music. They're not so small a group anymore though I think.

Anyway, sophisticated covers are mainly those that should draw to people to bands not so well known in my opinion. Plus the favorite songs of the actual two or three fans...

Well, from now on this becomes the story of a growing band I think. :D After this former, mainly cover, band gets larger gigs and even a poor record contract or somesuch, they are still very enthusiastic. Or maybe they're most excited at this stage. This small-to-medium-sized band should mainly stick to their own material already. Let's say they've released a debut album with some old fan favorites from the beginning of their career and some compeletely new stuff as well. They should already take the direction and do the music they like to do the most. Those "we're all jazz but this is our little progressive metal experiment" kind of bands can work, too, but I bet you get the most feel, energy, excitement out as a musician when you do what you mostly want to do. Of course every band member can't have a similar taste, and the tastes can change, so there's a problem. Maybe this band should trust on their main songwriter at this point the most though, because the band's gone even that far because of his work. If many writers, then maybe give "control" to the one whose songs have been most successful. So maybe the "hit making guy"? Are they "true" to their music anymore if this kind of a guy gets to pull the strings? Maybe the spread of everyone's music is still a good idea. Anyhow, performances should be energic, and they should give room to more of the "hit-quality" songs in their setlists to still attract more people into their music. This depends on venue, too, because you can actually get more progressive and even impromptu in places where people sit down to listen and the like.

Let's say this band grows to medium-to-well-known. They have, like, two or more records done and a loyal fanbase. I still think, always think, there's always room for the hit songs in the set. They shouldn't play them all though, but leave the room for more variable department as well, suchs as "epics" or ballads or whatever. Maybe medleys. They should still be able to surprise - a young band like this shouldn't yet be chained to similar setlists night after night. Let's say they play some set and let the fans choose the encore? If they still are in venues so small they can actually straight-on interact with the front rows of audience. Surprising, varying sets for me, please, with, say, 40% consisting of hit stuff, 50% of general and/or fanbase favorites and 10% about something completely different... maybe a fitting cover delivered with exceptional flair - maybe even a song that completely "removes the band from its genre". I think this is important, and, like, zero band does it. They always have their "style", their "mold", and they can't or don't want or don't even think of stepping out of it for once. Queen did this, and on the album. The song '39 on A Night at the Opera classic album is something way different compared to exact "Queenism"... if there ever was one. One reason I liked the group so much is that they always were surprising and could step out of their box, or at least let their style live naturally. I actually think still rather unknown Finnish metal act Thunderstone has managed to do this very well, sliding from, say, Stratovariousness to the more badass Pantera-like direction record after record, so that you could actually imagine what they might do next, but they still manage to surprise you. Nowadays I just wonder how much more heavier they can actually get anymore... All this, somehow still, feels completely natural evolution, at least for me. Of course some don't stand the old pure power metal material and some have left the band because they're becoming too "heavy metal" or something.

A major band that have a couple to plenty of albums already, have big gigs to even world tours and solidly make a chart position are still all about hits in my opinion. If they still want to grow, it's essential that the majority of the crowd recognizes many songs. Also they should introduce something new still. These kind of bands already have the "right" to stick to similar setlists in my opinion because, let's say, 60-90% of the listeners quite possibly only know the radio songs and other fan favorites. Still, it's important to present a wide range of songs, if the band has such, and more importantly keep showing their talent and charisma on stage, and stick much to their new material both in promo sense and more importantly because they want to show they still believe in their music and that the new songs can become classics like the older ones have automatically become at this point already, just because people have had time to get familar with them and because they're "original".

Then there's a Stratovarius size. As big as you can do whatever you want, but not some world-renowned still. It's pretty much the same what you do right now, although playing hit songs is still of most importance in my opinion, so that the supposed majority of the audience won't get disappointed. This is just how it goes, people. You just have to play the hits time after time, now matter how bored of them you might be already, because you at least think that most of the crowd is drawn to the gig only because of them. If there's a research of how many percentages of viewers actually go to concerts only because of the familar songs, let me know! It's important not to let the majority down in my opinion. Also you could go to some fanclub-only gigs or something and play whatever they have voted or praised the most on the forum or whatever, with there still being welcome surprise or two maybe.

And when you're U2 or Metallica, it's not about music anymore. It's about you playing, seeing you live. You're idols. You're band is more like a brand that just sells products, a big company. Wasn't Kiss one of the top 10 biggest _companies_ in the US in the early 80s or something? They sell at least caskets. Oh, and records, too. At this point bad reviews can't effect on your success because it's more like mass-hysteria (something I don't feel comfortable being part of myself :D) than a band doing their own thing. Maybe the hits are more important than ever though? It would be nice if Kiss only played unknown songs like Journey of 1,000 Years (great song actually!) for once. Or if Metallica went with House That Jack Build-s (I diskile it. A lot. :P) It would be nice to know if song choices like these on the sets actually managed to decrease their popularity. They'd have to play one or two well-known songs too, so at least those songs got exceptional popularity then. So that it would be a rarity to hear Master of Puppets for example. Would work as a device, big time!

This became a rather long post it seems. This is not required. Just tell me, in general if you like, what kind of setlists should bands have. You could also take a single artist and describe what he/she/it should do and why. My point of view seems to be that you just cannot afford to leave the hits out on most of the times... And have many styles presented.
"In Soviet Russia, Stratovarius listens to you!"
- Soviet Russia on Stratovarius

Plisken
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Re: About Setlists

Post by Plisken » Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:07 pm

:S

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icecab21
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Re: About Setlists

Post by icecab21 » Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:11 pm

i have clas now , i'll read this book after i get out

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Re: About Setlists

Post by emperor_black » Fri Nov 06, 2009 3:33 am

ok

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Intiaani
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Re: About Setlists

Post by Intiaani » Sat Nov 07, 2009 2:56 pm

Ok. Too much. Sorry. :D
"In Soviet Russia, Stratovarius listens to you!"
- Soviet Russia on Stratovarius

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Re: About Setlists

Post by Dave » Sat Nov 07, 2009 4:00 pm

tl;dr
Spamming is serious business!
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si he de vivir sin tu amor...

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Re: About Setlists

Post by Ragehead91 » Sat Nov 07, 2009 8:18 pm

There should be a law to dictate that every has to play Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor in their gigs.

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Re: About Setlists

Post by icecab21 » Sat Nov 07, 2009 9:47 pm

My view is that if songs is not hit quality, throw it away or revise it until it is. There is no reason to put out songs that a band does not like or thinks would miss their target audience. If one songwriter in a band stands out from the crowd reaction and can make more hit songs, their songs will naturally be used more.
I think hit making music is natural and true If it’s what band wants to listen to and play I’m not going to fault guys for having certain taste that happens to make songs like songs that get popular.
it's not about music anymore. It's about you playing,
... playing... playing .... playing music???

a band is always a job, its just a matter of how good the company does and what the goals of the company are. from hobby to trying to make a living, as a long as a band has costs and deals with other people, i consider it a business.

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Re: About Setlists

Post by Keyssion » Sun Nov 08, 2009 3:07 am

I just came from the show in Tampere and it was great! Wonderful job by TK and MK! And well everyone else too. I was a bit disappointed by the setlist. Not really surprised though. They mainly played the hit songs which was pretty boring. I would've reather heard something else for a change. Well it wasn't bad at all anyway. Great gig, thanks guys! :)

ps. Damn nice solos by Jens & Lauri! Bach's Air was damn nice :D

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Re: About Setlists

Post by HinatAArcticA » Sun Nov 08, 2009 7:26 am

I read something on Sonata Arctica's forum the other day that goes very well with this topic.

They said that there's no way to know what the band is going to play because they play what they want all the time and that if they get tired of playing a song live Over 9000 times, then they will just take it out, but that the band is the one who chooses the setlist.

On the other hand, back in June, when Michael Jackson was still alive, there was this site for his "This is It" tour, where fans could actually sumbit their dreamed setlist, and MJ actually choosed the most requested to be performed on the never made shows.

What I think is that there shoul be a balance on what a band plays live. When Iron Maiden plays, its ALLWAYS THE SAME 20 DAMNED SONGS.
I think that a setlist must have some songs because they are icons for the band. Take Sonata Arctica's 8th Commandment for example. Is the only song that has never been out of the main setlists of the band, except for a small period of 2 or 3 months back in 2008, but the band knows that the song is just the song, and can never be out of a setlist, like Strato's Black Diamond. So, the setlist can be made with some popular songs, but totally have songs the band want to play, even if just one person knows it in the crowd. They are delivering the "must-be" songs, so let them also play for themselves, they live out of that, let them also enjoy that and not play only hit songs.

To end my post, what I find sad is when songs get TOTALLY forgoten on a band's setlist.
The best example ever are the Fright Night songs.
I know they've been playing Twilight Symphony, but that's just one album behind Episode, is not really that old.
Strato hasn't played Fright Night to Dreamspace songs in YEARS, and songs like Future Shock, Witch Hunt or Black Night are just great. The Dreamspace songs are also forgotten. Will I ever listen to songs like Chasing Shadows or We are the Future live?

I understand that when a band has so many songs it's hard to choose material, but... wouldn't you love a "Fright Night to Fourth Dimention" tour?
I do :D
No need to feel so afraid, colors last a lifetime and fade to gray...
Tony Kakko

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Re: About Setlists

Post by Keyssion » Sun Nov 08, 2009 2:54 pm

I would like to see a "Forgotten hits" tour :D

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Re: About Setlists

Post by Intiaani » Sun Nov 08, 2009 6:17 pm

icecab21 wrote:
Intiaani wrote:it's not about music anymore. It's about you playing,
... playing... playing .... playing music???
It seems that because my message became huge, some of my points were kind of drown in the flow of thought. What I meant to say was, it's still about music, yes. It's not necessarily about what you play anymore, though. It's just that you are on stage, representing, looking good, looking famous, playing something. You are guaranteed a huge audience wherever you go, whatever music you might have released in the last couple of years, such as Metallica... It seems like those "smart internet fans" are against new material just because "everyone else is". I don't like it as much as their thrash or especially black album stuff myself.
Keyssion wrote:I just came from the show in Tampere and it was great! Wonderful job by TK and MK! And well everyone else too. I was a bit disappointed by the setlist. Not really surprised though. They mainly played the hit songs which was pretty boring. I would've reather heard something else for a change. Well it wasn't bad at all anyway. Great gig, thanks guys! :)
I can understand this. Although luckily this doesn't affect me because I still think especially Eagleheart and Deep Unknown are great. Eagleheart is an extremely good live song! Also, just hearing the crowd reaction when HHAL starts right after Destiny is worth playing that super fan favorite. :D
Keyssion wrote:ps. Damn nice solos by Jens & Lauri! Bach's Air was damn nice :D

Yup.

I have to agree with the key points of HinatAArcticA as well. It shows if a band isn't enjoying anymore. Like how much worse were Jörgi's drumming or especially Tolkki's guitar playing back in 2007 than they were in 1997?! Or heck, even TK's vocals. Everyone's gotten better after the line-up change, or so it seems!
"In Soviet Russia, Stratovarius listens to you!"
- Soviet Russia on Stratovarius

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Re: About Setlists

Post by GuiHunter » Tue Nov 10, 2009 3:57 am

Uow...... What a testament.......
Tolkki to Kotipelto:
- I talked with GOD and He said that I am the best in this band...
Kotipelto:
- I don't remember I said that...
( Fear No Beer !!! )

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