Would you be more likely to go see a band if …

Smashing Pumpkins

… you knew the setlist in advance?

All the Smashing Pumpkins reviews recently have gotten me thinking … people seem to be pissed that their set consists primarily of stuff from the most recent album (call it the Pumpkins Chinese Democracy if you want since it’s basically a Corgan solo album). If the fans knew in advance that the set would be 80% new material with just 3 or 4 “greatest hits” tossed in, would all the shows be selling out? People wouldn’t have the right to complain after the show if they knew the setlist in advance. Of course, that would also remove some element of surprise.

Jimmy Eat World announced a 10-date tour in February in which they’ll be playing (in my opinion) their best album, Clarity, start to finish to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of it’s release. I own all their stuff but found the most recent album to be disappointing. If I’m going to go see them, I’d like to hear older stuff. If the Clarity-revisited tour was hitting anywhere in Ohio, I’d go without hesitation.

The Toadies came through town recently. I am not terribly familiar with their older stuff but the stuff I’ve heard didn’t totally blow me away the way the new stuff does. I was really bummed I had to miss their show but I heard that they only did 2 or 3 new songs so I’m sure I would have been upset had I been able to make it.

Last example … I love Superchunk’s Foolish. Love it – think it’s one of the best albums of the mid-80s alt/indie rock world. I don’t really know the rest of their stuff all that well though I do own maybe 2 or 3 other CDs. I saw them do a reunion show at SXSW a few years back and really only recognized one songs from ‘Foolish’ and felt a bit disappointed that I had spent an hour watching them just to hear one song when I could have probably seen a dozen other bands during that same time slot that would have left me feeling more satisfied.

So, I ask, would knowing the setlist in advance of bands that play venues like the Newport or bigger (because I imagine bands doing tours in venues like this have pre-determined setlists rather than making stuff up on the spot or tossing something in should it strike their fancy if they are playing at Ravari Room or The Summit) help you make a decision on whether or not you’d go see a band? And, if your favorite band was playing a set of all new stuff when you only really wanted to see their old stuff, would you skip the show?

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(Photo by Domino Mask)

  • Thomas

    These are the songs they played at Webster Hall in NYC. This is not the set list. I broke the songs up into the albums they where from. Yes most of the songs are from their Platinum selling album Rubberneck, but they did play a fair amount of songs from the new one. As far as I know they have been playing six(6) songs from No Deliverance, the other song being Flower. At my show they played five (5) songs. Your source is mistaken.

    From Rubberneck
    Mexican Hairless
    Happy Face
    I Burn
    Possum Kingdom
    Mister Love
    I Come From the Water

    From HB/SA
    Little Sin
    Pressed Against the Sky
    Plane Crash
    Push the Hand

    From No Deliverance
    So Long Lovey Eyes
    No Deliverance
    Song I Hate
    Man of Stone
    Hell in High Water

  • Great. Now I DO regret having to miss the Toadies show.

  • Robert Duffy

    I think wanting to know the set lists for bands who have been around awhile and quesitonable new releases, then yeah, I want to know…

    Bands whose entire discographies I am a fan of, I can care less… but a band like Smashing Pumpkins, it would be good to know. Then again they’d probably just play whatever Corgan wanted that night…

  • I don’t think that I’d want to know the setlist before I went to the show. That’d be like reading the last chapter of a book first. Maybe there were some boring passages during the long slog to the finish line. But, hopefully, the payoff makes it worth it.

    I think if you are only going to a show to see a song or two, you should probably just save the cash. Treat yourself to dinner or something.

    In the case of Superchunk, one of my top 5 or so favorite bands, I highly doubt that they work from a predetermined setlist. Their catalog is immense. Between their abundant official releases and EPs, their singles/b-side collections, and their fanclub type limited releases they are rivaling the likes of Bob Pollard in the prolific department.

    I don’t think that you can blame them for their disappointment that they didn’t hone in more on the 1 album that you are most familiar with. However, I’m surprised that you were not pleases with the rest of the set, as their sound has not varied largely over the years. Even the later songs, more heavily produced on the studio albums, seem to blend well with earlier material in a live setting.

  • shmoopatties

    Hell no. I hate knowing the setlist in advance. I go out of my way to avoid knowing what they have played lately or what they’re playing this tour. It’s like trying to avoid sportscenter when you have the game TIVOed. It’s all about the experience and not about the specifics. For that matter I don’t want to know the setlist AFTER the show, most of the time. I’ve seen some bands 10-12 times and couldn’t name one of their songs, though I can usually sing along to 1 or 2. Utterly unimportant.

  • Isn’t it the spontaneity that fans have come to enjoy from their favorite bands?…Knowing the setlist only make for a predictable and somewhat boring performance….