For a Point of View–Setlists

As a teacher of history, one of my big goals for my students is to understand perspective, or how one’s point of view shapes how someone sees or thinks about an event.  I teach them to find multiple perspectives on an event, a person, a time period in order to come to their own conclusions.  Lately, I have been trying hard to do that outside of my classroom but in real life.  It isn’t easy to do as so many/most/almost all/all of us want to jump to snap judgements based on OUR OWN perspective without thinking of how someone else might see a situation.  Thus, I find myself stopping those initial judgements in order to think from someone’s else point of view.  I have been trying to do that with my students, with my colleagues, with my family, with my friends and even with Duran Duran.  I did that just last week when I watched the latest Katy Kafe and John said that they weren’t planning on changing up the setlist for the US Tour.  Before I reacted too much, I stopped and thoughts about how he must see the setlist, how some fans might see the setlist versus other fans, etc.  Here is my attempt to see it from multiple perspectives.

John Taylor’s Perspective

Now, I have no idea really WHY John might want to keep the setlist as it is but here’s is what I imagined he might be thinking.  First, the setlist worked well in the UK.  From everything I saw and heard, the reviews from the shows there were nothing but fabulous.  If it isn’t broken, why fix it?  Second, the band, the supporting players, the crew all know the setlist now and have gotten comfortable with it.  There is a better chance that these upcoming shows will rock because of this level of comfort and from all the practice the setlist has received.  There is also no need for additional practice before the tour starts allowing more time to rest, relax, be with family, be at home, work on other projects, etc.  Lastly, he might also feel that the most recent setlist is the best way to showcase the latest album, Paper Gods, without alienating those fans who came just to hear the hits.  All of these reasons make a great deal of sense to me.  I definitely understand why he might not want to mix up the setlist.

Some Fans’ Perspective

Some fans might definitely LOVE the idea of keeping the same setlist as the one used in the UK in the fall.  First, maybe, some fans desperately want to hear the songs on the setlist.  Maybe their favorite song is on it and a change in the setlist might mean that they don’t hear it.  For example, the band was playing a brief snippet of New Moon on Monday.  For many fans, they are dying to hear that live as they figured that they never would.  EVER.  For other fans, they don’t get to see Duran Duran live much.  Perhaps, for them, the setlist doesn’t really matter all that much.  They are so appreciative of seeing the band at all that they aren’t going to even give the setlist another thought.  They don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth or be ungrateful.  Again, these are good reasons for wanting to keep the setlist the same!

Other Fans’ Perspective

Other fans might see the lack of any change with the setlist for the upcoming US tour to be problematic or disappointing.  Some fans do attend more than one show.  They want the shows they are present at to be different, unique.  If each show is no longer special, some of those fans will choose not to go to multiple shows in the future.  This will definitely affect the band in a couple of different ways.  First, they will sell less concert tickets.  Second, the crowds will feel very, very different.  Now, at each show, there are always fans who meet up with other fans at multiple shows.  This creates an increase in energy and enthusiasm as fans get excited not only to see the show but also to see/meet friends.  This energy gets fed back to the band on stage, which probably make the shows better, both for the band and for the audience.  Better, more fun shows, in turn leads people to want to go to more shows, whether that is now or in the future.  That seems like a good thing to me!  What if there are people, for this tour, who have tickets to multiple shows, and they go to the concerts hoping for something new and they don’t get it.  Instead of being excited at those shows, they might become bored, frustrated.  I think that could have a huge impact on the enjoyment for everyone else, including the rest of the crowd and for the band.

Conclusion

I absolutely admit that I’m one of those who goes to multiple shows.  I often get asked, “Why do you go to more than one show?  Aren’t they all the same?”  At those moments, I take a deep breath and begin to explain WHY I go to multiple shows.  I tell the person about how each show can be so different and that Duran Duran can mix up their set lists.  I explain how even an additional new song or two can really change the feel of a show or a tour.  Let me give an example.  When Rhonda and I saw the band play Secret Oktober in Brighton in 2011, it set the tone.  We knew that show and the tour was going to be amazing and they were.  That moment convinced me to fight any and all jet lag and just have a ton of fun.  Do I worry about how much fun people will have if Duran doesn’t change the setlist up at all for the upcoming tour?  I do.  I worry about all the reasons I mentioned.  Thus, I have to say my conclusion remains the same as it initially was.  Duran Duran should mix up the setlist some for the upcoming US Tour or for any tour, for that matter.  While I can appreciate the band’s possible perspective or the perspectives of other fans who want the setlist as is, I still think, in the end, changing it up some during the tour is best for everyone.  This doesn’t necessarily mean having a completely different setlist each night but switching it up a bit would help to keep people on their toes and excited!

-A

6 thoughts on “For a Point of View–Setlists”

  1. I agree 100%, they should mix up the set list more. I appreciate the “perspectives” approach but I do have a hard time seeing this from the band’s point of view solely because they have changed them up in the past. The example I always cite is the 2001 “Up Close” tour. I saw them 3 nights in a row (twice in NYC, and then in CT). They changed up about 1/3 of the set each night. That lineup drew from the old stuff and mixed in some Pop Trash since that was the most recent album.

    Even the Astronaut tour changed it up (not as much as Up Close, but still)…I recall many of the new songs being rotated (Want you more and Chains comes to mind–they would do one or the other depending on the show).

    People (including me!) likely blame Nick (“The Controller”) as the reason they don’t mix it up but Nick was there too in 2001! So I don’t understand why or how that lineup could change things up but the more recent lineups cannot, or choose not. And I’m not even asking for them to play the 90s stuff–I completely understand why they ignore some of those albums (even though I wish they wouldn’t!). I don’t think it’s too much for fans to ask that the band be prepared to play anything from the first 3 albums, anything on Greatest, and on Paper Gods. That alone would provide ample material to make for better set lists night to night and improve the experience for fans who go to multiple shows.

    I realize I am ignoring the obvious–the guys are pushing 55-60 years old and it is just easier to keep things the same –so maybe that plays into it, as tough as it is to acknowledge (because if we acknowledge them getting older…that means we are too!!!).

    1. Maybe it does have something to do with age?! I saw someone else mention that it feels like laziness. I don’t know why they don’t want to mix up the setlist beyond the guesses in the blog. I just know that it makes me *less* excited for the tour and that makes me sad. -A

  2. My first reaction was that I wish they would change the setlist for the US tour, as I was lucky to see them twice last year (although one show was not part of the official tour). Then I realized that wasn’t quite fair, because I was so incredibly excited to hear NMOM and IDWYL last year…why shouldn’t the US tour have that same benefit? I’m going to three shows on the US tour so I may wish for more variety in April but at the end of the day, it’s still a Duran Duran show and I’m happy to be there. And you never know – their setlist plans could change between now and then!

    1. Maybe the US audience should get to hear NMOM and IDWYL but what about the rest of the setlist. That could be mixed up, right? I hope you are right. The plans could change between now and the US tour. -A

  3. I have seen them 13 times (and the Power Station once), and I for one am sick of “HLTW”, “Rio”, “White Lines”, and “Notorious.” I can tolerate “GOF” but I wouldn’t care if they didn’t play it. I loved the shows (mostly in the late ’90s and the Reunion Tour) in which they played some more ‘obscure’ songs from the ’81-’84 era. If they could just slip in one, for the love of God! Come on.

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