Appreciating the Setlist Dilemma

For the last two weeks, our daily, or, in this case, weekly questions have focused on the setlist.  Last week, we asked people to give the top 10 Duran/Duran related songs that they wanted to hear live.  Obviously, people would want to hear more than 10 but I had to limit it in order to be consistent and in order to properly track the choices.  Then, this week, we asked which Duran/Duran related songs did people not want to hear live.  Let me clarify this question.  Clearly, any Duran is better than no Duran but there are definitely songs that people don’t like and there are songs that people are sick of (yes, obviously, this applies to those of us who are lucky enough to see multiple shows).  The reality is that Duran can only play for so long on any given night.  They have to try and appeal to both casual fans who know only the big hits and those of us diehards begging for something more obscure.  I was hoping that by asking these questions I could provide them with a real setlist that would appeal to us crazy fans.  I discovered that it really isn’t that easy to put songs in or remove songs.  Setlists are truly hard to create. 

When I asked for people’s top 10 Duran/Duran related songs to hear live, I got plenty of responses.  For the most part, I received requests for mostly Duran songs.  I suppose if I put the related songs on a different question, I would get more of those side and solo projects songs.  I didn’t, though, because this is what Duran must do.  If they put in a solo song or a song from a side project, it must go in place of a Duran song.  Thus, I chose to ask the question as I did.  Many, many, many people responded to this question.  In fact, at times, it was hard for me to keep up as I was trying to figure out not only the songs listed but how frequently each song was listed.  137 different songs were chosen!  Clearly, the band can’t play all of them.  51 of these songs were only listed by one person.  This leaves 86 songs to choose from.  86!  Most Duran setlists are 20-22 songs.  Okay, so, then, I thought I could remove the songs that people are sick of or don’t like as well, which is what I asked this week.

Of course, some people could not or did not come up with songs that they would prefer Duran didn’t play live, for whatever reason.  That said, a number of people still participated.  For that list, 72 songs were given.  Oh boy…this doesn’t appear to be an easy process.  Nonetheless, if you remove the songs that people definitely do not want to hear, I was left with 41 songs.  This is still too big.  Now, the band must take into consideration the fans who only know the hits.  In that recent interview on Loose Women, Simon mentioned about how they do about 2/3 hits and 1/3 other.  Okay.  Here is the list of 41 songs that people want to hear live.  Let’s see if it meets this criteria of percentage of hits. 

Hits/Singles:                                                                    Not Hits:
Careless Memories                                                         A Matter of Feeling
Election Day                                                                   American Science
Electric Barbarella                                                          Box Full O’Honey
Girl Panic                                                                       Beautiful Colours
Out of my Mind                                                             The Chauffeur
Skin Trade                                                                     Cracks in the Pavement
                                                                                      Cry Baby Cry
                                                                                      Faster Than Light
                                                                                      Finest Hour
                                                                                      First Impression
                                                                                      Fallen Angel
                                                                                      The Flame
                                                                                      Hold Back the Rain
                                                                                      I Believe All/I Need to Know
                                                                                      Late Bar
                                                                                      Last Chance on the Stairway
                                                                                      Love Voodoo
                                                                                      Midnight Sun
                                                                                      My Antarctica
                                                                                      (Come Up and See Me) Make Me Smile
                                                                                      None of the Above
                                                                                      Of Crime and Passion
                                                                                      Other People’s Lives
                                                                                      The Seventh Stranger
                                                                                      Shadows on Your Side
                                                                                      Salt in the Rainbow
                                                                                      She’s Too Much
                                                                                      Secret Oktober
                                                                                      Tel Aviv
                                                                                      The Edge of America
                                                                                      Too Bad You’re So Beautiful
                                                                                      The Valley

Clearly, we chose a lot more album tracks over singles.  We would need to add some singles back into the list.  Here are the singles that more people wanted to hear than didn’t: 

Do You Believe in Shame
New Moon on Monday
Perfect Day
Someone Else Not Me
Too Much Information
Violence of Summer
White Lines

If we add those back in, it is more even but there still are more album tracks to get rid of.  My point being that making setlists are hard.  Even if we were to finish making the setlist from these choices, would that make the casual fan happy?  While there are singles and hits on that list, the most well-known of their songs have been removed.  For example, way more fans wanted Rio, Girls on Film, Ordinary World, Come Undone and A View to a Kill removed than wanted to hear them.  Yet, those are some of the songs that a majority of those going to a Duran show would want to hear. 

I don’t envy the guys in trying to make a setlist that would make everyone happy.  I would argue that everyone is going to be disappointed in a setlist, except for those diehard fans who get a show for the first time.  That said, I think we, collectively, came up with a great list of album tracks/B-sides/demos that the band might want to check out and figure out a way to pick 2, 3, or 4 of them in their setlist for the summer.  It would make many of us happy!!!


7 thoughts on “Appreciating the Setlist Dilemma”

  1. Please send this to them! It MIGHT help if they KNOW what the overall findings are. And I understand they OBVIOUSLY will never have a setlist made JUST for fans. The BEST solution is to set aside about 4 songs each night in the setlist that can then be rotated. So maybe they have a total of 12 – 16 rare songs they would normally not play because of time constraints. Each night they could CHANGE which ones they pick to play. This addition of rare songs would make US all happy and CHANGING them nightly would make all those who can go to multiple shows happy, because they would get to hear several songs they don't normally hear. And the rest of the setlist could be all those hits the general public wants to hear plus some album tracks for which ever tour it is. Personally, I am still really pissed off they rehearsed all those songs in the UK and then got our hopes up and then DIDN'T PLAY ANY in MOST of the shows here! Especially after Nick teased us by saying they would pull out something special for Vegas, which actually got one LESS song than LA!!! WTBF???? So yeah, we get upset. I understand they have to try to please everyone, but throw us a BONE!

  2. *pauses to decifer what “WTBF” means* [mouths in a whisper] “What The Bloody Fu…Ok, gotcha!” 😉

    I'm in 100% agreement with you, MNT. Not much for me to add.

    But seriously…how hard is it to rotate a couple of songs each night? I could understand if Simon omitted certain songs with high-pitched notes because he was wary of straining his voice again but I would think by now he's trained himself to sing differently in order to protect his vocal cords. Is there no rehearsing time to practice these rarer songs from their catalogue?

    I would LOVE if Duran Duran did what David Bowie had done–he directly asked fans what they wanted to hear and he actually played them! There's a thought, guys: LIVE REQUESTS!!

  3. While I obviously love the idea of rotating more obscure songs, I doubt they would have be prepared to do 12-16 for any given tour. That's 12-16 songs that they would need to rehearse. They don't have to do that for songs like Rio or Girls on Film. On top of rehearsing, this would also mean that lights, visuals, etc. would need to be at the ready. I have no idea how much work this would be. While I think they should add a few more obscure tracks, I would be happy with a few. After all, there are other bands like Depeche Mode, for example, that doesn't mix up their setlists AT ALL.

    Now, you have a good point about that rehearsal show setlists. Why didn't they include them? Unless, they thought the US audience couldn't deal, which is really possible…


  4. I wonder how long it does take for them to rehearse a song, especially one that they haven't played in forever or have never played.

    I can't ever see Duran doing live requests. They are too much of control freaks for that! LOL!


  5. But they played NONE of those songs @ most of the US dates. Not even ONE. What a rip! And OK, so maybe not 12 – 16, but some of the songs on that list on the right are not so old they can't remember them with minimal rehearsal. How about 8 or 9 songs to rotate. And 3 – 4 each night can be from the list. Maybe one or two of them can even just be album cuts from AYNIN, so they HAVE rehearsed those or played them recently. Just saying, mix it up so it is not the same night to night. They KNOW they have fans who tour with them. Give them a chance to hear SOMETHING special.

  6. While I don't disagree that there are fans like us who tour with them who would LOVE something different, I also see how every crowd is made up of people who know only their hits. I should also note that we are lucky to get ANY Duran as there are many out there who don't get any shows!


  7. Bruce Springsteen did several shows of live requests…and I'm a little concerned that I know so much about his touring to begin with (I am not a fan, but you know…I read books….)

    Regardless, I do think that Duran Duran could stand to put in a few B-sides for the handful of diehards that are at a show or two. I mean really, how much different is it for the casual audience goer looking for some nostalgia that goes to one of their shows, to hear Late Bar from say….Safe? Sure, the band wants to promote the new album. I get that, and they should. That said, Safe isn't a song that is a real crowd-getter at every show, and while I know that the audience wouldn't know Late Bar, they don't know Safe either. The only advantage to playing Safe is that it's off the latest album….but you know, if they played Late Bar…or really ANY older song from their catalog, they might actually get some attention paid to their older albums/B-sides/etc. I can't see how that wouldn't ultimately benefit them.

    As far as how long it takes them to rehearse *gasp* a song…I will just offer this up for discussion: Dom Brown had 48 hours to learn what…18 songs for the Astronaut Tour?? He didn't really have much time to even rehearse the set list with the band. Talk about flying blind..and while sure, the first few times might have been rough, my point is that if they gave some of these songs any kind of rehearsal time, they'd be able to do it. I know the band is at LEAST that talented.

    The day they start playing requests at shows though is the day that I'll be leaving my regular life to tour with them. That alone should scare them out of the idea!! 😀 -R

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