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  1. #1
    Beloved Glenn's Avatar
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    02.13.15 @ 08:56 AM
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    This question has been brewing for awhile, mostly due to statements made by both Hain23X and Sir Loonsalot().

    In my collecting of bootlegs it's pretty clear that no matter what the era, Van Halen stuck to a very similar setlist during any particular tour. Of course there are a few bands that vary the setlist quite a bit night to night, but Van Halen don't seem to be one of those bands. Why is that?

    Not being a musician, I really have no idea why a band that has a hundred songs or more would go out and play only 25 of them for 6 months straight. And always open with the same song. Is it just a confidence thing; you know a certain song works as an opener (Unchained or Poundcake), so you just stick with it? Or is it just a matter of the grind of the road putting the band on auto-pilot to some degree, and it just becomes easier to play the songs you're so familiar with night after night?

    This isn't meant to be a negative thing, just wondering.

  2. #2
    Atomic Punk MikeL's Avatar
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    03.03.15 @ 08:31 PM
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    Could it be that they enjoy playing some songs more than others? I really don't know.

  3. #3
    Sinner's Swing! jimmy's Avatar
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    04.29.16 @ 07:05 AM
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    I know Sam always talked about how the lights were "cued" a certain way for certains songs, so it was tough to change the tunes, becuase then it screws the lighting people up. Videos are made for certain songs, so they're a must.

    But most of all, I think that they can only play so many tunes in 2 hours and they've got a collection of 20-30 tunes that always provide the crowd with a great show. I guess the order in which the tunes are played, isn't just off the top of their heads, but it's a methodical approach to working a crowd up into a frenzy. With that being said, some tunes do just that. Imagine a show without "hey, hey, hey" from Ain't Talkin' or that low rubling sound at the begining of "Why Can't This Be Love" that brings a smile to Hagar Era fans faces and make DLR junkies wanna puke!

    If they played every tune I wanted to hear, it would be a lot of the hits, with a hearty handful of tunes that we don't get to hear alot. Of couse this last tour with Gary was a great setlitst for my tastes. Yet, the casual fans were like, "what the fuck is "baby please, I can't take it anymore....I takin' Whiskey to the..................


  4. #4
    Sinner's Swing! jimmy's Avatar
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    04.29.16 @ 07:05 AM
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    By the way Glenn, I registered one month earlier than you, and you s have like 5,000 more posts than me!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've really been slacking around here!!!!!!!!! LOL

  5. #5
    Beloved Glenn's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by jimmy:
    By the way Glenn, I registered one month earlier than you, and you s have like 5,000 more posts than me!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've really been slacking around here!!!!!!!!! LOL<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>All I ask is for a little effort.



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  6. #6
    Beloved Glenn's Avatar
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    I have the Later With Bob Costas interview on tape from 1992 and in it Eddie mentions their live show and says "it really isn't even a show, we just go out there and blow". He meant that they just played off the top of their heads, which I would say isn't true at all, at least when it comes to the setlist itself. It seems like at that time you could pretty much be sure the shows would start with Poundcake, go into Judgement Day, and then either Runaround or When It's Love.

    It didn't really occur to me that it could have anything to do with the lighting sequences. Maybe that does have something to do with it. Now, I know nothing about the work of the lighting people, but you'd think they'd be prepared for anything.

    One of the reasons I'm thinking about this is this. If VH tours and does a full tour of Canada, they'll play both Edmonton and Calgary. While I'd love to see several shows on the tour, I'd probably only go see them in Edmonton. But if I thought they'd be playing 5 or 6 songs in Calgary that they didn't play in Edmonton, I'd be much more likely to make the road trip to see them again. Anyway, looking forward to more thoughts on this.

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  7. #7
    Loons
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    Hmmm...I really don't buy the 'lighting' talk. And not to pick sides,but I think Van Rothin' always varied their setlist bettah than Van Hagar. Maybe I'm scarred from going to 2 shows in 2 nights back in '95--two of the same shows it turns out.

    But Dave has always had a way of making each concert uh,...'unique.' I loved their setlist on the Diver Down tour and I have no complaints about the early tours(especially the club days--IMO the best setlists of all time!!!!!!) but the '84 tour they seemed to have gotten into a lil' setlist funk...but the surprizes are always there...whether it was Dave and a hilarious quote or Ed and a wicked cool riff,etc.

    It seems Van Hagar(not tryin' to piss anyone off,just 'attempting' to be clear) played the FUCK setlist for three tours almost.

    I like it when a band changes what tunes they play at least a lil'. Kinda the same great songs with some surprizes,some new ones,and a custom fit for the venue and city or country.

    It cracked me up on one live gig when Dave said something to the affect of We got some new,some old songs to play and all kinda new fookin' around in between. Sign me up!

  8. #8
    Eruption
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    12.31.69 @ 04:00 PM
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    Led Zeppelin was another band that gave you a different show every time.
    And I'm not talking about just one or two different songs. Different openers,closers,always a different solo from Page.
    That's why Zeppelin bootlegs are so huge. I have yet to hear an identical version of 2 bootleg Zeppelin shows from the same tour. And I have listened to over 100 Zep boots at least.
    My favorites are from the 1973,1977 shows.

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  9. #9
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    12.31.69 @ 04:00 PM
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    Pearl Jam is the same way mightyvanhalen.

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  10. #10
    Atomic Punk hain23x's Avatar
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    12.11.17 @ 03:59 PM
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    lighting???

    groups like Phish and The Dead had good lighting and they mixed it up every night

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  11. #11
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    12.31.69 @ 04:00 PM
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    Hain23x----groups like Phish and the Dead suck! Just kidding!

    I think the logistics of mixing it up much are unreal. Since they keep changing singers, they would have a lot of extra rehearsing to do to be able to prepare for a show. Also, someone would need to make the calls as to which songs to play. There are possibly equipment/tuning adjustments to be made. Their lighting is VERY closely tied into the music, and I don't know if that many lighting techs can stay sharp enough to handle it every night.

    AND.....after 20+ years of performing on a large scale, they probably have a feel for 'what works', and if they can handle it for a whole tour, it must be okay.

    OR....maybe they're really lazy.

    Autopilot isn't always a bad thing....imagine scrutinizing every bump in the road on your way to work. It'd drive you nuts! Van Halen generally doesn't seem to vary from their chosen setlist much, but i HAVE seen them go apesh*t during a '95 show. Unfortunately, they were mixing up a bunch of pieces of cover songs, which, frankly, I'd rather not see or hear.

    One more thing....maybe Ray Dannnnnniels doesn't LET them sway from the formula---he's a mean, mean man!

  12. #12
    Loons
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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by MightyVanHalen:
    Led Zeppelin was another band that gave you a different show every time.
    And I'm not talking about just one or two different songs. Different openers,closers,always a different solo from Page.
    That's why Zeppelin bootlegs are so huge. I have yet to hear an identical version of 2 bootleg Zeppelin shows from the same tour. And I have listened to over 100 Zep boots at least.
    My favorites are from the 1973,1977 shows.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


    Amen,Mighty VH,amen. I love all the LA Forum badgeholder gigs from '77!!!!!! And Page and Plant carried on in much the same manner--especially in Japan they pulled out all the stops!

    I think the Stones have always had great setlist savy.

  13. #13
    Eruption phast's Avatar
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    11.09.16 @ 04:17 AM
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    I have to say that The Dead and Phish have the most varied setlists. The Dead played for 30 yrs and changed up nightly rarely playing the same song on a tour more than 3 times. AS for Phish these guys I believe can play about anything live and sound good. They are truly great and love to play cover tunes many of which are as good or better than the original. They have a tremendous amount of music in which they can play both theirs and covers.They played The Beatles White Album live in concert for a halloween show in 94.I have it on CD and it is great. I have many other shows of both the dead and phish that are great. As for VH I can't really tell you maybe it started with dave forgetting lyrics and maybe it started with Sammy cause they didn't have many tunes the first tour and he didn't dig singing Dave's tunes. But really I have no idea.

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  14. #14
    Super Duper Frontman track 5's Avatar
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    Well speakin' from someone that has played a little in his day, and can undertand why they do that, I'll say this. It's kinda like a football playbook, you have a shit load of plays, but you stick to what works best EVERY time. I mean you work up about 50 or 60 songs that you can play, but you stick with about 30 or so. Yes the lighting and "fluff" goes with the timeing of everything. You set up a "set of songs," and you can play them in your sleep. No thinking about what's next, you just run with it. Now that being said, I've always thought that a group should have 3 set list's. Change about every three or four shows. You keep the bread and butter in your list, but you throw a little extra gravy on the meal from time to time. You should have about 6 to 10 songs that you mix up every third night or so. I'm sure that I'm not making any sense here, but for the ones that have played a set ot two in their day, they will understand what I'm talking about. Oh and yes I did think that VH did kind of play the same show over and over again. They did it with Dave, Sammy, and Gary. But I understand why they did that. Alrighty then, t5 should just shut the hell up. LOL. Out

  15. #15
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    12.31.69 @ 04:00 PM
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    I dont know about all that T5 but if it was my band I would play whatever the hell I felt like at the time. Screw the lights because thats all bullshit anyway. If we want to open with "amsterdamn" then we'll do it, if we want to close with "Ice Cream Man" then we'll do that.

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