Our biggest hits!

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Bent Fabric
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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby Bent Fabric » 08 Jun 2018, 21:38

Davey the Fat Boy wrote:My wife is a cruel judge.


You're a Dad. I know from my own experience that you play some extremely rough houses with "the dinner band."

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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby Bent Fabric » 08 Jun 2018, 21:44

Charlie O. wrote:I totally get what you're saying, and I'd probably be the same as you, but... on the other hand, it's all performance, right? The typical comedian says essentially the same stuff every night, and they might play around with the phrasing and timing, but... if they notice that a particular joke consistently gets a laugh when they do it this way as opposed to that way, then they're probably gonna be more likely to do it this way from now on. Pretty much the same principle, no?


I don't know. Maybe?

We saw Dave Chappelle about 2.5 years ago. Fucking amazing.

He did several nights (two houses per night) in town, and I talked to friends who had seen other performances, and our comparisons yielded SOME amount of common material, but also any number of elements that were unique. Something about good stand-up seems "fluid" (right?)...like it probably HAS to be fluid to some extent to even work. It's a canvas that allows (demands?) a certain flexibility.

Also, it bears mentioning that most of Paul McCartney's stories barely yield a single telling...he's my guy, but it's like watching my Dad tell a joke.

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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby Quaco » 08 Jun 2018, 21:56

The case of Donovan is ridiculous. At every show, he introduces the new performance of "Hurdy Gurdy Man" as -- for the first time ever! -- featuring a never-before-heard verse written by Beatle George Harrison when they were together back in India. In actuality, this verse first appeared on a live album back in the early '70s. So, not only is he repeating the same patter each night, it's a blatant untruth!
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Davey the Fat Boy
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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 08 Jun 2018, 22:18

Bent Fabric wrote:
Charlie O. wrote:I totally get what you're saying, and I'd probably be the same as you, but... on the other hand, it's all performance, right? The typical comedian says essentially the same stuff every night, and they might play around with the phrasing and timing, but... if they notice that a particular joke consistently gets a laugh when they do it this way as opposed to that way, then they're probably gonna be more likely to do it this way from now on. Pretty much the same principle, no?


I don't know. Maybe?

We saw Dave Chappelle about 2.5 years ago. Fucking amazing.

He did several nights (two houses per night) in town, and I talked to friends who had seen other performances, and our comparisons yielded SOME amount of common material, but also any number of elements that were unique. Something about good stand-up seems "fluid" (right?)...like it probably HAS to be fluid to some extent to even work. It's a canvas that allows (demands?) a certain flexibility.


I work in hospice. For several months I used to visit an old guy with dementia. He wouldn’t remember anything from one visit to another, but he was like clockwork in that he’d respond to virtually anything you’d say or do the same way. If you asked him about a car he used to have, he’d tell the same story. If you mentioned drinking, he’d make the same exact joke.

I enjoyed seeing the guy. But after a while I started challenging myself by trying to turn our visits into a “tight 25”by honing the whole thing into the best possible visit for him - incorporating all of the hits and discarding all of the fluff.

To anyone watching from week to week, it probably seemed repetitious as hell. But I was fully engaged.

I often think...that’s probably how standup comics see their work.
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Bent Fabric
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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby Bent Fabric » 08 Jun 2018, 22:39

Quaco wrote:Donovan is ridiculous.


His own mother would surely not dispute this.

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Sneelock
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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby Sneelock » 08 Jun 2018, 23:08

agreed. Also, he has thick skin. He's been doing whatever the fuck he wants for a good long time. I know people who won't fork over the big bucks to see him unless they think he'll satisfy their inner playlist. I know others who think anything he does is okay with them.

Look at Lou Reed. towards his end he was doing artsy fartsy evenings and would tell people to fuck off if they didn't like it. When I saw Dylan I recognized precious few of the songs he performed. the next day I recognized most songs on the set list. I had a great time anyway.

I guess I think the audience should be a factor but I really admire the artists who seem to get away with being pretty oblivious to all that.
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Davey the Fat Boy
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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 08 Jun 2018, 23:49

I dunno. I saw Dylan and Leonard Cohen within a week of each other in 2012...same venue even. Dylan was clearly attempting to give something to the audience, but it wasn’t his songs. He seemed to take more pride in being a bandleader. All of his energy was directed towards directing them. My wife left the show asking me to explain again what it is I like about Dylan.

By contrast, Cohen did a set that seemed designed by his fans. Not a cheesy oldies show - but a long and winding overview of his career, with the most loved songs treated as if this was the only time he was ever going to sing them. He exhibited total generosity to his audience - seemingly thankful for the opportunity to host them for an evening. It felt like watching a master class.

As with the description of Sparks earlier in the thread...I think it’s mostly about gratitude. I don’t think it’s that hard to connect with a song over time. To some degree, it’s about wanting to, isn’t it?
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Bent Fabric
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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby Bent Fabric » 09 Jun 2018, 00:54

Davey the Fat Boy wrote:
I DO know. I was strangely hung up on this exact thing when I was playing. So much so, that I used to feel like I needed to have a new song for every show.

I played a lot in those days. So it pushed me to write something new every week. I would even find myself panicked in the car on the way to a gig, scrambling for a last minute idea that I would then improvise live on stage. There were a lot of songs like that...gone as quickly as they came, because I’d promptly forget them after the show.

I’m sure some of them were weak as hell, but people still bring up a bunch of them and assure me that they were good. So who knows?

Let’s see Paul Simon try that!


My obsessions are what they are, and...perhaps in this age of hyper-documented experience, I have no small justification in idealizing what you just described. Not just a performance or an experience or a moment, but..a song that goes straight into the ether after its single use. If you happened to be there, you heard it.

I'm probably not quite that hardcore, but...I do my part.

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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby Sneelock » 09 Jun 2018, 01:05

I had the privilege of seeing Lonesome Lenny a couple of times and they were both extraordinary evenings. there is no doubt that being served up songs you already love by people who seem to enjoy playing them to you - there's nothing like it.

but, clearly Leonard Cohen got something out of it. His shows were warm like sitting around the fire. the time I saw Dylan wasn't warm but it was something. the minute his lips touched his harmonica I knew it was a moment I'd never forget. Maybe it wasn't warm but there's still some fire there.
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Davey the Fat Boy
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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 09 Jun 2018, 01:17

Oh sure. He’s fascinating. I’d pay to watch him do his dishes.
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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby Bent Fabric » 13 Jun 2018, 05:53

Bent Fabric wrote:I'm going to see ZZ Top with John Fogerty supporting next week...


Holy fucking shit!

John Fogerty for president!

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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby fange » 13 Jun 2018, 06:25

Still got the magic?
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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby Bent Fabric » 13 Jun 2018, 12:42

fange wrote:Still got the magic?


And then some.

Even a funny sounding word like "gusto" probably understates the power, enthusiasm, etc. with which he attacks/embraces his performance. What do you say about someone like that? He's "full of beans"? I'd always heard good things, but it was hard not to be shocked by the sheer mojo.

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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby bobzilla77 » 15 Jun 2018, 22:57

As an audience member who sees a lot of old musicians, I'd say the desired ratio of new to old, or familiar to unfamiliar, really depends on the artist. I'll try and bear with them.

When I saw Bowie on the Reality tour I really liked the fact that he seemed to have cherry picked the best songs from his recent albums & featured quite a few of them, in between songs we knew and loved. My wife, who's a bigger fan than I, thought he should have done more old stuff. Around the same time, I saw Pere Ubu do a set of almost all songs I wasn't familiar with, from their 1990 and later albums, and really enjoyed it.

I also liked Neil Young & Crazy Horse on the Greendale tour, doing a full 100 minute community theater production of songs we'd never heard before, with a hard-to -follow story line, followed by roughly an hour of the hits. I know the Slider said seeing that done acoustically was a terrible experience, fair enough. A few years earlier I'd taken my wife to see him and I loved the show, full of favorite songs of mine from his whole career. When she asked me "Is it normal for him to not play ANY of his popular songs at a concert?" I laughed, and then realized she was right. The casual Neil fan who knew him from listening to the radio would only have known "Harvest Moon" on the setlist. There was no "Helpless", "CInnamon Girl", "Ohio", "Hey Hey My My", "Needle...", "After the Gold Rush", "Like A Hurricane", "Southern Man", "Down By The River", "Heart of Gold", "Sugar Mountain" or even "Rockin In The Free World" to be found.

But then just the other day I wrote about seeing Paul Simon in 2001, and it felt like 3/4 of the songs he did were both unfamiliar and kind of dull. I walked out of that show despite considering myself a fan.

When I saw the Who in 2006 doing a surprising amount of brand new songs from Endless Wire, I could tell that THEY were most fired up about their new material, and it was good to hear something different from a very Groundhog Day kind of band - one that had been doing 75% of the same setlist every time they played from 1975 on. But I probably wouldn't have gone to see them do that set a second time.

One of the times I saw Buzzcocks they seemed to focus on their new album for the first half hour of the set before reverting to classics, and I can relate to that feeling of "finally, something is coming alive here!" Not because the new stuff was terrible, but because hearing favorite songs from the past, played in the moment, can be a magical experience. By contrast, the time I saw them do nothing but Love Bites and Another Music... in entirety, followed by an encore of early singles, was total bliss.

So... I dunno. I think we should get SOME of the songs we know and love when shelling out for a favorite old timer. What ratio, how old, it's hard to set any rules.
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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby sloopjohnc » 15 Jun 2018, 23:05

I saw Desmond Dekker years ago at small club. He did his hits and was off the stage in an hour with hardly a second to spare.

I think it depends on the artist too. I saw the Buzzcocks on their reunion tour and I basically just wanted to hear Singles Going Steady with a smattering of A Different Kind of Tension.

I give C&W, folk or Americana artists a lot more leeway and am open to hearing new stuff for some reason.
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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby bobzilla77 » 15 Jun 2018, 23:21

And then as a musician, well, I just finished an 18 date tour of Europe.

Our band doesn't have "hits" but there are some people at the gigs who know our old albums. We ended up doing mostly songs from the new album, four from the first album and two from the second album. Generally, it was the same set every night, tweaked just a little - for the Italian hardcore band festival, we focused on all our uptempo songs and cut the prog epic. At the stoner festival, we cut some of the fast stuff and extended the prog epic. Sometimes we cut songs because the singer's voice was in trouble and those were the hardest ones to sing. The night my drum set was in a space about six inches too small, we cut the one where I go up and down the toms over and over again, jsut because it would have been difficult to perform in that space.

I do LIKE playing new stuff. One reason is, I know by the time our next album comes out we will be cutting the set list again to make room for even newer stuff, so I want that material to have a chance to get an airing in its prime time. There are songs we have rarely if ever played live, and I feel like some of those could have been showstoppers if we'd kept at them. I hate missed opportunities.

It might seem like hard work to get excited about playing the same stuff every night but I honestly don't find that to be the case. Remember, my commitment is different than that of a fan - I don't expect anyone to listen to the same thing 18 or 30 or 85 days in a row. But I expect a touring band that's 85 days into a 100 date tour to be on fire for me, the night I go.

The listener also didn't practice listening to those songs for months in advance, like I practiced playing them. All that practice was not for nothing... I want to come out there and blow the audience AWAY, take the top of their heads clean off. I want to express myself fully and make that expression deeply felt in the recipients. And that is most likely to happen when I am in good physical shape, well prepared and well rehearsed. It's not a matter of mentally tuning out after playing the thing 15 times in a row - by then, I'm so familiar with the changes, and the parts, mine and everyone else's, that I can fuck with it, try a different kind of drum fill to accelerate into the chorus. I'm past the point of thinking about it - I am living inside it, in a way that wasn't possible when I was still worried about remembering all the changes.

There's certain SONGS I don't especially like doing, and they'll bug me whether we do them once in a while or every night. Maybe the beauty of never having had a hit, is that I'm not mandated to do those songs!
Jimbo wrote:I guess I am over Graham Nash's politics. Hopelessly naive by the standards I've molded for myself these days.

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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby Bent Fabric » 15 Jun 2018, 23:59

A friend of mine last night was talking about having seen Beck at the end of a lengthy touring cycle for Odelay. It was a show full of "fun" and all of this sort of well calculated, well honed excitement and lively content, but the artist/band was apparently way the fuck over the whole thing. He said it was such a palpable clock punching that he actually felt mostly sympathy for the performer(s). It sounded like "seeing KISS on a bad night."

I, on the other hand, had seen him at the very beginning of that tour (which started in clubs) and it was positively electric. My enthusiasm and esteem for the artist is now long dimmed, but the fond memory of catching an entertainer at a certain flashpoint of freshness is evergreen (there were songs in the act that wouldn't make it to wax for another 3 years...I well remember looking for them everywhere in the meantime).

The contrast speaks for itself, but the more tired end of it may may point up some very basic necessities shared by many a touring musician. Length of tour, length of legs, rotation of material...I see people taking some act on the road for a limited number of dates over a small amount of time, possibly with some wiggle room to swap repertoire around (this seems kind of huge, really), all of these things that would seemingly stave off the sheer drudgery of the 500th near-consecutive repetition of the same two hours.

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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby bobzilla77 » 16 Jun 2018, 00:19

Yeah I certainly can't claim my experience of doing three weeks on the road is equivalent to Beck's at the time of Odelay.

The longest stint I ever did was with Mike Watt, five weeks in Europe followed by seven in the US with a 4 day break in the middle, otherwise playing or travelling every single day. I remember being pretty spun by the end of that. But I still liked the material, and still took pride in delivering it to the best of my ability, during those last few gigs. During our fall tour, we learned a number of different songs for the encores, which alternated at Mike's whims, so that helped it be a slightly different show night to night.

I kind of like the idea of what Neil Young is doing lately, or what Prince did towards the end of his life, just book a handful of gigs with not much advance notice, and go do 'em. Then when they're done, book a few more. Maybe you do a few with Crazy Horse, the next few solo acoustic, and then play festivals with Willie's Kids. That way, the shit never gets old or feels like drudgery. I noted when I got back that "while at home, one dreams of adventure and when on an adventure, one dreams of home." Doing it like that, you're never totally stuck at home with nothing to prepare for, and you're never stuck on the road for very long. That seems like a nice gig life.
Jimbo wrote:I guess I am over Graham Nash's politics. Hopelessly naive by the standards I've molded for myself these days.

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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby Bent Fabric » 16 Jun 2018, 00:36

I'm definitely sympathetic to the person who has a treadmill like existence in this area - when we'd gone to see Fogerty/ZZ Top earlier this week, it was at this beautiful outdoor park/pavilion in "the moneyed suburbs" that has a seasonal roster (there's footage on YouTube of the Association playing there at the prime of their career, and I suspect it's where the lighter jazz/folk type fair has always lived...Jackson Browne has likely had keys to the joint on his keychain for 40 years..ditto Manhattan Transfer). Anyhow - I notice they get a lot of the same acts as, say, the Seattle Zoo, and there are nostalgia packages that reliably come through annually in different configurations. I'm sure the Go-Gos broke up, in part, to get out from under seeing the same stages and dressing rooms year after year.

One of the coming attractions we saw on a poster was a nostalgia bill with B-52s, Culture Club and "Thompson Twins Tom Bailey". Now...you can't tell me that's not a slog for "Thompson Twins Tom Bailey". I can name three songs at an absolute stretch, and...it looked grim for performer and artist alike. I can't imagine there's any "We're really gonna mix it up tonight" there. The closing number (assuredly "Hold Me Now") is not built for "we change the feel up, depending on our mood" type improvisational choices.

At the other end of that...absolutely, if you aren't quite so literally singing for your supper...this business of doing a concise number of dates in some semi-reliable rhythm of two or three times a year seems like (as you say) a real mastery of the various imperatives that drive a person to perform.

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Re: Our biggest hits!

Postby bobzilla77 » 16 Jun 2018, 00:49

For somebody like that whose career path is playing their couple of old hits over and over... well I wouldn't want to guess if it's tough for him. You'd think it is. It was hearing those couple Thompson Twins songs over and over that made me completely lose interest in them. Playing them night after night all summer feels like it must be the torture equivalent to the fucking Rack.

But playing music is such a gas. Playing something you created and seeing people respond to it, I'm not sure if that ever gets old. Like I said, I don't expect the audience to listen to the same thing every night without complaint but I do expect the artist to play it every night without complaint.

I sometimes do wish I'd had one hit. Or like Thompson Twins Tom Bailey, three to four. It would allow options.
Jimbo wrote:I guess I am over Graham Nash's politics. Hopelessly naive by the standards I've molded for myself these days.