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Monday, September 06, 2004

Set List Settled!

One of the annoying things that comes with running a band is the responsibility for coming up with the set list, the list of songs to play at the show. Unlike some bands, we play almost a different list every time we perform. This is because we have a wide variety of music, from soft to loud, mellow to hardcore, acoustic to distorted, and the venue dictates what will go over best (I've learned this the hard way).

With the advent of email as a way to communicate with band members, I've taken to emailing set lists out to the crew, and revising them as necessary.

This upcoming gig has been a real challenge, though. We're playing with a blues harmonica virtuoso who's never played with us before. I arranged the initial set list to include a heavy number of original and cover blues tunes, and some Zeppelinesque songs that sound good with harmonica. I sent him a CD to listen to. He emailed me a message that he didn't want to play on any of the blues tunes, but picked an unusual trio of songs that I wasn't anticipating. And he wants to do them all at the beginning. And one song is the one I had pegged to be our "closer". So, out go the heavy blues tunes (some of them).

Then there's the issue of playing with my daughter, since this event is a parent/child themed event. Not that I need that excuse, since I like the way she plays and she fills us out nicely. But she's playing acoustic guitar when I play bass, and bass when I play guitar. So we want to minimize switching back and forth.

But some of the songs that the harmonica guy wants to do are ones where my daughter plays bass and...

Well you get the picture. The emails have been flying back and forth with almost daily revisions of the song list, moving things on and off the list, beginning to end, etc. And on top of this, my daughter is trying to learn the stuff, and I can't commit to which songs she'll play.

Then there was last nights rehearsal, in my basement, where I think we sounded the best we have ever sounded (there's something to playing with the same guys over and over...). The extra guitar (or bass) that my daughter played really added to things, and we tried out a few songs that we haven't played before, and they sounded great.

So this afternoon I wrote out a completely different list, which includes never-before played songs from my solo album and a blues tune from Ruby Harris, and I'll try to sucker the harmonica player into playing on that one. If you're in town September 12, stop by the JCC. This is going to be a great show.

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