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Thread: Why such a boring set list?

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    Why such a boring set list?

    We'll see what Germany brings tomorrow night, but last night's opening show of the European tour saw almost no change in ARW's set. Why do they keep playing the same thing, after two years? Possible answers:

    1) They're lazy...? Is it just that they don't want to put the time in to learning/re-learning some other pieces? But then why a long rehearsal period?

    2) They can't agree on what to play...? The challenge the band has always had is that they don't have a natural body of music to call their own as Rabin and Wakeman were never together before. They've ruled out themselves anything that two of them weren't originally on (with the exception of TYA), so that already cuts out some choices. So is it that Rabin isn't interested in the Howe-original songs Wakeman might want to play, and Wakeman isn't interested in the Kaye-original songs Rabin might? Or maybe Anderson is the picky one?

    3) Populism...? The set is largely full of greatest hits stuff. Do they just think that's what audiences want? Although surely there's enough alternative popular songs they could do.

    4) They struggle to play other material...? Could they just find other obvious choices difficult? There are a few pieces Anderson's voice these days wouldn't be able to do. It seems less likely that Rabin or Wakeman can't manage. Maybe Anderson can't remember the words?

    5) They're busy...? Maybe there's lots of material they'd happily do and readily master, but it's just that Anderson is running around doing 1000 Hands, Wakeman has his Piano Portraits sequel... is Rabin doing some more scoring?

    I think it's lazy of us to presume (1) is the answer, as some do. (5) is more plausible. I wonder about (3): Anderson and Wakeman seem to err on the side of populist set lists. I also wonder about (2): the band are united by friendship rather than a love for each other's music.

    Henry
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    Insane Yesfan ragtime's Avatar
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    Re: Why such a boring set list?

    Quote Originally Posted by bondegezou View Post
    We'll see what Germany brings tomorrow night, but last night's opening show of the European tour saw almost no change in ARW's set. Why do they keep playing the same thing, after two years? Possible answers:

    1) They're lazy...? Is it just that they don't want to put the time in to learning/re-learning some other pieces? But then why a long rehearsal period?

    2) They can't agree on what to play...? The challenge the band has always had is that they don't have a natural body of music to call their own as Rabin and Wakeman were never together before. They've ruled out themselves anything that two of them weren't originally on (with the exception of TYA), so that already cuts out some choices. So is it that Rabin isn't interested in the Howe-original songs Wakeman might want to play, and Wakeman isn't interested in the Kaye-original songs Rabin might? Or maybe Anderson is the picky one?

    3) Populism...? The set is largely full of greatest hits stuff. Do they just think that's what audiences want? Although surely there's enough alternative popular songs they could do.

    4) They struggle to play other material...? Could they just find other obvious choices difficult? There are a few pieces Anderson's voice these days wouldn't be able to do. It seems less likely that Rabin or Wakeman can't manage. Maybe Anderson can't remember the words?

    5) They're busy...? Maybe there's lots of material they'd happily do and readily master, but it's just that Anderson is running around doing 1000 Hands, Wakeman has his Piano Portraits sequel... is Rabin doing some more scoring?

    I think it's lazy of us to presume (1) is the answer, as some do. (5) is more plausible. I wonder about (3): Anderson and Wakeman seem to err on the side of populist set lists. I also wonder about (2): the band are united by friendship rather than a love for each other's music.

    Henry
    I'm inclined to agree that your point 5 is the major reason, with 3 and possibly 2 as contributory factors.

    I know that as I get older I find it takes more time to learn completely new material and yet I can do stuff I did with a band I had ten years ago almost without thinking. I don't know if that has any bearing on them. They are all seasoned professionals who are still writing new stuff, so maybe that's not relevant. I think long established bands do tend to play safe and deliver the well known stuff because that's what most audiences want. It does mean that there is a gap between the rhetoric and the reality with those acts who lay claim to the "progressive" mantel.
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    Re: Why such a boring set list?

    I know when I saw them in 2016, I was just happy to hear and see them again, and didn't really care what they played. They did play HOTS, which is my personal favorite Yes song, so that made MY night! If they played all the same things again, I would be OK with that. I think they are probably playing the things they think the fans want to hear. I would be cool if they played some deeper tracks, or origiinal stuff if they come up with any, but the more casual fan would not, and they want an audience.

    I'm cool either way. I never dreamed back in 1972 I'd be hearing them beyond say, 1976, so it's just amazing to me that any of the players are still playing Yes music here in 2018!
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    Re: Why such a boring set list?

    Interesting points Henry



    Point 3 : What we on this forum think is boring may not be what the casual fan who liked Yes thinks and they may well be happy with this the same list

    ticket sales I assume will be the judge of that over time

    point 5 : you can add to that mix that Anderson's wife has been seriously ill

    Point 4 : Anderson used auto cue in 2004 tour so could use again if remembering the words was the problem



    I think point 2 maybe the issue and my gut feeling tells me Wakeman would be the stumbling block

  5. #5
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    Re: Why such a boring set list?

    I don't think it's a *boring* setlist at all, it's just the _same_ setlist. Point 1 for me. Same old Yesstory, squandered opportunities, questionable decisions. Nothing will ever change lol.
    It drives me nuts when people online don't know the difference between "your" and "you're".

    There so stupid.

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    Re: Why such a boring set list?

    I think it's a multi-tiered consideration, but to begin with I think they have tried to get as much mileage out of the two setlists as they can. And I kind of understand that in regards to various sections of the world but when you do another go-round in the same regions with mostly the same setlist, then I think it loses credibility. But that's just my opinion. On the other hand, I guess people will pay to hear mostly the same setlist year after year. I'm surely guilty of that but my justification is that I didn't see them last year and I won't see them next year, so I cannot let this opportunity go by especially since they're playing in my geographic area. But for people who have seen them multiple times (and will continue to) for going on three years now playing mostly the same setlist, then there are clearly other motivational factors involved. So why change it if it's not impacting their ability to book tours, you know? That's probably what they're thinking. No matter what else they may be promising, their primary identity is as a legacy touring band.
    Last edited by luna65; 06-04-2018 at 06:27 PM.
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    Re: Why such a boring set list?

    I don't think the focus can be solely on them for reasons why. "They're busy" makes sense but as long as a enough fans are coming from the mindset of "we're just happy that they're onstage together" and "we'll take anything they give us", then there is a relational resonance pattern that helps to create the reality of a boring set list.

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    Re: Why such a boring set list?

    I'm going with option 2. Trevor in particular has never toured with any version of YES that I am aware of without new material to draw from (or the spectacle that was Union) so it's really hard to guess all these years later what he would be interested in playing. The ARW show I saw on the first tour he was clearly the weakest link so that makes his situation all the more difficult since his role is so important in ARW.

    I've been watching ticket sales at the show I might end up going to (Dayton OH) and there are plenty of great seats available. I sure hope they mix it up a bit when they head our way but I doubt they will.

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    Re: Why such a boring set list?

    Quote Originally Posted by Enlighten View Post
    I don't think the focus can be solely on them for reasons why. "They're busy" makes sense but as long as a enough fans are coming from the mindset of "we're just happy that they're onstage together" and "we'll take anything they give us", then there is a relational resonance pattern that helps to create the reality of a boring set list.
    Exactly.

    I mean, sure, they're suspect but if there's no penalty for them doing it - even a personal one such as being bored with the same setlist - then the recursion will continue.
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    Re: Why such a boring set list?

    Quote Originally Posted by kkleinschmidt View Post
    The ARW show I saw on the first tour he was clearly the weakest link so that makes his situation all the more difficult since his role is so important in AWE
    Which makes it all the more surprising that they don't do more Yeswest material where he is an undoubted strength.
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    Re: Why such a boring set list?

    1. If they are playing "boring music to them" then what is the point? If they are not playing something exciting to them then that will pass on to the audience.

    2. If they are a tribute band then play the classics and the hits but that only lasts so long. That venue in Poland looked like it couldn't get much smaller, or any of the venues for that matter, in order to make the tour financially feasible.

    3. I can't imagine any of them drawing as many as they are now as Yes Feat.

    4. Just from what I saw on the poland concert Trevor looked and sounded great, much different than before. (at beginning of ARW tours)

    So, I will ask the same. Why? why not come out and play different songs. Songs that they want to play? Surely they must have discussed this amongst themselves to adnosium? This is not their first rodeo. They are all seasoned if not a little over seasoned professional musicians. If they are lazy then why these other projects which could not possibly be as finacially rewarding as their combined talents.
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    Re: Why such a boring set list?

    Didn’t they rehearse for a while? So are they perhaps working on songs to add to the set when they come to the states, but keeping the old set for a little while longer before deciding what to drop in favor of the new songs? (Not completely new, just new to the set)

    i find it hard to believe they will tour North America for the third time with only a few songs changed out from before.

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    Re: Why such a boring set list?

    The answer I suspect is in the context of the question

    Boring to who? - the hardcore fans (which is essentially 3.)

    That said I suspect a combination of things including most of your list

    Another probably unlikely consideration you missed is Hornal. Maybe they wanted to keep it simple and with Pomeroy absent for this leg they decided not to rehearse and or play new songs without Pomeroy. That said I think it is unlikely since both Hornal and Pomeroy are paid professionals who can be expected to learn their parts in absence and with minimal rehearsal

    I wouldn't rule out set list changes later, someone should ask!

    Personally I'll take new music over back catalogue set list variety if I had to choose

    I get the disappointment but lets be thankful we even have 'YES' let alone two and they are both playing and both up for new music
    Last edited by xlink_nz; 06-04-2018 at 08:56 PM.

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    Re: Why such a boring set list?

    In the past, at least 1987-2004, Yes would change up every tour by at least 2-3 songs, which led to Siberian Khatru, Hearts, Perpetual Change, Don't Kill The Whale, The Meeting, Close To The Edge, Turn Of The Century, Parallels, Awaken, Wondrous Stories, Going For The One, and others all being played prior to any full album tours. Howe was with all those tours, maybe he's more of the driving force behind varied set lists?

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    Re: Why such a boring set list?

    Just you wait and see.... Then behold...... Then stand back in awe....
    There is a plan......There is a reason..... Always....
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    Re: Why such a boring set list?

    I would venture to guess a combination of 2, 3 and 4.

    This is basically the Union setlist. The 70s songs are the songs Trevor is most familiar and I guess comfortable with having played those song on tour when he was in the band (with the exception now of SSotS). The 80s songs are the songs played on the Union tour and Rick is most familiar and I guess comfortable with (with the exception now of I Am Waiting).

    But I think one other important factor comes into play. One of the main reasons, at least IMO, for this outfit to be out there touring is to support Jon's stake to the legacy claim, to the throne. Trevor and Rick clearly support him in that cause, have even said so publicly. And this setlist first and foremost are Jon's personal favourite Yes songs. I guess in his heart Jon favours the 70s output I think, but with Trevor on board playing his material is inevitable. RoL and Owner have always been the songs played even without Trevor in the band. I think especially Jon sees this setlist as quinessential Yes, representative of what Yes stands for.
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    Re: Why such a boring set list?

    It's not boring, are you bored?

    Jaded? When you were young it wasn't jaded, maybe it was kinda stoned.

    Is this the world where if they brought Beethoven, J.S. Bach, Handel, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Holst, Wagner and Leonard Bernstein back and stuffed them on a tour bus people would complain that they had lost their touch?


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    Re: Why such a boring set list?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Holland View Post
    This is basically the Union setlist.
    And to think some were ready to burn me at the stake for making that observation two years ago...
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    Re: Why such a boring set list?

    That would have really messed up the 15th anniversary party.
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    Re: Why such a boring set list?

    Quote Originally Posted by Discount Ministry View Post
    Jaded? When you were young it wasn't jaded, maybe it was kinda stoned.
    Touring was a completely different proposition 20-30 years ago. I was watching a super-8 VOIO of another band the other day and I was amazed to remember how it used to be - concerts were all about new material, and the older songs were usually played in a medley in the middle of the set. Granted, Yes tended to balance the setlist between old and new, and of course what people found shocking about the Talk tour was their insistence on playing almost the entire album - because, oh, I don't know...they wanted to promote said album? Wacky, I know, but other bands used to do that kind of thing all the time.
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