Set lists are always an issue w/ me (both in my band and other bands I see). We’ve all had the experience of seeing one of our favourite bands perform, but they left out that one song you really wanted to hear (at the Soundgarden reunion, they didn’t play “Switch Opens”, but I think I might be the only guy who wanted to hear that song, both in the audience and on stage). W/ Coincidence Machine, it seems that once a list is “set”, there’s all these songs I wish were there. But if certain songs were removed to make room for these wishes, I’m certain I’d start wishing the original songs were in the set. And the solution of putting them all in there doesn’t work very well, either, as to play all the songs I want to play would mean something like a 6-hour performance. I’m not sure I could even sit through six hours of me. Not because I don’t love the music, just ‘cos there are other things I like to do, like eating pizza, for example (mmmmm, pizza).
I try to keep track of what we’ve played, and more importantly what we haven’t at each show, so I can try to include songs we’ve neglected at the next performance. However, there are sometimes constraints, like the fact that we have a CD out, and feel obligated to play a lot of material from that to give folk an idea of what they’re buying (if anyone is interested in purchasing one). It must suck for a band like Rush, who is sort of obligated to play at least half a dozen of their “hits” every show. Also, the fact that on a tour they play the same set every night. That would drive me mad.
I always have the “missed opportunity” syndrome. If we play a set that opens w/ “Shine”, I worry that “what if there are people in this audience who would love “Snow Day”, but have already written us off ‘cos they don’t like this song?”, or f we play a set w/out “Swamp”, I think “What if that would be someone here’s favourite song, if only they had heard it?”.
I’ve come to only one conclusion: I’m unable to stop myself from worrying about stupid stuff like this, so I just don’t let it interfere w/ what I’m doing anymore.