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Almost No 80s tunes in this weekend's set lists


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  • Almost No 80s tunes in this weekend's set lists

    So last night I was working out the set list for our show tonight and since we have a pool of 125+ tunes we can't play them all every show... which is a good thing. 

    After I made the set to reflect the clientele that frequents this place plus our crowd who follows us I realized I have three 80s tunes in our entire show. Sign of the times? I think so.

    Songs like Jesse, Jenny, Your Love just don't get the reaction they used to. Its something that has been happening for awhile now but we keep these songs around by request or if we know we will be playing to late 30s or 40somethings. Just thought I'd share and of course like everything... YMMV


  • #2



    • #3

      So true.  We've increasingly back-burnerned our 80's stuff for the last 2 years, and now we're doing almost nothing from the 80's.  Sure fire songs even two years ago produce zero audience reaction anymore.  We still have Jessies girl in there, and it's painful at gigs when we play it and nobody really reacts.  

      I can't wait til it's all gone.  I'm even thinking about trimming out more of the early 90's stuff as well.  I've always argued that the bar crowds aren't as stupid as many bands treat them (meaning how all bands play the same ****************ty "staples") and I think their lack of enthusiasm is a pretty strong indicator.

      I think we (local cover bands) are going to have to tailor our sets a bit better, more towards the crowd of THAT specific venue, as we continue down path of the dodo bird.  It's pretty clear at this point that live music is no longer valued, not just as it once was, but to the point that soon it seems it will no longer be valued at all.

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      • #4

        I would think that "Don't Stop Believin" defies the trend.... and we've found that "Jesses Girl" and "Your Love" still have some value with a younger crowd. We play "867-5309" on the regular, but the reaction isn't what it used to be.

        Songs like "Melt With You" and "Just Like Heaven" have both been dropped off the major playlists...


        • #5
          The thing about the 80's is bands focus on 80's rock when the real money is in 80's dance tunes a la Prince, Michael Jackson, etc...


          • Blackbird 13
            Blackbird 13 commented
            Editing a comment

            sweatpat wrote:
            The thing about the 80's is bands focus on 80's rock when the real money is in 80's dance tunes a la Prince, Michael Jackson, etc...

            To that effect.. I've noticed that while Prince's "Kiss" still works well... "Billie Jean" has lost a LOT of it's steam...

        • #6
          Sweet Caroline still kills.

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          • #7

            Interestingly, I find that when the crowd is the 18-25 demographic, 80's stuff does great.  We played to a crowd of 350 or so a couple weeks ago and EVERY request was an 80's song.  I think the late 20's - 40's crowd is more burnt out on that stuff.


            FYI - we're doing Billie Jean for the first time this weekend.  In a medley with Harlem Shake


            My band: http://www.facebook.com/thetrickydickies

            "Do or do not. There is no try" - Yoda


            • #8

              Songs from the 80's that regularly make our set:

               What I like about you

              Blister in the sun

              Add it up

              I want you to want me

              Walking on Sunshine

              Paradise city (mashed with Humpty Dance)

              Sweet Child

              Don't Stop Believing

              Living on a Prayer

              Your Love

              Jesse's Girl

              We Got The Beat

              Hey Mickey

              and on some nights Purple Rain


              All go over really well.


              My band: http://www.facebook.com/thetrickydickies

              "Do or do not. There is no try" - Yoda


              • guido61
                guido61 commented
                Editing a comment

                These conversations are funny because they always just end up underscoring the differences between bands and audiences.   How well will ANY song work?  Depends who you're playing for and how you're presenting it.

                There's no doubt that a lot of 80s stuff isn't as sure-fire as it was a couple of years ago.   That's simply a factor of the aging-out of the audience.   If your audience is much under 35, there aren't going to be many people who are familiar with that stuff beyond the over-played biggest hits.

                Doing private events, we play for a different audience every show, but we still use similar techniques and follow similar patterns to make the shows work.  One thing that's common is people at these events generally all know each other, so we capitalize on that to help rev up the audience.

                This last Monday night we played an event for a couple of hundred people for Google's Research and Development Department.  Audience was primarily computer-geeks under 35.   It looked to be a tougher audience than most, and having too much 80s stuff in the first set didn't help.  We opened with "Billie Jean" which is good for easing-into-the-night after they've had dinner, but it certainly didn't pack the dance floor.  "Your Love" was simiarily just so-so.  We use "Jessie's Girl" as an opportunity to drag some girls up on stage with us, and that always brings the cameras out, but it still wasn't kicking things into gear.  "Love Shack" didn't do much better.  So that was our first 4 songs.   Hmmmm and hmmmm...

                Time for some newer stuff:  "Bad Romance/Till The World Ends/Forget You/Raise Your Glass"    Slowly building, and damn it's slow.  I'm starting to think we'll never get them in gear.  Dance floor gets pretty full for our "Stayin' Alive/Brick In The Wall" mashup.  But doing "Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'" after that was a huge mistake.  Cleared the floor.

                Time to bring out the big guns:   Our "Dynamite/California Gurls/We Found Love/Gangham Style/Party Rock Anthem" medley.  NOW we've got them going.   At this point we can play most anything and it's going to work and does.  "Call Me Maybe" killed.  They really dug us doing "Heartbreaker" and "Jenny Jenny" right after that.   And those two wouldn't have worked earlier, I'm sure.  Closed out the first set with "Hot n Cold" and "Shout" and we knew the rest of the night was ours.

                Our 2nd set is set up to be more of a rock concert feel than dance set and it usually works that way.  It's pretty 80s heavy towards the end.   The first part of the set is a mix of 80s classics (Sweet Child, Walking on Sunshine, Any Way You Want It, You Shook Me All Night Long) and newer pop tunes (Born This Way, Sexy and I Know It, Moves LIke Jagger) but the end is all rock concert.  We end with a medley of "Sweet Caroline/Juke Box Hero/I Love Rock n Roll/Pour Some Sugar On Me/Don't Stop Believin'" that killed.  After that we kept playing encores for another 30 minutes.

                The point of all this being that even with a YOUNG crowd, that older stuff still works when it's presented properly.  Audiences AREN'T stupid.  They just want to be entertained.  An old song is only as tired as you play it. 

                Having said that, it's also time to work up some newer material.  We begin rehearsals next week with a new 2nd vocalist, and a lot of the time will be spent working up new tunes rather than older ones.  We worked it out and made that set work for us, but we could have used some more newer pop tunes in the early half of the first set.

                Here's a pic from later in the night:



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