Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Play It Once, Sam
Mark, a long time reader/first time caller, left this message in the chatbox:
"mark: I have a possible theme, it may have been done already. Songs loved and valued more by you than, seemingly, the artist. Rarely if ever played in concert, left off their best ofs, or even off any album."
I often complain specifically about artists playing the same setlists over and over and over. It is frustrating when a band has a very deep catalogue, like say, the Rolling Stones. In their defense, they do occasionally toss in a lost gem or two, like "She Smiled Sweetly" or that radically rearranged "19th Nervous Breakdown" from the 2005 tour, that died an immediate death after one NYC performance. (I loved it.) But it's all the more frustrating when crap like "You Got Me Rocking" seems to never leave the setlist. "I wuh uh butcher/cuh-in uhp MEAT!" Shut up, Mick.
In a recent interview, Ron Wood mentioned how he started playing Chuck Berry's "Come On" at a rehearsal and suggested adding it to the band's setlist. And I believe it was Keith who said, "Ah. No one wants to hear that." Wood replied, "Everyone wants to hear it. I know. Because I want to hear it." I would expect that kind of response from Mick, but Keith?
Mr. Todd Rundgren, only lately, has been reaching back for some rarely played material. But prior to recent full-album performances of "A Wizard/A True Star," "Todd" and "Healing," the latter two played live in the same night and one of the greatest nights of music I have ever seen, Rundgren setlists have always played it safe. I have seen Rundgren live more that any other artist, dating back to 1975, and aside from the same handful of songs--"Couldn't I Just Tell You," "Black Maria" and It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference"--his most famous album "Something/Anything?" never gets played live, with Todd mentioning often over the years, how much he dislikes the record. (He seems to dislike/dismiss his first three records, actually.)
Between 1979 and 1988, I don't recall Rundgren ever playing "Hello It's Me," and when he did resurrect it, he couldn't play it unless he was taking the piss out of it. The 1989 "Nearly Human" finally saw a solid, but rearranged version. And the other hit "I Saw The Light," is another that rarely gets played straight. It also took forty years for a live debut of "We Gotta Get You A Woman."
I have a long list of rarely if ever played tunes by some of my favorite people. You will see these on Friday.
Now it's time for your suggestions, and thoughts on why an artist won't budge with certain tunes.