Lively Setlist
Bands alter their songs when doing them live.
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(permanent link) added: 2013-02-05 16:24:45 sponsor: Watergirl909 (last reply: 2013-04-02 22:06:38)

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You've gotten tickets and have been waiting for months to go see your favorite band or singer. You've been re-listening to their albums to the point where you know the songs better than their creators, and can even tell where they made mistakes and kept going. Perhaps you have posters, maybe even hand-drawn ones in your home. So, you go to their concert, and are all hyped up to hear them preform your favorite songs, LIVE!

Then, something... different happens. You know the song they're playing, but they're doing it differently. Maybe they attached an intro to it, or an outro. Or they're singing it differently, or they've changed the lyrics. Or, maybe it's an Unplugged Version, which is a subtrope of this. Whatever the case is, your favorite musician has changed the song. You have just experienced a Lively Setlist.

While pretty much every live performance is different from the studio version in some way, this is not for, say, an extended solo. Only when the pace or the delivery (for example, angry to sad, or demented altered sound to yelling) are altered or when entire new sections are added or lyrical alterations are done (like, topical changes or a different person singing it).

Sometimes, this is well received, and is welcomed by the fandom. Other times, it encounters They Changed It, Now It Sucks. The important thing is, the live version is different from the standard album version in some way.


Examples:

  • Kiss built their career on this. Most of the studio versions of their songs are, well, lacking. The first Alive album was partially done to make people who hadn't heard them live know that they practiced this trope, in spades. In fact, they'll still occasionally take a song that they never play and make it balls-to-the-wall epic, like "War Machine", in Harford, CT in September 2012 (last show of "The Tour").
  • Marilyn Manson has done this with many of the aforementioned methods, including replacing female backing vocals with Twiggy Ramirez, adding outros and intros, and altering lyrics (with The Dope Show being a major one, being the source of an in-song Shout-Out to wherever they are as well as other, minor variations).
  • They Might Be Giants does this a lot, partly to have fun and partly to troll the audience. For instance, they'll play the first four bars of one song and then switch to something completely different. They also like messing with the lyrics, inserting ridiculously lengthy drum solos (once per show), and doing call-and-response.
  • LCD Soundsystem did this. They had the pholosophy that it's pointless to have a concert if all you're going to do is recreate an album's sound.
  • During live performances, Billy Joel makes a habit of stretching the closing saxophone solo of "New York State of Mind" out for a good thirty seconds longer.
  • During the 2012 Grammys, Taylor Swift switched a line in "Mean" to read, "Someday I'll be singin' this at the Grammys..."
  • The Grateful Dead refused to come close to performing anything the way it was on the album (and if they'd tried, their audience would have probably rioted). Three minute singles like "Dark Star" became epic guitar jams lasting upward of twenty minutes in concert, and they regularly nested songs into the instrumental sections of other songs. In one case, they played an entire set of nested songs, finishing with the final verse of the song that started the set.
  • One of the reasons to listen to the live performance recordings of Tom Lehrer is the comedic intros he gives before the actual songs. The studio recordings seem rote and lifeless in comparison.
  • Joe Walsh often changes some of the lyrics to "Life's Been Good" in live performances, including the version recorded on the Eagles Live album (such as changing "I lock the doors in case I'm attacked" to "I lock the doors in case I get drunk", among some other lyric changes in that version).
    • Also in a performance on the '80s concert TV show Rock and Roll Tonight, he changed the line in "Rocky Mountain Way" that read "bases are loaded and Casey's at bat" to "bases are loaded, James Watt's at bat"--possibly in response to then Interior Secretary Watt banning the Beach Boys from doing a concert on the Washington Mall.
  • Often occurs with Kid A / Amnesiac era Radiohead songs. The most notable example must be 'Like Spinning Plates', but 'Everything In It's Right Place', and to a lesser extent 'Idioteque' are also major examples. Made all the more notable in that the latter two songs are played at nearly every concert.
  • Rush:
    • An extended guitar intro ("Broon's Bane") is often added to live performances of "The Trees".
    • Recent tours have had Reggae-style segments inserted into performances of "Working Man".
  • The live version of Astronomy Domine (as found on Ummagumma) by Pink Floyd adds a reprise of the first verse immediately after the first, a lengthy keyboard solo in the middle of the instrumental section, and an additional chorus preceding the last verse before the coda.
  • Barenaked Ladies often do this, especially during the wacky bits in their "If I Had $100000", incorporating local or topical things into the list of things they'd do with the money.
  • Jimmy Buffett would change the lyric in "Why Don't We Get Drunk" from "I just bought a water bed filled up for me and you" to "I just bought some acapulco gold for me and you"
  • British Alternative Rock band blur do this occasionally, such as with their 1999 hit 'Tender', which when played live ends around the time the shortened Radio edit ends, only for a quieter, acoustic section not featured on the studio recording and played solely by Albarn to come in, before ending the song in a grand audience sing-a-long style. The song will typically last 9 or 10 minutes live, compared with the 7:40 running length of the album version.
  • Garth Brooks has a third verse to "Friends in Low Places" that's heard on a live version. The "infamous" third verse is actually a reprise of the second verse with the last three lines changed. The last of these lines is "And you can kiss my ass"


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