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Thinking about Setlists...

I'm going to the Dokken/Sebastian Bach/Poison show tonight in Cincinnati. I'm sure the show will be nearly identical to the one I saw last month at Rocklahoma. You might recall Bret Michaels, Sebastian Bach and Dokken played during the festival.

People complain a lot about Poison's set list. I've complained myself. It's true the songs never really change. Yes, it's doubtful we'll ever hear a deep cut off Open Up and Say...Ahh! I had  a revelation today about myself: I need to start doing more things that take pressure off me. Quite frankly, I recently hit the burn out wall at about 100 M.P.H. I'm trying to dig out of the burnout burden, but it's going to take time. I'm sure the same happens to musicians.

Consider this: Poison tours nearly every summer (although I'm fairly certain in telling you that the band won't be on the road next year). I'm pretty confident in my guess that Bret, Bobby, Rikki and C.C. suffer from burnout. Tell me you wouldn't be burned out by playing the same 12 songs, four times a week for about 16 weeks straight. On top of that, Bret does nearly an identical set for his solo shows. Same with Vince Neil and Motley Crue.

I think bands need to choose set lists that take away the burden.

In the past, I've been the first to wave the "obscure song" flag. Hell yes I want to hear Motley Crue play "Danger." You know what? I bet the band doesn't even remember the music and lyrics for that song. To an extent, a band is just trying to play to the masses during a live show. Sure, there will always be those die hards in the crowd, but maybe relearning an obscure deep cut isn't in the cards for most acts.

At the end of the day, the bands themselves are the drivers of their own career success. The people on stage - not the agents, publicists, managers, label reps or fans - get to decide their own trajectory. I guess if Poison feels it's best to play "Unskinny Bop," "Cry Tough" and "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" every night, so be it. Band members - if they are close or civil enemies - have a duty to make it through a show in one piece and do their best. Yes, they are performing for a ticket buying community -- and for our money, we do deserve high energy. We just don't get to call the shots. 

**Personal note: I've changed the comments policy here as a way to lift my personal burden. Recently, a few people with a lot of spare time decided to use my website to post hate and other random drivel. I no longer have time to sit and watch my email become flooded with garbage that I have to manually remove. I've gotten lots of personal messages from regular readers asking me to do something about the nasty comments. Some of these readers have even expressed fear of posting because they don't want to be attacked.  For now, all comments must be approved by me. This way, I can approve batches at a time and weed out the bad apples in one shot. Attention must be paid.

Reader Comments (12)

I saw Poison just last night in Indianapolis, like 5 hours ago (it was so exciting i can't sleep), on the 15th. They were just plain amazing. Sebastian Bach blew the roof off the place. I love his stuff, even the solo, and I have his new solo album. Most of the people there did not of course. I guarantee you that he made believers out of everyone that night. He was outstanding and he was singing like it was still 1989. As for Dokken, nyeh, Dokken was Dokken. There was no chance in hell that they could follow up and do better than The Bach Of Love. They were good, but not very electrifying. Plus, I still don't know if Dokken is a band or just Don Dokken's solo career. As for Poison, everything I was hoping for and more. Plus I got to touch Bret and CC lol. They were incredible, it was truly an experience I'll never forget.It does look like they will be touring next summer actually, because Bret said so several times during the show. By the way, it looks like Bret's cold is gone Allyson, so you don't need to worry for tonight!
August 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMichael H.
I'll be at the show tonight also, and the Crue Fest on Tuesday. I would love to hear some of the deeper cuts, but at the same time would probably feel cheated if they left out "Nothin' But A Good Time" or "Ride The Wind." It's the safe road for the bands to take, to stick to the hits. Although, in Motley's case, I still think they should play more from SOLA. I mean, are they touring to support the album or not? Oh well...
August 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJT
You're probably right, but tab books were printed for all those songs, if the bands really couldn't remember how to play them.
August 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
I sure hope that IF Poison make it over here to europe for a tour next year, they could atleast play mor ethan 12 songs... i mean, the average of songs played during a show are 17 by my experience.. 12 is just pathetic!

Please add Blind Faith, Let It Play, Back To The Rocking Horse, Life Loves A Tragedy, Cry Tough and Flesh & Blood to your setlist
August 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNikkeSixx
Looking forward to the show tonight. Hopefully, I will see you there.
August 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRob Rockitt
Saw Poison/Dokken/Baz on Tuesday in NJ. Poison was a lot of fun, as always, even if predictable as usual. Dokken was a pleasant surprise to me since I had never seen them(him) before. And Baz kicked ass! Even though he spent a little too much time yelling at the crowd to get into it. It's tough being the first performer up on a 3 band show.

Enjoy the show Allyson!
August 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterEddieLongHair
hell i would love to see poison play life loves a tragedy, be the one, or even so tell me why. this was a great post.
August 16, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjohn
You should never expect the current Poison lineup to play anything from Native Tongue or Crack of Smile. I talked to Rikki several years ago and he said they wouldn't be doing any of that stuff because CC wasn't the guitarist. I would love to hear them do "Cover of a Rolling Stone," but it's only a wish.
August 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJT
I skipped this show in Boston because of the setlists always being the same.

Take Poison for example.....they have to play the big hits (Unskinny Bop, Every Rose, Something to Believe In, Talk Dirty To Me, etc) and I understand that. Do they have to play the covers? Is Rock And Roll All Nite needed? Squeeze Box? Your Mama Don't Dance? What I Like About You? I can't remember a Poison show without a cover or two in the set! Make CC play 'Stand', pull out 'Life Goes On' or 'Love On The Rocks.

All the bands do it though. The easiest thing to do is keep touring with a core of songs, not a lot of practice time, not a lot of mistakes. My beloved KISS has been doing it since '96, Heaven & Hell just did it 2 years straight and Ozzy has done it since '93! When you do get the album track live, it makes up for all the same old same old. Maiden pulled out 'Moonchild' on this tour and I just saw Priest change their set from the last tour and put it album tracks from PAINKILLER, DEFENDERS, and SIN AFTER SIN.

I hope you enjoy the show!

Heavy Metal Addiction
I have seen Motley Crue and Poison live in concert more than anyone alive (or dead) probably. Poison I have seen a minimum of three times a year since '99 when CC first came back to the band and they started their annual summer tour. I am pretty confident that Poison won't be on the road either next year, as at some point in the show Bret Michaels always says - "If we come back here next year, will you come out and party with us." and nothing this time at any of the shows I went to. I also read something about Rikki Rockett doing something and CC wanting to spend time with his new kid, whom I got the pleasure of meeting at Hershey Park this summer.

I totally agree about the set lists. I have seen the same set about 30 times now. I would love to hear them throw in something different, it doesn't have to be totally obscure, I would be happy with Love on the Rocks, Good Love, Life Goes On. Something different to change it up. Poison's set is exact - maybe a minor tweak in song order, but everything down to what Bret says in between songs to their movements on stage. I'll still be there to support, but I am crying out for a new set list too.
September 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKing Killah
I have seen every POISON summer show since 99, and the set rarely (if at all) changes. I think the only change was when they threw Stand in the set (in Mansfield MA anyways) at either the 2002 or 2003 show. As much as I can't wait to see the show every year, and as much as I sing every song word for word, and always leave the show knowing that I had a great time......please guys, change it up a little. I agree with the comment above about pulling out some of the covers. Surprise the hell out of us and close the show out with Let Me Go To The Show (like you did on the 88 tour with David Lee Roth). Here's a thought...the 80's are over. We don't care about guitar and / or drum solos anymore. Pull those out of the set, and there's room for about 4 or 5 deep cuts we've been itching to hear for the past 10 years.
November 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKG
i think they should play all the hits.\like poison, every rose, talk dirty to me, i want action, etc, but i want love on the rocks, cry tough, 1 bad boy, and some new material from poison. same with motley i wanna hear shout at the devil, wild side, girls girls girls, dr feelgood as always. but iwanna hear knock em dead kid, danger, bastard, chicks rqual trouble, etc.
April 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdevin

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