Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > Queen Set Lists: Do they suck?

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Kuku user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 04 Apr 04, 03:42 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

They don't suck. There are songs that just can't be left out each concert.

You've gotta remember that (1) listening to the concerts live is quite different from sitting at home comfortably and watching the video clip - a lot more emotional involvement (2) people like to listen to the good ol' favorites and watch their idols perform them live no matter how many million times they have been sung. i.e. BoRhap is always the peak of the concert.

I think Queen has a pattern of inserting some rarely played songs in between the regular playlst - which is fine, I don't mind at all. I mean, it's refreshing to listen to Golders Green or Rainbow because there are a lot of songs that are not played in later concerts, but it's equally nice to stumble upon Queen I songs played in the 80s.

Now, I don't know on average how different other groups' setlists are. (Not that I care about them anyways.) Still, I think that each tour for each album should be about the same - after all, Magic Tours are for A Kind of Magic album promotion, not Queen II promotion.


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Posted: 04 Apr 04, 03:43 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

You're right....I like seeing variations in set lists, the Hot Space European leg for example, but they were too few and far between. The lowest point, in terms of set list predictability, was the Magic Tour. Things never changed. A snippet of '39 here, a brief riff of I Feel Fine or Immigrant Song there, but that was it. One thing I always liked was how You Take My Breath Away, Save Me and Crazy Little Thing were played live before they were even released.


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Posted: 04 Apr 04, 03:43 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Oh, also, editing option doesn't work when the message to be edited is a reply to someone's thread. Any idea why this is happening?


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Posted: 04 Apr 04, 04:17 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Up to the Hot Space tour, the setlists were quite good IMO. The Works and Magic Tour setlist were boring IMO. Almost no difference between shows etc.

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Posted: 04 Apr 04, 04:26 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Dear Pim, pretty negative again... calling Queen concert lists boring. How dare you :-)

Did you ever see a Queen concert live yourself?

Every tour had old(er) fans wanting to hear those songs again and first time visitors wanting to hear those songs for the first time live.

In every concert you can hear the audience's enthusiasm when Bohemian Rhapsody sets in, to name just one.

As said, every new tour was to promote their latest album. Choices had to be made, a number of tracks just could not be left out. Queen said it themselves, if they wanted to please everybody they had to play every track they had in their luggage... and then a Queen concert would last "forever".




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Posted: 04 Apr 04, 05:26 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The band could not know that 20 years after the tours people would swap their shows on the internet and could compare hundreds of live recordings. From their point of view they played to a new audience each night, so it did not matter that the set list was the same. Although I never understood why Freddie had to make this "the band won't split up" speech each night on the Magic Tour and always before WWTLF.




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Posted: 04 Apr 04, 06:27 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I saw Queen many times and I have to say each concert was unique. I went to 3 shows on the Magic Tour (Wembley, Cologne & Knebworth) and each was memorable for different reasons and the different atmospheres. The works tour was excellent with Stone Cold Crazy & Great King Rat revisited. At my first Queen gig I didn't even no who they were as I'd gone to see Mott but because of this I have seen the audience participation develop to a point that by the magic tour it was a very very important part of the Queen Live experience.

The Queen audience changed through the years as did the type of venue played. I would suggest it is a lot easier to improvise in a theatre setting than in a stadium where each show is almost clinical in its execution. I also think Queen were aware that the Stadium shows were attended by a mix of old fans, new fans and people who were not big into Queen but knew a lot of the more popular stuff hence the almost greatest hits type magic tour set list.

Like many bands with longevity Queen evolved and there setlists reflected this. It is though not uncommon for a band on a tour at any size venue to have a standard set list which they might vary only slightly. This was probably why Queen were so tight live they rehearsed alot before each tour.


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Posted: 04 Apr 04, 06:28 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

"Dear Pim, pretty negative again... calling Queen concert lists boring. How dare you :-) Did you ever see a Queen concert live yourself?"

No I didn't (only saw Brian in Utrecht 1998 and B+R in Amsterdam in 2002), but I've heard countless bootlegs, and I'm just not really fond of the Magic/Works tours. That's just my opinion - they were playing the same set every day, while on older tours they would throw in a different track sometimes (Mull of Kintyre, I'm A Man etc. during the 1977 tour and stuff like that).

I don't see why it's negative to say the setlists are boring. That's just my opinion, I'm not really fond of the commercial Queen tracks like AKOM, IWTBF and AOBTD, which made up a big part of the setlists for the Works/AKOM tours. I'd just rather listen to a 1975/1976 show with Prophet's Song, BoRhap/KQ/TMOTBQ/BR medley and stuff like that.

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Posted: 04 Apr 04, 09:07 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

"Dear Pim, pretty negative again... calling Queen concert lists boring. How dare you :-)"


*cough*stepford alert!*cough*


Ofcourse, that the setlists hardly changed after the Hot Space tour is only annoying for bootleg collectors, For the people who visited the shows it wasn't, cause they could only heard 1, or 2 shows of the tour.


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Posted: 04 Apr 04, 09:32 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I agree with Richard. Freddie once said it was important for him / Queen that a live performance of a song is different from the studio version. But when I listen to their concerts I always have the impression they tried to make everything sound exactly as it does on the record, they just played the songs, they didn't play with the songs so much, at least not in the 80s. They never were good at improvising (or never wanted to be), they always practised every detail meticulously until it was as they wanted it and then never changed it. One could call it professional, one could also say "who has to practise has nothing to offer."
They could have changed the setlist reacting to the audience's "wishes" (to a certain extent only) or to the general atmosphere, could have or sometimes should have adapted it to the general mood. For a more quiet audience play more quiet songs etc., play different songs indoor than outdoor etc... Maybe it would have felt more special every night, and I could imagine it's also more fun for the musicians. But in the 80s they obviously didn't have so much fun making music anyway, it seemed to be more about bigness and big money, as it does today. Shame.


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Posted: 04 Apr 04, 14:54 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I agree that the set lists could have been slightly varried. But most bands of the time and today do the same thing. Led Zeppelin was the same way. Except for a few changes they performed the same show night after night. But they did improvise the songs from show to show. Queen was never really one to do that. Also as the 80's wore on and they were pretty much playing in stadiums every night, the shows became even more produced. Lots of light & special effects which were timed to happen at exact moments of specific songs. So maybe varring the sets night after night was almost impossible. Who knows. But I do wish they mixed it up a little more.
Not to even try to compare the Grateful Dead w/ Queen whatsoever, but I have to give them total credit for not doing that. I have seen them a handfull of times. They are far from a favorite band. But they NEVER and I mean NEVER played the same set twice. You could see 5 shows in a row & nothing was the same. Like them, hate them, say what you want about them, but you have to admire how they changed the set nightly. No other band has even tried that.


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Posted: 04 Apr 04, 16:36 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Hank H. wrote:

I agree with Richard. Freddie once said it was important for him / Queen that a live performance of a song is different from the studio version. But when I listen to their concerts I always have the impression they tried to make everything sound exactly as it does on the record, they just played the songs, they didn't play with the songs so much, at least not in the 80s. They never were good at improvising (or never wanted to be), they always practised every detail meticulously until it was as they wanted it and then never changed it. One could call it professional, one could also say "who has to practise has nothing to offer."
They could have changed the setlist reacting to the audience's "wishes" (to a certain extent only) or to the general atmosphere, could have or sometimes should have adapted it to the general mood. For a more quiet audience play more quiet songs etc., play different songs indoor than outdoor etc... Maybe it would have felt more special every night, and I could imagine it's also more fun for the musicians. But in the 80s they obviously didn't have so much fun making music anyway, it seemed to be more about bigness and big money, as it does today. Shame.


True! Just curious, though, I always had impression that Freddie did change a lot of vocal parts (often to suit his range during the concert) and add many ad libs. That doesn't really count as improvising on the spot...?

I thought, though, that his vocal improvisation at Wembley 1986 was simply wonderful. My favorite part of the show.

Do you think that Queen should have done less shows and concentrate on making each show unique? (because I think the number of the shows is inversely proportional to the quality.) On one hand, that'd been very nice for old fans. Yet, a lot of people who aren't really diehard fans may prefer such a set (?) setlist. I read somewhere that Magic Tour was the most successful period, in terms of live shows, of their career. Don't know if that's true in what sense...


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Posted: 05 Apr 04, 06:34 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Queen shouldn't just have any hits at all, so that they wouldn't have to play these songs over and over.

From that point of view it's nice to see Dream Theater (who didn't have had any hit singles) in concert. They have playlists of all their concerts, and when they come to a certain city the next time, they try to play a complete different list. Therefore the fans are able to hear as much songs as possible. Playing for 3 full hours helps as well.

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Posted: 05 Apr 04, 06:49 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

i think the 70's/early 80's setlists were most surprising and fun, 82 and beyond they got repetitive. But that's because they had to choose out of loads of songs. Pretty hard i guess, they had a lot of freedom back in the 70's cause they could play lots more albumtracks cuz they didn't have that many hits as they did in 84/85/86


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Posted: 05 Apr 04, 06:57 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The Magic Tour was the only one which returned a profit, all the others they made a loss on.

The setlists may have been the same but the way the songs were performed was most certainly not.


[QUOTE I read somewhere that Magic Tour was the most successful period, in terms of live shows, of their career. Don't know if that's true in what sense...


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Posted: 05 Apr 04, 08:17 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Agree with Richard...
This January I've seen Dream Theater in Hammersmith- it was their second gig of the European tour; they played three hours... Just before they were playing Manchester and half of the setlist has changed... That mean they had 4.5 hours of live material prepared... And than Guitar Hero posted tracklisting from Toronto and there were things they didn't play either in London nor Manchester... So we've got now 5- 5.5 hours of material, perfectly played, making it real fun to guess- what the hell are they gonna play now...?? And you never know... And it's ONE TOUR, promoting one album!!!!

I also, just like Pim, don't really like Works / Magic setlists... Of course they HAD TO play Rhapsody or AOBTD, but instead of "Tear It Up" or "Seven Seas" or pointless "Gimme All Your Lovin'" they could throw sth older like "Stone Cold Crazy", "White Queen" or "White Man"... Unfortunatelly they just prepared 1.5 hours of material, went on tour and didn't change a thing.... As a musician- it seems f**cking boring for a band!!! Even saying all the time the same lines (the one before WWTLF)... Definitelly, the older setlists were more exciting...
Well, the tours were succesful anyway, why bother than... That would mean more practicing- somehow I have a feeling that wasn't everyone's fav thing to do in later days...

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Posted: 05 Apr 04, 13:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

"Still, I think that each tour for each album should be about the same"

When you're in a band, it's interesting to mix up the setlist from night to night. Or in Led Zeppelin's or the Grateful Dead's cases, improvising every night keeps it interesting for them.

"From that point of view it's nice to see Dream Theater (who didn't have had any hit singles) in concert. They have playlists of all their concerts, and when they come to a certain city the next time, they try to play a complete different list."

See, when you're a band with few singles like Dream Theater, your audience will be generally happy with anything you play. The obscure songs are usually the highlights. But when you're a pop-oriented band, you're expected to play the hits.

The Guess Who have been playing the almost exact same setlist every show since they reformed a few years ago, with the occasional rarity. But that rarity is a "boring song" to the average fan, because all they want to hear is the good old songs.

Could you imagine a post-77 Queen show without BoRhap/WWRY/WATC? No. But can I imagine a Dream Theater setlist with *anything* from their catalogue, and still be satisfied? Absolutely. I'm still not sure to this day which band I prefer overall. Queen has history, incredible songs, and one of the greatest frontmen of all time, but Dream Theater have superior musicianship which allows them to create music Queen (or just about any band) could barely dream of.

"i think the 70's/early 80's setlists were most surprising and fun"

Early 80s? Just about every show between 80-81 is the exact same setlist!

Starting at the News Of The World tour, Queen's setlist always included songs from the new album, and then less songs from older albums - and no new additions of older songs. This cycle would continue until the Hot Space tour, where their setlist would become all Hot Space and Game songs, plus a few old hits they had played for years. It wasn't until The Works tour that they revived older material.


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Posted: 05 Apr 04, 13:48 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

"i just saw David Bowie three times and i was really happy that the set lists changed quite a bit from night to night."

Ooh! Lucky you! Bowie is pretty cool! :D


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Posted: 05 Apr 04, 17:00 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

seeing them as many times as i did

i often saw changes in set lists-not major mind you, but songs dropped, songs added, songs shortened and lenghtened, new openings etc.
did see a few where it there were no changes also-

then they gave up on america...... *sniff*

and i had to go see other people... like Bowie--who truly does change set lists a whole bunch more




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Posted: 05 Apr 04, 18:06 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I think they did because they were too short and too samey. Dream Theater change their setlist on every night and usually play nearly three hours. The first set in Dusseldorf 2002 was as long as the wembley concert from Queen. After an intermission of 15 minutes they played the new album in its entirety which means 50 minutes. The second set was followed by an encore of 30 minutes. This is a concert to me!!!