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Variation in GN'R's setlists

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Variation in GN'R's setlists Empty Variation in GN'R's setlists

Post by Soulmonster on Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:44 pm

I decided to do some maths on this. I assigned a value of 1 to each identical song played at the same "place" in two concerts' setlists. So if 'Don't Cry' was played as song no. 5 in both two concerts' sets, then the score would be 1. By summing up all these numbers the maximum theoretical score between two shows would be equal to the number of songs in the set. Six for two shows with identical yet short (only 6 songs) shows, 25 for two identical and long shows (25 songs). I then assigned a value of 0.5 to each song that was played at two shows, although at different "places". So if 'Don't Cry' was played as song no. 5 in one show and song no. 6 in another the score would be 0.5. I then summed these up and added the score form earlier. I then subtracted the absolute value of the difference in no. of songs played between the two shows. With the exact same no. of songs played, this value would be 0. With 5 more (or less) songs played, the value to subtract would be 5. In summary: I first calculate scores for how many of the same songs are played (with extra score if played at the same "place" in the set) and subtract the difference in length of song list.

I then did this for every two consecutive shows in GN'R career where the setlists are known.

Some comments: During a given tour the differences from one show to the next may be small, but when you compare the first and last shows the difference may by substantial as a result of accumulation of small changes. On the other hand, the net result from start of a tour to the end may be zero (i.e. if a few shows are exchanged back and forth).

I then calculated the average score for each tour in GN'R history to see how much variation in setlists took place during these tours:

-1.83: Club dates (1986- March 1987) [Huge variations in setlists here as GN'R played both short and longer sets and tested out new songs].
2.33: Marquee shows in UK (June 1986) [Much less variation here, but also a very small sampling no. with only three gigs].
6.67: Opening for the Cult [August 1987-September 1987) [Quite similar gigs, presumably because GN'R opened with a short set and had few songs to choose from].
4.22: European tour in 1987 [Quite similar again, but a little less].
5.00: North American tour in 1987 [Like the Euro tour].
2.80: Opening for Motley Crue in 1987 [Short sets but more variation since AFD had been released].
5.25: Opening for Alice Cooper in 1987 [Less variation again].
-0.19: North American tour in 1987- March 1988 [Very varied setlists as GN'R played very different shows].
0.80: Opening for Iron Maiden in 1988 [Surprisingly varied sets for an opener slot].
1.95: Opening for Aerosmith in 1988.
1.56: Japan/Australia/New Zealand tour in late 1988.
2.00: Opening for Rolling Stones in 1989.
1.12: UYI tour North American first leg, to August 1991 [Quite varied sets, but not much more than those in 1988].
3.20: UYI tour European leg, to September 1991.
2.43: UYI tour North American second leg, to February 1992.
3.21: UYI tour Japan/Europe to July 1992.
2.20: UYI tour North American third leg in 1992.
3.29: UYI tour South American/Japan/Australia leg, 1992/1993.
3.47: The Skin N' Bones tour, North American leg in 1993.
6.08: The Skin N' Bones tour, (mostly) European leg [The setlists get less and less varied as the touring goes on].
8.25: The four shows in 2001.
9.67: 2002 festival shows.
10.94: 2002 North American tour [Highly similar sets, both in length and content].
8.62: 2006 North American dates.
4.12: 2006 European dates.
8.37: 2006 North American second tour.
13.17: 2007 Japan/Australia/New Zealand tour.
0.50: Asian dates in 2009 [Highly varied sets].
7.40: 2010 North American tour.
8.40: 2010 South American tour.
11.63: 2010 European tour [w/ Australia].
8.10: 2011 South American tour.
14.67: 2011 North American tour.
8.53: 2012 UCAP tour.
12.06: 2012 European tour.
12.09: 2012 Las Vegas Residency (band members wanted to change things up, nothing happened)
5.75: 2012 World Tour (India, Indonesia and Japan)
9.25: 2013 World Tour (Australia, Malaysia, UAE and Lebanon)

Setlist variations in individual years:

1985: -0.5
1986: -2.6
1987:  3.7
1988:  1.5
1989:  3.0
1991:  1.5
1992:  2.7
1993:  5.0
2001: 11.3
2002: 11.0
2006:  6.0
2007: 13.2
2009:  1.7
2010:  9.9
2011: 13.2
2012: 10.3
2013: 8.3
2014: 5.8 (not finished)

A few quick comments: There is no doubt the shows have become more similar since 1993. But we also saw a trend in this direction during the later stages of the 1993 tours. It is also important to realize that the longer the sets, the harder it is to make them very different from each other because there are fewer unplayed songs to play (two random 80 song sets would have a much higher "similarity score" than two random 6 song sets). In other words: there is a clear and negative correlation between set length and set variation which at least partly explains why the similarity scores have increased so much since 1993.

Last edited by Soulmonster on Fri Apr 18, 2014 12:07 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Post by Johan on Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:51 pm

Interesting statistics! Thanks for that!

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:57 am

First post updated.
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