When you have been performing for a while and you are even starting to develop a following some folks who are going to shows are going to expect for you to start coming up with some new material!
It is important to always do this, and to change things, but it’s very important that if you have a certain leaning to your show, that you keep your material consistent. It’s certainly happened to me that even when I’ve had my own crowd just “eating out of my hand” I’ve suddenly upset the situation with a tune that I tried on them that just didn’t work! Sometimes it seems like you may just go too far in terms of the kind of material the new songs are, or it just may be too much simply for the audience to accept something new!
Of course, if they truly are your fans, they should be as open as possible to new ideas, new songs and any other experimentation you may want to throw at them….but unfortunately it’s not always the case.
When you do add new songs to your sets, you also have to keep in mind and decide which ones have to go. This is a tough call, because some songs are just so expected by not only the audience, but also by you, that they become kind of hard to “let go of.” Not to worry though, because you’ll surely come back to these songs one day, and it may end up even being a better thing, and it can give some new life to some songs you may be a bit tired of playing all the time!
I have found myself lately even putting some songs back in my set that are being re-visited even after layoffs of some 30 years or so! It’s an interesting metamorphosis to go through, since not only will I play them so differently than before, but I also re-discover them and why I loved playing them in the first place! The main thing with a case such as this is to make sure you are not prejudiced against these older songs, and that you can approach them in the fresh way you always intended way back when.
So whether you’re new to this process, or been around for a long time, you can see that you can always benefit from changing up your set list, and by adding new material to your shows. Hey, all you can do is give it a try and see if it works……you may surprise yourself at how successful the changes can be!
Gibson.com’s Arlen Roth, affectionately known The King of All Guitar Teachers, is music lesson pioneer and the quintessential guitarist. An accomplished and brilliant musician — and one of the very few who can honestly say he’s done it all — Roth has, over the course of his celebrated 35-year career, played on the world’s grandest stages, accompanied many of the greatest figures in modern music and revolutionized the concept of teaching guitar.