After reading about one too many major summer tours this year that annoy me for one reason or another, I decided to make a set of rules which I intend to follow in deciding what bands I'm going to see play. Any band that breaks these rules risks having me not buy a ticket to see them, and will therefore be crying all the way to the bank.
*Your set must include at least 30% material added to your repertoire within the last two years, and that thought must not make you or your audience groan.
*The set list must change substantially every night, in both order and content. If you are playing multiple shows at the same venue, they may have no more than five songs in common.
*All performers who can be heard must be visible on stage. (Calling U2!) Also, they must all be playing live, without the use of (say) headphones with a click track for the drummer. Prerecorded material is impermissible, except for records played by on-stage turntablists.
*For bands (as opposed to named performers): If a member of the band has left, even if he or she was a famous member, it is permissible to replace him or her; however, the replacement must be a FULL MEMBER of the band, appearing in press photos and interviews, and entitled to a share of profits. The Who, R.E.M. and the Rolling Stones are cardinal offenders here. Anyone on stage for more than a quarter of the set must also be a full member of the band.
*At least one stop on the tour must be a small club date, with no sets or visual effects permitted other than white light. If you can't cut it under those conditions, give up and go home.
*You are allowed to point the microphone toward the crowd to make them sing exactly once per show, and gain extra points for not doing it at all. Under no circumstances are left-side-of-crowd vs. right-side-of-crowd who's-louder competitions acceptable.
*An encore is a lagniappe--a gift for the audience, over and above what they paid for. Therefore, any big hits you're playing must be included in your set proper.
*Audience tapers and tape traders must be tolerated, and should be encouraged. Don't dis the people who love you best.
*Any merchandise you sell must be cool and well-designed enough that you would be willing to wear it yourself. However, it is of course unacceptable to wear your own T-shirt on stage.
*A ticket to the performance, including all service charges, may cost no more than the equivalent of five hours' work at the legal minimum wage.
Do these make sense? They barely even apply to most of the bands I actually like, so I suspect I'm overreacting. Still.