Spill Challenge #50ish – Songs You Love That They Won’t Play Or That You Wished They Wouldn’t Butcher

No Self-Sacrifice aka I Ain’t Playin’That No More…

“We’ll play anything you want to hear – as long as it’s not Whiskey In The Jar”

The weary words of Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott came to mind on Saturday.

I was at the Madonna gig at Murrayfield with a bunch of friends. We all got free tickets which were being handed out like Hard Candy the week before – it was far from a sell-out. I asked them which song they would really like her to play but – surprise, surprise – none of them were indulged by Her Madge. Instead we were treated to the rotting carcase of her latest magnum opus – a mildly entertaining but visually dazzling spectacle. What most would consider to be her best material was completely ignored or visually incorporated in sample length snippets while The Old Girl went off for yet another costume change.

We’ve all been there haven’t we? Finally getting to see your favourite band or artist and then – the temerity of them – being denied a performance of their best song, or worse still hearing it butchered in a flippant new arrangement. Here’s your opportunity to name and shame the blighters and give them some long overdue payback.

To kick things off I give you Air – Kelly Watch The Stars . I have seen them thricely and they have botched it on each occasion by speeding it up and turning it into a prog rock drumfest. While seeking a suitable link I note that since I stopped going to see them they have reverted to the original arrangement – the feckers!

So entries please – on the back of an old ticket stub – and embellish them as you see fit with video links, but please don’t embed the video or pepl wid iBits will get very ;-(

37 thoughts on “Spill Challenge #50ish – Songs You Love That They Won’t Play Or That You Wished They Wouldn’t Butcher

  1. This clip isn’t from the actual show that i saw, but the problems were, um, similar. Saw the Stones in ’78, and poor Keef couldn’t even make it through Happy, so Mick had to finish it off while Keef just waved to us all. In this clip from a few years earlier, Keef is totally toasted. So it was butchered, but it was still all good, most of the audience was in similar straits.

    (ok Llama, i’m testing out this new method of posting links, i hope it works.)

    Rolling Stones – Happy

      • I did that link by copy and paste from the Graun’s comment as per instructions. But i till can’t figure out why it doesn’t work when i hand code the link on here. It’s very weird.

  2. Some of you may know that I have seen my favourite band seven times this year; and as the tour began in the US and then moved to Canada I was excitedly keeping tabs on the setlists to see what songs I could expect to hear in Europe…and to my great joy I saw that in Halifax, Nova Scotia, they’d played one of my top 10 songs – one of the rarely played ones I mean. (Because Refugee is in my top 10 and they play that all the time.) So I sent some messages via Twitter and Facebook (not too many, as I didn’t want to be annoying) to the effect that I thought it would be nice if…but no. Rien, nada and zilch. And I did not hear

    I’m so tired of being tired
    Sure as night will follow day
    Most things I worry about
    Never happen anyway

    Crawling Back To You by Tom Petty

    I’ve got the Halifax bootleg, mind, but it’s not the same.

    • I’ve had the same problem with Springsteen – he always plays Bobby Jean the night before or after I have seen him…

      • … and mine was Black Crowes – whichever night(s) I chose to attend, I was spectacularly successful at picking the nights they DIDN’T play She Talks To Angels.

  3. Not sure about disappointing versions – but I think the way Jeff Buckley reworked his songs most famous was wonderful. The version of ‘Dream Brother’ on the Mystery White Boy record is even more eerie and delicate than the original.

    I won’t provoke embed whinges; so only a portion of the URL:


  4. YUI – Your Heaven

    This is a really wonderful track and one of my really most favourite if her tracks. It was “the other A side to It’s My Life but appears on no albums and she almost never includes it her live set. . . . . the YUI fan sites are full of guesses about why . . .

    However, I did see her play it live in Sendai with my boyfriend in February this year actually and it was totally incredibly amazing ! ! !

    YUI – Your Heaven

    The video is shot in Sweden and is really lovely ! ! !

    (The guy in the video is the drummer from her touring band who is Swedish guy called Chris. I can not remember the family name.)

  5. The most disaapointing concert I ever attended was BB King back in 1980. Hoping for some fine interpretations of his classics, we were treated to a 30 minutes ‘best of’ medley (two minute snippets at most for each song) to round off a 90 minute show. He would just get going when he’d switch to the next one. Eurgh!

    it was a bit like this:

    When I wanted to see this:

    I don’t even count the Zappa concert I saw during which Frank spent most of the evening abusing the audience for having bought tickets and turning up.

    I will now try and post via Notebook, so apologies if the links don’t work properly.

  6. Early New Order refused to play any encores (probably due to a lack of new material) & understandably avoided the recorded Joy Division material (they covered some of this later & it was probably best to leave it alone). The thing I really miss is Barney’s old style guitar work – Hooky got all the New Order riffs, but those two used to be brilliant together.

    Sometimes bands give you too much. Saw Lucero again recently headlining a slightly bigger venue than usual. They took it as a license to play their entire catalog. A band should leave you wanting more.

    • I never saw New Order but I remember some reviews from the time which suggested a certain inconsistency. I think if a band’s repertoire is strong enough then you can’t blame them for picking and choosing.

      • Hmm. I saw New Order twice (’83 & ’85, I think), but don’t remember a lack of encores. I do remember the rather massive light/mirror ball crashing to the ground mere seconds after most of us had left the floor in Bradford. Had that come down a minute or two earlier, I might have lost my wife before I ever even knew her.

        Sorry; wandered off-topic there …

      • They did substitute the thunderclap in Blue Monday with a mighty emulated belch at a Festival Hall gig. The ushers were mortified.

    • I saw New Order a couple of weeks back as it goes at a festival in Spain and they were ruddy marvellous. That was the first time i had seen them and i would say they were the best band of the weekend. Played the festival set of course – all the hits and encore of Love Will Tear Us Apart (it was Ian Curtis’ birthday we were told but i suspect they would have played this anyway)

  7. Richmond Fontaine refuse to play DsD fave The Janitor. Willy Vlautin told me it’s just “too damn sad for a live audience”, plus words to the effect that he wants to feel ‘up’ after a gig, not depressed by the lyrics he has to remember and sing.

    Not going to attempt any links from my phone. Back later …

  8. I haven’t thought of a good response to this question yet but it did remind me of something Wreckless Eric is supposed to have said to a crowd that were baying for him to play THAT song.

    “Do you want me to play “Whole Wide World?”


    “Do you ever want me to play anything else?”

    Of course he then went off and formed The Len Bright Combo, played none of his old songs and found that the same syndrome came into play. Everyone wanted to hear “Someone Must Have Nailed Us Together” and tolerated the rest of the set.

    • I saw Nick Cave & The Seeds a few years back and he was continually pestered by requests for songs he duetted on. He went to the trouble of explaining to the audience that he wouldn’t play those songs without the other singer which I felt was fair enough.

  9. There’s so many Scooter songs everyone but me would nominate here, but I’m going for Take That Babe.

    It was already so tortured without all the backdrop pix they throw up in concert.

    Very few bands/singers could do the war vet discovers he has a son idea, and Gary Barlow was usually clearer – then – that this sort of thing was well beyond Take That. But it sold tons (not their fault) so they perform it, and the way they try to it make it poignant in concert and video is cringworthy.

    No link ’cause I won’t do that to people. Tickle you til you tell be me to stop, sure. Borrow you best serving platter and not return it, yes. But Babe, no.

  10. I remember the Stranglers refusing to play Peaches for a heck of a long time and when I did get to see them play it they were using a horn section. Talk about lose-lose.

  11. Phil Lynott – Thin Lizzy you say? “…worse still hearing it butchered in a flippant new arrangement…” you add?

    I give you the slow (original) version of Don’t Believe A Word

    The twist is . . . I actually PREFER this arrangement. I accept most don’t.

  12. Topical! I have tickets to see PIL twice next month – once admittedly at Rebellion that I would be going to anyway – but with a bit of research have found that most of the songs that stood out for me at the comeback gig a couple of years back have already bee dropped! No Careering, no Poptones, no Annalisa….
    I’m also aware that Dexys are touring but not playing Geno because “it doesn’t feel right”. And apparently Killing Joke have been dropping Requiem at some gigs.
    Israel has long been my favourite Banshees song, and it was one of the standards of their live set, played I think at most gigs – except of course the two occasions on which I saw them…..

  13. As for butchering, special mention should go to The Damned in the 90s, specifically Captain Sensible who not only regularly inflicted a 15 minute self-indulgent guitar wankfest on the audience, but did so in the middle of New Rose.

    • What about the grief Baz Warne has had from Stranglers fans for actually getting the solo on Golden Brown right ? Ooh don’t do it that way, we preferred it when Hugh fucked it up !

      • I have worked out I see the Stranglers once per decade. I went to see them in the 90s and saw a blurb in the local rag along the lines of “see them play hits like Golden Brown, Strange Little Girl, and Always The Sun”. See if you can think off the top of your head three songs that the Stranglers didn’t play at the gig!

  14. Hmm. Can’t actually remember anything like this from my days of going to rock gigs; partly, perhaps, because I wasn’t yet a sufficiently obsessive fan to know the entire back catalogue, and partly because all the bands I recall were happy to play the hits. I don’t think Barclay James Harvest played Medicine Man, which was a mild shame but perfectly bearable.

    With jazz gigs, the actual songs are usually a bit less important. My major disappointment was a couple of years ago when I’d booked tickets to see Bojan Z in solo concert, taking along Mrs Abahachi in expectation of amazing piano acrobatics, and he then brought along his Tetraband with electric bass, trombone and very loud drums; I’ve learnt to love the album since, but it was a major let-down (and a fairly unimpressive noise) at the time.

    The key artist who does tend to play lots of songs from his latest album, and whose style can change quite radically, is Gilad Atzmon. I first saw him touring the brilliant Exile, inspired by music of the Middle East, including Ouz, a fantastic bouncy number (played much faster than in the recorded version) where the whole band shouted “Ouz!” at the appropriate moments. Never heard him play it again (he does still play Jenin from that album), and instead have had to put up with various, erm, challenges to my affection, like an entire set of standards…

    Gilad Atzmon & the Orient House Ensemble: Ouz

  15. Radiohead those non-conformist scamps like to steer clear of playing ‘all the hits’ sets. I can’t really complain about them because they are incredible live and i think they often play a completly different set from one night to the next, effortlessly easing between songs. And there are not many bands that can do that.

    It can however leave you wishing they had played certain songs you wanted to hear in particular and a little cheesed if you see the set list from the following night when those certain songs were played.

  16. Robert Plant’s band of joy do play some old Zep numbers, like Rock & Roll, but in country arrangements so far from their rock originals .. I wonder if its bothered anyone or is it just a thrill to see him with a fine band doing something

    I was too late to catch King Crimson in the 70’s and somehow missed them in the 80’s discipline era. They don’t appear to play more than one or two ‘old’ songs in any set .. If anyone saw them, did they miss not hearing Epitaph or Red etc

    • Saw Band of Joy last year at Wanni & enjoyed them – especially the Low covers. Don’t think Mr Plant has the pipes these days to do justice to the original Led Zep stuff. It was also disappointing that he didn’t hang out to jam with the Allmans later on.

      • I saw him do the Immigrant Song and other Zeppelin stuff in full rock mode a few years ago and thought he still sounded great. Maybe he feels that the re-arranged stuff suits his voice better these days. A mate of mine went to see Bill Withers at the Hammersmith Odeon some years back and said that he couldn’t hold the note in Lovely Day, but they had craftily dropped in one of the backing singers so it sounded like it was Bill.

  17. Nobody’s mentioned Dylan yet – but he’s famous for reworking his songs and [sometimes] pissing off [part of] the audience, who want to hear the songs as they remember them.

    One of my friendly local bootleggers has just posted a Dylan concert from last week and I thought the setlist was interesting:

    01. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat
    02. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
    03. Things Have Changed
    04. Tangled Up In Blue
    05. Honest With Me
    06. Spirit On The Water
    07. The Levee’s Gonna Break
    08. A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall
    09. High Water (For Charley Patton)
    10. Simple Twist Of Fate
    11. I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight
    12. Highway 61 Revisited
    13. Forgetful Heart
    14. Thunder On The Mountain
    15. Ballad Of A Thin Man
    16. Like A Rolling Stone
    17. Band intros
    18. All Along The Watchtower
    19. (encore break)
    20. Blowin’ In The Wind

  18. I have walked out of a gig but it was so long ago I can’t remember the name of the band. So I will go with one that went the other way – i.e. it was unexpectedly brilliant – Hootie and the Blowfish in Leeds circa 1998. They did a cover of “Tainted Love” which was , in my view, even better than the original. It shouldn’t have worked, but it did.

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