All Songs Considered
1:01 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Question Of The Week: Do You Collect Setlists?

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 2:33 pm

Earlier this week we asked you to submit photos of the setlists you've collected over the years. We got a lot of amazing pics. Some, such as the Elliott Smith setlist from 1999, felt like rare treasures. We've added some of our favorites to the gallery below. Click the info icon or mouse over the images for captions and explanations for each one.


I see the setlist grabbers every time I go to a show, often standing at the lip of the stage. They're usually one of the first fans in the club, or maybe just good at being sneaky (or pushy). But when the show is over they reach for that memento, that paper stuck to the stage floor or on a guitar amp, and have the setlist. I and other members of the NPR Music team are certainly guilty of this. In fact, here are some of the ones we've nabbed over the years:

It's a beautiful moment really, one that works best when there's direct contact and the artist actually hands their setlist to a fan. Grabbing a setlist is one of the most personal ways of remembering a special show, short of sleeping with the band (not that I remember ever doing that).

The best setlists are hand-written, not typed. And they're filled with a shorthand of sorts, like "Trying 2" for Wilco's "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart." Long song titles may be boiled down to one word or some inside joke. Sometime they'll note key signatures or have other handmade doodles, or they'll have little notes about the style of each song, such as "slow," "fast," "rock," "ballad," offering a glimpse into the thinking behind their shows.

So we were wondering: Are you a setlist hunter? Do you hone in on the stage at the end of the night to grab that coveted piece of paper? If so, we want to see them. Take a picture of your favorite setlists and post them in the comments section. (Just click the little photo icon in the lower left corner of the comment box). You can also tweet them to us at @allsongs. Be sure to tell us who the band is, and where and when the show was. If you'd like, you can also tell us how old you were when you saw the concert and why you grabbed the setlist. At the end of the week we'll add some of our favorites to our gallery.

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