WINNER ANNOUNCED IN ‘RAVINIA DREAM SETLIST CONTEST’

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Congratulations to our winner, Gustaf Bjorlin, who impressed me mightily with a set that although quite different than the one I plan to play, captures the spirit of what a live set needs to be; and is not unlike one I’d draw up myself.

But first, thanks go to the nearly 1000 entrants who took part. Overall, I was quite impressed with the sheer diversity of songs chosen. And as I said to a friend looking over my shoulder, “did I really write all these?”

For his efforts, Mr. Gustaf receives a private meet and greet at this Saturday’s show.

So here is the winning set, with my comments below…

THE CELESTIALS/OF A BROKEN HEART/THE ROSE MARCH/PERFECT/WHIR/STUMBLEINE/THAT’S THE WAY MY LOVE IS/VIOLET RAYS/MINA LOY/THINK YOU KNOW/LET ME GIVE THE WORLD TO YOU/RHINOCEROS/FOR MARTHA/PINWHEELS/ROCKET/UNTITLED/

WITH EVERY LIGHT/MEDELLIA OF THE GREY SKIES/DROWN/1979

In making a good set, there are a few things I look for consistently: pace (as in tempo), song quality, and a surprise or two; and this set has that. CELESTIALS is s strong opener, as far as setting a narrative. OF A BROKEN HEART working anywhere, but being 2nd draws a listener in without losing them ballad-wise. THE ROSE MARCH is solid 3rd, the only downside being two songs in a row in ¾ time; but we’ll pretend RAVINIA is a sailing ship instead of a music venue just outside Chicago. PERFECT 4th is perfect; a known song to get those looking for those sorts of things back into the game. WHIR would be highly unexpected, and Jeff and I did try it in rehearsal. THAT’S THE WAY picks the pace back up, a single (though mostly forgotten) that at least feels significant. MINA LOY I’d love to play there (9th), but would probably need some kind of backing (drum machine, percussion). THINK YOU KNOW is a fantastic choice: drives, great lyric, and timely politically. LET ME GIVE THE WORLD a sentimental fave, and would hold the crowd 11th, with the sentimental fave from GISH, RHINOCEROS to back it up. Plus as a more acoustic-type number you hear more of its trippy origins. FOR MARTHA shifts gears and sets a lovely, ‘Sun has fallen’ mood, for PINWHEELS to take us into the moonlit night. ROCKET literally lifts the crowds spirits after introspection, and UNTITLED adds swing and moxy. WITH EVERY LIGHT a resolving, finale note, to take us out with the shimmering, 3-way tide of MEDELLIA, DROWN, and 1979.

Overall, really well-paced set, historically respectful, without pandering to the low-hanging fruit of hits to make the point.

W.P.C.