1. Open up with a deep cut from the first (successful) album. Let the crowd know that you know that your first album was totally fuckin’ awesome, even though you wrote all those songs when you were like 20 and now they’re kind of embarrassing.
2. Poorly received single that is still loved by diehard fans.
3. The 3rd best song on your 3rd album, which was a return to form for the band but an absolute critical failure that got you dropped from your major label deal.
4. Lead track off the 4th album. Not that anyone gives two shits about your creative output past the first album, but now that you’re in your 40s and married you might as well play that song you wrote that one time when you were actually sober about the woman who would later be your wife, right? Which totally won’t alienate your crowd at all, I swear.
5. Third track from the 2nd album which was a miserable failure as you tried too hard to capitalize on the success of your first album by releasing some contrived over-produced pop bullshit, but the third track still stands out as being a half-way decent effort despite how terribly Disney-fied it sounds on the record.
6. Bring it old school with an updated version of a song from your debut EP, or other slightly obscure work that pre-dates your mainstream success. Make sure you mention that “We’re gonna bring it old school right now” in the introduction to the song.
7. Drop in a live favorite, something that’s enhanced by the crowd, preferably with a sing-along or clap-along section. You know your fans love the clap.
8. Lead single from the 3rd album. Dammit, that really was a good record, looking back on it. Too bad it didn’t take off the way you wanted it to.
9. Now is a good time to play that new song you guys just wrote that no one in the audience has heard yet. They’re in a good mood, so they’re more willing to forgive the miserable ennui they’re about to experience for the next 4 minutes.
10. Ease the crowd out of their nap with either a re-worked version of an acoustic song that builds in dynamics, or a quiet version of one of your more rockin’ hits that doesn’t actually get rockin’ again until the very end. They’ll be that much more excited once the good part finally happens.
11. First track off the first successful album. This is an abusive relationship between you and your fans, and it’s time to remind them why they love you.
12. That Other Good Song From The 4th Album
13. A cover song, but not one that you’ve previously performed. Try an ironic cover of a presently popular song, or a real old school throwback to your influences’ influences that you used to lie about being influenced by but now that you’re older you actually listen to them.
14. A fan-favorite B-Side, or maybe a song that was only released on a soundtrack or something.
15. That Other Good Song From The 2nd Album
16. One more gem from the 3rd album
17. Just play the god damn single already, that’s all they wanted to hear in the first place and by now they’ve put up with enough of your narcissistic bullshit that you may as well give in.