Adding spice to your concert 1 – Planning and Effects

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There’s something that I really love in Rock Band, and that’s the “Make a Setlist” concerts. Sometimes I just pick a bunch of songs I feel like playing, sometimes I treat it more “seriously”. I imagine myself planning a real concert, so I think “ok, we have to start with a bang, then keep it up with the second song, then we can follow with a pop hit, then a mellower piece… and the last song definitely has to have a big rock ending”.

Have you ever done that? Or am I some kind of freak? Anyway, I have found that when I actually do that, when I plan my concert as if it was real, in the end the feeling of satisfaction with a “job well done” is much greater.

This is the first of a series of 3 posts with ideas on how to add more customization options to your Rock Band concerts. And by the way, I’d like to comment on Guitar Hero 5 here as well. It was a big disappointment for me the fact that you don’t play a bunch of songs in a sequence, instead picking them one by one. It totally breaks momentum and keeps the experience from being really immersive. In fact, you only make setlists in Quickplay mode. Setlists are a GREAT idea, and Rock Band have used this very well.

One thing that I’d definitely like to see is an option to know in advance if a specific song has a big rock ending. This could be turned on in the “Modify Game” menu. Nowadays I have to remember which songs have it, and my memory sucks, frankly.

Ok, so anyway… planning a concert can involve a lot of different things. If you’ve ever watched Alice Cooper or Malice Mizer shows, you know that costume changes can play a very big part. At the beginning of the show, Alice will frequently be this scary figure dressed in black leather and, later on, he dies. And when he comes back, he’ll be dressed in white, with a white tophat, and all is well and fun. Falling balloons, pyrotechnics, confetti rain… everything at once. It’s awesome.

I’d like to be able to add such moments to my concert. I’d like to have a huge array of costumes to choose from. Even silly ones, like teddy bear or austronaut costumes. Wouldn’t it be cool to add a big finish to the concert where everyone in the band changed their clothes, say, to egyptian costumes and played “Powerslave”? What about adding special pyrotechnics to this moment of the show? Plan your lighting effects?

Maybe in the “planning menu” you could choose to change the background of your stage or even invite some people from the crowd to sing in the microphone with the band. I’ve watched a video in which The Offspring is going to start playing “Session” and Dexter invites THE WHOLE AUDIENCE to come up onstage and sing it with him. That’s the real spirit of rock.

Of course, planning a concert would take some time, and sometimes you just wanna play some songs. But I’d like to have the option to plan my “Make a Setlist” concerts. I think it would add depth to the experience and it would be a lot of fun.

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