Yet another thing I'm torn about with this band: non-band members writing setlists. On the brightside, or maybe rather on the hopeful side, it takes some pressure off everyone. It at least takes some pressure off Phil to be the conductor, which he either feels it necessary to be, is naturally just that way, or becomes a control freak by other nature. The band is still too young to be reading each other at a truly high improvisational rate. I would have to think the learning curve is long and mostly steady with the occasional drops because of mood, life, etc. A couple different generations represented in the band. Different thinking. Different processes. Big, unique brains like Phil. etc etc. So many social variables here that were not present in the GD, not to mention all the great luck of the universe the GD had going their way as they were developing their group language and their individual voices within that speak. And really, really hard work...daily...before they had families and health issues and technological distractions and whatever else marks us as we age.
Ideally, I'd like for there to be no setlists and for the band to readily slip into a stream of group consciousness for three hours a night. It's unrealistic for that to happen with a group of like people, let alone a group of unlike people at varying degrees of life and of different generations and socialized mindsets. Hey, even the GD had to throw in a Spanish Jam, Me & My Uncle, or El Paso in a 30-minute Dark Star space exploration so they could gather their bearings. In other words, I think it's a smart middle to have setlists to offer all these variables a better chance at succeeding. As for the non-band members doing the lists, they do a pretty good job and aren't restrained by having too much musical knowledge. "That can't work with this because of time signatures or tuning." Too bad. Make it work. Or "I bet this would work nicely with that." for no other reason than intuition and curiosity. The maps have so far been pretty interesting most of the time.