I’ve been fortunate enough to make it to Texas Independence Day at Terminal 5 in New York City each of the past 6 or 7 years. Minus one lost year when I was in Mississippi and one of those years attending only one of the two shows – that year TID being broken up into two shows. Pat Green’s missed at least one of those years too, so I figure Pat and I are even. In anticipation of this year’s show the date of which I don’t think has been announced, I’d like to suggest a set list just in case PFG happens to stumble across this post. (And if JAB, Randy Rogers Band, Casey Donahew Band or whoever else may also be playing so requests I’d be happy to put together set lists for them as well.) To be clear, this list doesn’t represent the 15 or so songs that I’d most like to hear. Choosing only among my favorites, which are hard to narrow down to 15 anyway, probably wouldn’t make for the best concert. Rather, I’ve tried to consider the following factors: (1) the songs Green seems to like to play in concert generally and at NYC TID shows in the past specifically, (2) the venue, (3) the typical NYC audience likely to turn out, (4) balance among the types and tempos of songs, (5) sampling across Green’s albums, (6) danceability, (7) singability and (8) the nature of the event.
1. Here We Go
3. Baby Doll
4. Girls From Texas
I think Here We Go is a strong choice to lead off the concert. It’s not only a nice chronological bookend being the first song off Green’s first album, it’s also a great rev up song to get the crowd going and a signal that, yeah, this is going to be a strong concert where we hear at least some unexpected old greats. This song will flow well into the similarly up-tempo Cannonball and Baby Doll, the latter of which is a good segue into Girls From Texas (which I don’t particularly care for, but does take us to Green’s latest album Home and seems to be a crowd pleaser particularly at a Texas-centric events like this).
5. Texas On My Mind
7. Don’t Break My Heart Again
8. Life Good as it Can Be
I really like Texas On My Mind and I think it’s appropriate given the nature of the event and a solid Texas back-to-back after GFT. This is only a semi-regular Green concert offering at least up north, so if Green wanted to substitute a Texas song he wrote I’d be OK with I Like Texas instead. Having been reminded that PFG can rock out and that he’s true Texas Country (and anyway we’re all throwing up horns tonight), I think it’s then time to slow things down with Whiskey (underrated) and then into an older and newer slow song. If time allowed and we can get in an extra song I’d add Threadbare Gypsy Soul in after Whiskey (Whiskey in my opinion is a better choice than Galleywinter which Green seems to like to play), perhaps with Casey Donahew coming out to sing Willie’s part of the duet. Although I like the juxtaposition of Life and Wave (see next grouping), I think Day One could be substituted here for Life although to go along with that sub I’d also replace Don’t Break with Temporary Angel.
9. Wave on Wave
10. Carry On
11. All The Good Things Fade Away
12. Just Fine
13. Southbound 35
14. Three Days
There’s nothing to pick up the tempo again better than Wave on Wave, particularly since this is the one song we can count on most of even the New Yorkers to be able to sing along to seamlessly. And I think playing this song earlier in the show clarifies (if there was any doubt) that PFG is more than a one-trick pony and avoids the predictability of waiting for this on the encore. The rest of the grouping represents core Green offerings both in terms of concert playing frequency and caliber of content, and I’d be particularly pleased with Southbound and Three Days ending the concert set proper. This is a nice chunk of vintage PFG songs that loyalists will be happy to sing along to but that newcomers would also enjoy. Reversing the order of the last two songs does have some merit since Southbound is a bit more up tempo to close out the show (pre-encore) but I give Three Days the nod because it feels more nostalgic and I think the repetition of the chorus lines allow more people less versed in Green to sing along going into the end of the show.
16. Take Me Out to a Dancehall
Lucky was also a contender to open up the show (ultimately a Texas song got the call given context) but would make a fine choice to start the encore particularly given the excitable and familiar riffs the song starts with and the awesome lyrics blending patriotism, nostalgia and general optimism. Take Me Out to a Dancehall is probably Green’s most recognizable song besides Wave on Wave, fitting for the venue and an overall very upbeat song but one that ends on a calmer, romantic note appropriate for the end of the show.
In trying to put together this objectively optimal set list I think I’ve been pretty impartial. Personally I’d love to hear Rusty Old American Dream – which I’ve never been able to hear in concert and think is a sorely underrated song. I’d also love to hear Poetry and John Wayne and Jesus and George’s Bar is another stellar song omitted here. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t note that there are some absolutely rabid Down to the River fans who will be saddened if this song isn’t played. Plenty of other great PFG songs too, but unfortunately never enough time, and I think the set list I’ve put together would make for a very solid show.