I’ve always been obsessed with the Beatles. And not in the sense that I just enjoy their music.
No, my obsession runs much deeper. I have a fantasy-prone personality that encourages me to create impossible, complex fantasies that mix my personal life with professional sports, music and other scenarios.
When it was announced that the entire Beatles catalog-13 albums and 4 compilations-would be offered on streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play and others, I found myself enjoying the band over again for what felt like the first time.
And then I got obsessed.
Most people spent the week fantasizing about what they would do if they won the Powerball jackpot. I did that too, of course, but I also fantasized about something even more impossible than winning the lottery.
It came down to thesis: What if the Beatles could reunite for a tour in 2016? Setting aside the reality that two members of my scenario are dead, what would happen in a three-hour concert if it were possible? What would they play? And selfishly, what would a dream setlist look like for me if I could choose it?
It turns out, I wasn’t the only person in the world thinking about this. This Reddit thread from 2014 asks a similar question: If John Lennon was never murdered and the Beatles had a reunion at some point in the ’80s or later, what would your dream 25-song setlist by them be?
The task proved to be difficult to many users who responded.
Answers were varied with some users hoping for more “Beatlemania” songs (1963-65) and others focusing on the later years. The realists suggested a majority of material would come from albums such as “Let It Be” (1970) and “Abbey Road” (1969), considering the natural progression of the band’s sound at the time of their demise.
Although, considering his recent setlists, it’s likely that Paul McCartney would’ve championed a career-spanning set with a jangly pop song-i.e., “Eight Days a Week”-to open the show.
Some users also proposed that a fantasy reunion would allow for each member to perform select solo songs from their individual careers. Imagine three mini-sets (I’m leaving out Ringo because . yeah) with collaborative portions of the show at the beginning and end. A bookended concert, in other words.
Regardless of the songs performed, most users estimated that a modern Beatles setlist would include, accounting for an encore or two, about 35-40 songs spanning their entire catalog. This idea served as my starting point in creating my own fantasy playlist.
But then I started digging some more and found a blog called The Beatles: Get Back World Tour.The idea of the blog is to imagine the Beatles decided to gather for one last tour on the 25th anniversary of the band in 1989.
The anonymous creator writes:
The scenario is very simple: John was never killed, he did enjoy much success in the ’80s, some great records and some historic concerts like the A Conspiracy of Hope Tour in ’86. The Fab Four appeared for the first time on Live Aid in ’85 and they appeared jamming rock classics together at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in ’88. Now, they decide to make a final huge world tour before returning to their solo careers.
The detail is stunning with specific lists of equipment used, concert locations and a tour schedule for every day, including the time of a soundcheck, showtime and load in/out listed to the minute.
Included in the blog are setlists for every stop on the 42-date tour. Each stop includes special guests and songs, but some aspects of the setlist remains the same throughout. For example, each show opens with “Get Back” and is followed by “Revolution.” Interestingly, the band concludes each night with a set of four “Beatlemania” songs as an encore, a concept I adopted for my own list below. Click here to see all of the setlists.
For my setlist, I also leaned less toward realistic and more toward “these are the songs I’d like to hear.” I’ve also excluded any solo material because it would be too difficult to imagine with all of these great Beatles songs. It was difficult enough limiting it to 40 songs.
I’ve included a Spotify playlist of my setlist (see below). I encourage you to make your own dream setlists and post them in the comments section. Also, please rip this apart. Tell me what I missed. What would you change? Am I way off?
Note: I spent way too much time on this.
Sean’s fantasy Beatles setlist
1. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
2. With a Little Help From My Friends
3. Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds
4. Eight Days a Week
5. Day Tripper
6. Every Little Thing
7. I Should Have Known Better
8. I’m Looking Through You
10. In My Life
11. Back in the U.S.S.R.
12. Dear Prudence
13. I Am the Walrus
14. Lovely Rita
15. Penny Lane
16. Strawberry Fields Forever
17. Eleanor Rigby
18. I Want You (She’s So Heavy) / Hey Bulldog
19. Come Together
20. And Your Bird Can Sing
21. Happiness Is a Warm Gun
23. I’ll Follow the Sun
27. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
28. Let It Be
29. Get Back
30. You Never Give Me Your Money
31. Golden Slumbers
32. Carry That Weight / The End
33. All You Need Is Love
34. A Day in the Life
35. Here Comes the Sun
36. Hey Jude
Final encore-“Beatlemania” set
37. She Loves You
38. Please Please Me
39. I Want to Hold Your Hand
40. A Hard Day’s Night
The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, notNooga.comor its employees.