Can You Decode The Numbers On Meshuggah's Concert Set List?

Photo of the band's setlist from last Thursday leaves fans puzzled with mysterious numbers.

Ultimate Guitar

During Meshuggah's concert in Philadelphia last Thursday, one of the photographers from has managed to snap a photo of the band's set list for that evening. The photo wouldn't be much of an eye-catcher if it weren't for a strange string of numbers listed before and after each of the songs.

Such a mysterious code has left fans curious for it's meaning, with numerous theories already circulating the Internet. Some say it represents presets numbers for the guitarists, while the others think it may have something to do with the lightning effects or rhythm of the tracks. But it seems as if we'll never know for sure.

The concert itself was a part of the group's current US tour with Animals As Leaders. What is also interesting is that the show has turned out to be the last one featuring a cardboard cutout replacing frontman Jens Kidman, who was unable to perform due to a flu. The singer has returned to the stage the very next day for a concert in New York. Prior to hitting the road, the band has released a free 2-track EP.

So this is quite a puzzle, right? Do you think you're up for decoding this one? And what theories have you come up with so far? Let us know in the comments section below.

63 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Probably banks/patches for their Axe-Fx. Or..the code to summon the kraken. Could reasonably go either way.
    It was already clarified it's related to the stage lighting effects, so don't waste time over thinking and over analyzing it. Unless you want to separate the body from the mind, of course.
    Nah I am pretty sure that this is linked to the meteor crash in russia and 9/11.
    i dont see why they would need info on lighting effects on their setlist
    How do you know it's the setlist the band reads from on-stage, though? Lighting techs, and sound guys, have setlists too if they're touring with the band and need to know when to switch to different scenes (or in the case of sound guys, when to bring certain faders up/unmute certain mic channels, etc.).
    They add up to 42. Meaning of life.
    It's not the first time I see mysterious numbers on a setlist. I have three original Trivium setlists at home, and there are some numbers on it, also the abbreviation H.O. No idea what it means...
    Could be 'House On', as in, at the end of that song (or during it, if they extend a middle section to involve the crowd) the house lights come up and the crowd are lit up, for whatever reason? Plenty of bands write various shorthand things on the setlists (my band even do it) to remember that certain things are to happen between or during songs (like 1st song goes straight into the 2nd/pause after 2nd song for singer to say something etc.). I am afraid it's probably something as mundane as that.
    This same thing was on a picture of their set in guitar world mag... all i want to know is if they are stoppin gin new mexico!
    I think this has something to do with the pope giving up his title and the meteors in Russia. It was the free EP that gave it away.
    The numbers on the left proabbly represent how many strings must a guitar have to play the song. Dunno what the X means tho.
    They might be guides to time signature changes. I know Dream Theater used to use this for Dance of Eternity. Much like Dream Theater, Meshuggah's time signatures are pretty wild, and a little bit of direction might help them put on a better performance.
    Did anybody else scroll past the pic on purpose because they don't want the setlist spoiled for them?
    I don't really know that band, but I heard they often change the rythm is their song, maybe the numbers are the rhytm changes...
    I just saw them last night, awesome show. The set was a little different than this though. I really wish they had played New Millenium but it was still an amazingly uncompromising show.
    They don't mean anything... They just put them on there to confuse everyone... It worked.
    Wow, **** the numbers, that's a pretty meh setlist. Not a damn thing off Nothing, most of the set is Catch 33 material.. Good album, but definitely not their best..
    Two songs are from Catch 33 The majority is from KOLOSS, which is the album they're promoting.
    The numbers probably mark the different timings in songs. For example, Dancers To A Discordant System goes in 3/4, 5/4 & 2/5 timings.
    I have one of the setlists from that exact concert (awesome show by the way), and me and my friend were wondering the same thing about the numbers, but it's probably something to do with the effects they use because on other setlists I've collected, there were numbers on certain songs as that this made news though!
    Is that New Millennium a Dream Theater cover or is it one of their own songs?
    Chords, pitch class sets, or just some random dude who cant count properly