Steely Dan Last Night at the Beacon

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Steely Dan Last Night at the Beacon

Postby TonyNYC » Sun Aug 02, 2009 5:34 pm

Never was a huge fan when they were making their records and being the critics' darlings; but gradually learned to like them more and more through the years. Didn't go for the fact that they rarely played live in their search for studio perfection with their quasi cool lyrics and their mix of jazz and white boy soul that at the time sounded sterile to me and my favorite cut by them was Reelin' In The Years which sounded nothing like mostly everything else they ended up doing and I particularly didn't like AJA...

But I was really looking forward to last night's showed billed as fan's request set list night which turned into AJA-because every song from that record got voted in-from beginning to end and then another maybe dozen songs.

The stage was filled with Fagen out front behind his keyboard, 3 guitarists with special guest Larry Carlton, a great four man brass section, three Supreme looking background singers, another keyboard guy, 3 guitarists including Becker, a real hard working drummer, and bass and they all played tight and funky and injected life in every song.

Yes, they started with Aja and it sounded good even to me although the songs started to sound pretty similar to me and the weakest part of the show was Fagen's voice. Though still pretty good and enhanced nicely by the three background singers, it was clear he was straining and it was difficult to hear any of the words. (I really enjoyed this cool touch where the singer after the fourth song moved to an on stage record player and turned the record over). I especially liked Peg, Deacon Blues and I Got The News.

I enjoyed the second half even more and was surprised and pleased to hear that I recognized nearly every song. Loved the speeded up blues of Black Friday, the groove of Hey Nineteen, that slow and low down dirty rhythm that built into Babylon Sisters-Shake It, the three women singers taking turns on the verses and joining together for the Dirty Work chorus, that easy groove of Dr Wu, that airy beginning of Ricki Don't Lose That Number. They did five or six others and then closed with a disappointing Reelin' In The Years that despite the killer guitars came out too pretty and perfect especially when the women singers sang the chorus way too sweetly instead of making it gritty. The one song encore, My Old School, was tremendous, completely fun and I still can't get that infectious melody out of my head.

Yes, a great great show and I still love that idea of an old band doing one album through and then tacking on a whole additional set. Glad to hear Poco will do that at Wildwood and I sure wih I was going.
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