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  • Steely Dan at the NIA, setlist & review

    6 Jul 2009, 17:08 by Stubbsy67

    Mon 29 Jun – Steely Dan

    The setlist
    I was writing this down on my phone during the gig as I always do, and during the penultimate song my phone decided to crash and lose the whole thing. Below is definitely the correct songs in a mostly correct order, but if anyone remembers different just drop a comment :-)

    Reelin' In The Years
    Time Out Of Mind
    Show Biz Kids
    My Old School
    Aja
    Bad Sneakers
    Two Against Nature
    Black Friday
    Hey Nineteen
    Daddy Don't Live In That New York City No More
    Parker's Band
    Glamour Profession
    Babylon Sisters
    Deacon Blues
    Josie
    Peg

    - - - - - (encore)
    FM
    Kid Charlemagne


    Having nearly been put off by the ticket price, I'd been looking forward to this baby since I finally caved in and bought the tickets. I definitely hold no regrets - in fact, given my time again I wouldn't have dilly-dallied for so long and got better seats! Due to parking difficulties and extreme precipitation we arrived mid way through the half hour set of the Toon Roos Quartet, but from what I heard they sounded lively and musically qualified - certainly an apt support choice for the Dan.

    The Steely Dan band (11 compentent musicians strong) took the stage at 8:20pm, playing a lengthy instrumental to showcase the diverse sound of what was to follow, before the audience warmly welcomed Donald Fagen & Walter Becker to the stage. One aspect I noted and enjoyed throughout the evening was the poetic licence Steely Dan took with their songs, and this was present from the very first song. Reelin' In The Years lacked the speed and the excitable guitars/saxophone found on the album, leaving a stripped back and mellow tune that was more dependent on backing singers. So radical were the changes that it had me stumped until the end of the first verse!

    Elsewhere, the female backing singers were relieved of singing "lost wages" throughout Show Biz Kids, instead singing it occassionally (and more obviously), as well as shifting around the verses and chorus somewhat. Daddy Don't Live In That NYC also had it's main guitar lick played down significantly and saw Becker take the microphone for a very strong vocal performance. Hey Nineteen lost a number of it's perviest lines (can't think why...), and featured Becker giving a lengthy spoken intro the "Cuervo Gold" part whilst the band jammed, which was pretty awesome. The only change I didn't like was during Kid Charlemagne, Fagen decided not to hold the note on "Get along" during the chorus as he does on record, which I felt spoilt the catchiness and melody.

    Some songs were altered less than others, in particular Parker's Band, which was performed as tightly to the record as possible, and was impressive for this reason alone. In general I thought the setlist was fantastic - a lot of gems here that I didn't expect and were great to hear live, whilst still packing in most of the classics. Obvious omissions were Do It Again and Rikki Don't Lose That Number, and given that they played 4 out of 7 tracks from Gaucho I was a little upset they didn't play my personal favourite the title track Gaucho, but never mind.

    Quick shout out for the lighting as well, which was fantastic throughout. Perfectly in time with the music and gave great feeling to a lot of songs, for example, a darker and sinister edge during Josie.

    In brief, Steely Dan are perfectionists, so I didn't expect anything less than perfection. 10/10
  • Steely Dan @ Aintree Pavilion, Liverpool - 6th July 2007

    14 Jul 2007, 21:54 by zepmeister7

    Steely Dan

    set list

    Time Out Of Mind
    Godwhacker
    Bad Sneakers
    Two Against Nature
    Hey Nineteen
    Haitian Divorce
    Peg
    Home At Last
    Green Earrings
    Dirty Work
    Josie
    Chain Lightning
    Aja
    Kid Charlemagne
    --
    FM
    My Old School


    To be honest I wasn't sure if Steely Dan would have a support act; musically, Donald and Walter have never suffered fools gladly, so if they had one, they'd have to be top notch. And the
    Sam Yahel Trio were just that. We witnessed some wonderful drumming by Gregory Hutchinson ably supported by keyboardist and chief songwriter Sam Yahel. I must admit, I have to be in the mood for pure jazz (and what better than a Steely Dan gig to put you in the frame of mind for jazz?!) and whilst it could be said that this was free-form indulgence, it was palatable. Sam Yahel made sure by embarking on a free-form version of Norwegian Wood, which went down well with the locals.

    After the interval, the supremely laid back Walter Becker and the slightly hyper Donald Fagen arrived on stage to kick things of with Time Out Of Mind. Fagen was lead vocalist for the first five songs before he allowed himself a rest, with Becker taking on the mantle of Haitian Divorce. Strange choice though because there are some Steely Dan songs where the Fagen vocal is essential, and some less so. In this case, very much essential as Haitian Divorce doesnt pack as much of a punch without a Fagen vocal. Walter could have sung Jack Of Speed or something from his solo Eleven Tracks of Whack. Unlike the last time I saw them, in 2001, when they did Bodhisattva, Boston Rag and Night By Night for example, this show was very much latter era Dan concentric (Aja/Royal Scam/Gaucho/Katy Lied). The only deference to the early stuff was a version of Dirty Work sung by the female backing vocalists. To me, the song doesnt work this way.


    As ever, Donald, Walter and co put together a great show full of peerless instrumentation, culminating in the wonderful title track from Aja. But where was all the early stuff? I'm sure Bodhisattva would have gone down a storm, just as it did six years ago at Wembley.

    And where-o-where was Reelin' In The Years or Do It Again? If the Eagles did a show without Hotel
    California/REM did a show without Losing My Religion/Dr Hook did a show without Sylvia's Mother, there'd be a riot!!!!

    A great show that left you feeling good but - without Reelin' In The Years - strangely empty too.
  • UK venues group

    25 Mar 2007, 18:05 by zepmeister7

    If you are a regular gig-goer in the UK and have something to say about music venues in the UK, then please feel free to contribute to my UK venues group, or maybe even to join it!

    thanks