Sunday, October 25, 2009
Just saw Steely Dan in San Francisco, with my long time friend and music fanatic Jim Pire. They performed the entire "Royal Scam" album plus some favorites at the end. The show was great! Fagin and Becker were both lively and fun; Fagin seemed to be very excited and rolled around on his piano bench, looking something like an old grey Stevie Wonder.
At one point, during a between-song lull, someone called out "Freebird" and Fagin called him an asshole, which certainly seemed like a reasonable thing to say in context.
The backup band was wonderful. The lead guitar player knew all the famous licks perfectly, and his own improvs were tasty and very much too the point. The drummer was strong, always on the beat and understated except where, such as during the solo in "Aja", he needed to be showy. And the trombone player, of all people, really got people going whenever he had a solo. The three female backup singers sang strongly and got their own solo vocals, taking the normally male leads in "Dirty Work".
Very cool the hear the entire album; it was played strongly and with great fidelity to the original. All except for "Everything You Did", which was always the weakest song on the album. Evidently "The Dan" felt so too, and gave the song sort of an island beat, which certainly made it a bit more pleasant to listen to.