Sunday, August 04, 2013

Steely Dan Setlist, August 2

Saw S.D. at Ravinia Music Festival, Highland Park, Illinois, on Friday.  It was the third time I'd seen the Dan--once in Albuquerque about five years ago, once at Saratoga--about 1995, I'd say.  This time, they weren't promoting a new album, so it was almost all just the old favorites, which was appropriate given the crowd was almost all just old fans.  They called this the "Mood Swings Tour"; there was, as always, a lot of jazz influence, new arrangements--some dramatically different, and they had a blues band to open for them.

Their band was excellent, as one would expect ('that standard of mine', as Fagen said, in "Deacon Blues"--possibly referring to something else?)  Four horns, one a local trombonist of some note, three backup singers, lead guitar, bass and drums.  Becker played mostly rhythm guitar and a few lead parts (not the harder ones, I'd say), Fagen various keyboards, including the melodica.  The real revelation was the lead guitarist, who I found out is named Jon Herington.  They credited him with the new arrangements, and his performance of the lead guitar parts (some of the classics performed note for note, some new stuff, all brilliantly fluid) was what amazed me the most about the performance.  Becker seemed to be taking it very lightly, while Fagen was...well, a hipster.  Which is what he is, always has been--it's good there's now a word for it.

For my money, they played a little too much from "Aja", their most popular album.  A couple more songs--in particular, I would've liked to hear "West of Hollywood"--from their albums from the 2000's would've been just fine with me.  Here's the list:  the numbers after the titles are from the rankings of my favorite 25 Steely Dan songs, which I posted in April, 2011, to celebrate "the Royal Scam" of the wedding of British royals William and Kate (oh yeah, congratulations on the baby--"George" probably not the best choice of names from the American point of view, but, what the heck, it's your choice).

Blueport - Gerry Mulligan cover -- (the band, without Becker and Fagen, called the "Bipolar Allstars")
Your gold teeth (#10)
Aja (#1)
Hey nineteen
Show biz kids (very different arrangement) (#9)
Green Earrings
Black Cow
Time Out of Mind (somehow didn't make my list)
Godwhacker  (in case it's unfamiliar, from "Everything Must Go", their most recent album)
Monkey in Your Soul (Becker singer)
Bodhisattva  (#3)
Razor Boy (sung by the backup singers, called "The Borderline Brats")
Deacon Blues
Intro the band song
My Old School (#14)
Reelin in the Years (#17) 
Encore:  Kid Charlemagne (#4) provided the name for the opening song, thanks.   I checked some of the other setlists from the tour there; 12 or so of the 17 have been the same for every concert, but they've cycled in "Babylon Sisters", "King of the World", "I Got the News", and "Black Friday" for "Deacon Blues", "Black Cow", and "Green Earrings".  It's all good.

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