Randy's Corner Deli Library

28 August 2013

Steely Dan Live at the Nokia Theater August 25, 2013 - A Review by Randy Shiner

Steely Dan at the Nokia last Sunday night, August 25, 2013, was nothing short of masterful in every way. I was awed by the musicianship I have been listening to since Can't Buy a Thrill (1974), live for the first time. The consistency in Steely Dan that still makes them (it?) relevant today is Fagen and Becker's continuing demand for excellence in each individual band member (they have created enemies over the years because of this) whom they employ, and of course those fat Fagen/Becker riffs and lyrics that are, for lack of a better word, timeless because they deal with universal, sometimes seemy human issues that will never, ever, be replaced by a computer. A computer will never know the Cuervo Gold or the fine Columbian.

Especially noteworthy to me, in addition to, obviously, Fagen and Becker, was the playing of Jon Herington on guitar. He played the guitar like Jimi Hendrix when the occasion warranted it, and like Wes Montgomery when the time was right to go off on a jazz solo, and did so as if he was at the Vanguard in front of 50 people, not several thousand.

Keith Carlock on the drumset was nothing short of rock solid in his attack and timekeeping, and went off on many beautiful, creative flourishes that were just awesome to behold. I couldn't imagine, at times, what I was seeing, as in the lengthy drum solo about three-quarters the way through "Aja". The sound of his bass drum came through my chest 29 rows back in CC.

The wonderful thing about this live performance is that they allowed themselves the artistic freedom to explore well-known Fagen/Becker phrases on their own, much as a hard bop jazz musician take the head of a piece and improvises musically on that theme, eventually circling back to the theme itself. What a magnificent performance.


(Gerry Mulligan cover) (The Bipolar Allstars only)
Your Gold Teeth
Hey Nineteen
Show Biz Kids
Black Cow
Black Friday
Time Out of Mind
Daddy Don't Live in That New York City No More
(Walter Becker sings)
Deacon Blues
Rikki Don't Lose That Number
(Tour debut)
Do It Again
I Want to (Do Everything for You)
(Joe Tex cover) (Band Intros by Walter Becker)
My Old School
Reelin' in the Years
Kid Charlemagne
Untouchables Theme
(Nelson Riddle cover) (The Bipolar Allstars only)