Steely Dan @ The Honda Center on August 4, 2008
Better Than: going to high school band practice.
Download:“Kid Charlemagne” from the Steely Dan Myspace page.
Steely Dan rocked the Honda Center as softly as possible. Donald Fagen (Vocals/Keyboards) and Walter Becker (Guitar/Vocals) were backed by some outstanding musicians as they took a stroll down memory lane mining some musical gems from the past.
A strong odor was present when I walked into the Honda center. It was not what I was expecting for a Steely Dan concert. Apparently the circus had just left town and forgot to take their odors with them. The odor finally dissipated by the time a majority of Steely Dan took the stage for an instrumental jam as a precursor build up to the arrival of Donald and Walter. Walter and Donald casually walked onto the stage receiving a large ovation from the crowd as they quickly got down to business.
Donald was stationed behind his trusty Fender Rhodes keyboard that was infused with some hypnotic phasing effects for a fluid version of “The Royal Scam”. Freddie Washington (Bass) was playing so deep in the pocket during “I Got The News” that he was beneath the lint. “Bodhisattva” was a showcase for Walter's guitar playing skills, as his technique was superb. It was a clinic in economy of movement as Walter barely moved his right hand for intricate picking attacks in stark contrast to his blurry left hand.
It wasn't just the Donald and Walter show though, as a good majority of the other band members had multiple solo sections weaved into their songs. Keith Carlock (Drums) earned every single cent of his paycheck as his attacked the drums with a jazzy fervor. The members of the horn section shined throughout the night but really stepped up the intensity for “Babylon Sisters”. Donald had his moment in the sun when he would traverse across the stage for his Hohner melodica solo.
Funk was in the air during “Peg” as Steely Dan proved to me that they were a collective of extremely talented musicians. ” My Old School” brought a premature ending to the evening. A standing ovation brought all of Steely Dan out as they ran through “Don’t Take Me Alive” and “Kid” Charlemagne to yet another standing ovation. I doubt a majority of bands today will be able to endure as long as Steely Dan.
Personal Bias: I always think of the movie Knocked Up when Steely Dan is mentioned in conversations.
Random Detail: Chevy Chase played the drums in jam sessions with Donald and Walter back when they were in college.
By The Way: The crowd was seated for a good majority of the show.