Steely Dan at the NIA, setlist & review

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Lug 6 2009, 17:08

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
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Steely Dan

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  • ClamLydia

    Lovely review!! They were SO good. I really liked how Becker got to sing Daddy Don't Live In That NYC No More. I think his voice suited it beautifully. Also a shout out to Fagen's old-man-stylee-bopping whilst playing the sitar :) Another obvious omission would be Cousin Dupree I thought... it did win them a Grammy after all... I wanna see them again :(

    Lug 6 2009, 17:24
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