Could It Be That Donald Fagen Has Finally Learned to Vibe? And If So, What Does That Mean?

6/6/2022 8:21:00 PM

Steely Dan reels in the years at ACL Live

Acl Live, Donald Fagan

What does a Steely Dan concert look like in 2022? Apparently, it's a vibe.

Steely Dan reels in the years at ACL Live

, the better.So, when Fagen lurched on stage in what-appeared-to-be jeans and a dumpy drawstring sweatshirt while his eleven piece backing band (deep breath… three backup singers, two guitarists, two saxophonists, a trombonist, a bassist, some sort of ambiguous quadruple-keyboard wizard, and an absolutely savage drummer who, on his own, accounted for at least twice that) warmed up by playing literal

, I prepared myself for a long night of reminding myself how great Steely Dan’salbumsare. Of course, it took only a few sweeping bars of epic vagabond anthem “Night By Night” to get my head banging.Steely Dan(Photo by Jana Birchum)The shock wasn’t so much that the band ripped (it’s a predictable pleasure to see large ensembles perform arrangement-heavy music, doubly so when you’re intimately familiar with the arrangements; there’s nothing like leaping your eyes to the saxophonist in anticipation of a solo), but that their ringleader was clearly having the best time among them. Maybe that’s the luxury of manning such a widely beloved songbook, but there was a moving contrast between the furrowed brow, can’t-miss-a-measure concentration of the employees and the tendency of the boss to wander around stage, nodding his head at their prowess (or, perhaps, his own curation of it) until it was time to return to his tiny keyboard.

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Monday’s show, nearly the same setlist as Sunday’s, was a solidly entertaining performance. After waiting 47 years—plus another COVID-postponed 2-1/2—to see them live, wondering why no “Do It Again”, “Deacon Blues”, “Rikki” or “FM”? Could’ve been epic. Lol ok

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whatever the hell happened with Aimee Mann , the better.Table of Contents.Information on these pages contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties.) so it’s definitely a no-go for dining alfresco.

So, when Fagen lurched on stage in what-appeared-to-be jeans and a dumpy drawstring sweatshirt while his eleven piece backing band (deep breath… three backup singers, two guitarists, two saxophonists, a trombonist, a bassist, some sort of ambiguous quadruple-keyboard wizard, and an absolutely savage drummer who, on his own, accounted for at least twice that) warmed up by playing literal , I prepared myself for a long night of reminding myself how great Steely Dan’s albums are. Of course, it took only a few sweeping bars of epic vagabond anthem “Night By Night” to get my head banging. Steely Dan (Photo by Jana Birchum) The shock wasn’t so much that the band ripped (it’s a predictable pleasure to see large ensembles perform arrangement-heavy music, doubly so when you’re intimately familiar with the arrangements; there’s nothing like leaping your eyes to the saxophonist in anticipation of a solo), but that their ringleader was clearly having the best time among them. FXStreet does not in any way guarantee that this information is free from mistakes, errors, or material misstatements. Maybe that’s the luxury of manning such a widely beloved songbook, but there was a moving contrast between the furrowed brow, can’t-miss-a-measure concentration of the employees and the tendency of the boss to wander around stage, nodding his head at their prowess (or, perhaps, his own curation of it) until it was time to return to his tiny keyboard. To my further delight, that spirit of bemused self-inspection extended to the singing; Fagen’s voice has aged to a glorious Kermit the Frog vintage where he’s not so much delivering his lyrics as he is twirling them in the air – twisting phrasing and examining wording in relaxed oneness with the groove supporting him. It’s really a win-win-win.

The spectacle of Donald Fagen, contented boomer seems oxymoronic, and perhaps in my indie-er, sleazi-er teens it would have disappointed me. All risks, losses and costs associated with investing, including total loss of principal, are your responsibility. But even a pasty, indoor boy like Donald deserves a chance to ride off into the sunset. At the very least, his pitch black shades (giving a distinct Stevie Wonder flavor to his joyous piano head bobbing) made it plausible to believe such levity was only possible because he didn’t have to actually look at the audience. And indeed, for every glorious sexagenarian dance-party in the aisles, there are times I wish I could have blacked out the crowd as well. If not otherwise explicitly mentioned in the body of the article, at the time of writing, the author has no position in any stock mentioned in this article and no business relationship with any company mentioned. The entire row to my right disappeared for the first half to buy drinks and then spent the second stumbling over me – presumably for reasons of accelerated-bladder-in-human-aging.

The two hour performance could’ve easily coasted on vibe alone. Instead, out of an expert mixture of deep cuts and hits culled from the band’s first LP up through Fagen’s own 1982 solo debut, the setlist was intelligently constructed as a series of showcase moments for the band Fagen took every chance to shout out (his only remotely sour comment came when he confusingly bemoaned vinyl illiteracy. The author makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability of this information. Hasn’t Donald Fagen ever been to an urban outfitters?). Highlights included a fake out cool jazz jam on “Home At Last,” a duel between a melodica-toting Fagen and the rhythm guitarist on “Time Out of Mind,” and a staggering drum fill apocalypse on “Aja” worth about eight million “Moby Dick’s” and “Rat Salads.” And of course, the show ended with a lovely “Reeling in The Years” that came dedicated to Walter Becker and after maybe the shortest encore break I’ve ever seen in my time of concert-going (seriously like 15 seconds). The author and FXStreet are not registered investment advisors and nothing in this article is intended to be investment advice.

Call it accelerated-bladder-in-human-aging. It’s a good look on Steely Dan. Donald Fagen exulting. .