Becker and Fagen brought their Rent Party tour to Minneapolis' refurbished Northrup Auditorium on the University of Minnesota campus to the happiness and joy of 4000 of their closest friends. Featuring a smoldering chorus, full blown horn section, an additional keyboardist and powerhouse drummer and lead guitarist the Dan was in fine form from the get go last night. Opening to a fast paced jazz instrumental the band sans Becker and Fagen quickly developed a deep groove which then allowed for extended solo passages from each of the nights featured players, as the band faded out at the coda, fagen and Becker strolled out to a sustainesd applause, one of the Danettes put a copy of Aja on an old turntable and the groove reassembled into the ramshackle soul funk grind of Black Cow. Aja immediately upped the intensity while Deacon Blues brought the crowd to its first of many loud outbursts of applause.
The band really began to find its range with a peppy and playful Peg. I've Got The News and Home at Last may have been the lesser known tracks on the album but in concert were two of the night's best songs. Featuring sizzling solos and dynamic backing vocals, they segued into a blistering Josie which set the mood for the rest of the evening - exciting, fun, soul driven guitar romps with horn and sax solos pushing the well honed band to its fullest capacities.
The gaucho tunes were absolutely brilliant - Time Out of Mind finding a groove and stomping it into the ether, Hey 19 a lament of sexual tension and loathing and Babylon Sisters a righteous romp featuring a slithery funk underpinning and the gospel tinged vocals of the Steely dan chorale as Fagen called the backing singers. Smoking versions of Don't Take Me Alive and Midnight Cruiser set the stage for the best of the nighta scorching take of Show Biz Kids - sweet! Crowd favorite Kid Charlemagne ended the set proper and an extended sing along version of Reelin'In The Years was served up for the encore.
A great show of fine playing and singing the Dan gave its all and then some, too bad that the crowd wasn't up to the challenge, with an Allman Bros worthy meat in the seat ethic ruling, the dangerous grooves and hot solos were left to chair dancing and voodoo trances. I felt bad for the lady next to me as she got the full show's worth of air drums and guitar emanating - fuck I don't like paying $125 to be shackled to my chair the whole night! Oh well, a small quibble on a night of great music and something I never thought that I'd say about Steely Dan, plain ole fun!
Thanks for the show review. I'm a HUGE Steely fan; their band is always hot. I'm definitely feeling the empathy for you regarding the "no dancing" sentiment among most Steely show attendees. I'm really not exaggerating when I say it saddens me deeply to a) witness such an intensly invigorating, groove oriented, rockin' band perform to a SEATED(!) audience and b) to be asked to sit down by fellow concert goers (aaaarg!) when the music moves me to boogie!
Same thing happenes at the Beacon Steely shows...sux. I don't go anymore because of it.
cant have some people standing and most people sitting..either everyone stands or it has to be seated..i was actually at one of the beacon shows where the crowd was seated and one jerk insisted on standing and making it impossible for those behind him to see the show...the security people were called over several times and this guy who was an incredible jerk kept standing back up and making sure he danced so he could disturb as many people as possible.....now understand,i have been to about 50 allman brothers shows over the years at the beacan along with phil lesh and govt mule etc. where everyone is standing from the minute the show starts and it is simply understood....in that case i could no sooner ask people to sit than this obnoxious jerk could be allowed to stand if others are seated!