Steely Dan. For me, it can't get much better, and seeing this amazing 13-piece band in concert is the treat of the summer. An absolutely outstanding evening of music offered by The Steely Dan Orchestra was experienced at The Gorge in George WA, on Saturday, August 2nd. Even the weather was cooperative: warm with enough clouds to shut out the sun during the beginning of the concert, but not enough to prevent a brilliant, red sunset by the end of the first set.
The set opened at 7:16 pm PDT, with the band playing the Ray Bryant instrumental, Cubano Chant. Our "principals", as Donald would describe Walter and himself at the start of Set Two, arrived shortly afterwards. Donald sat down, and the band began Aja.
1. Cubano Chant (Ray Bryant Tune)
2. Aja (Aja)
3. Time Out Of Mind (Gaucho)
4. Godwhacker (extended "mix") (EMG - Everything Must Go)
5. Caves of Altamira (Royal Scam)
6. Blues Beach (EMG)
7. Babylon Sisters (Gaucho)
8. Slang of Ages (EMG)
9. Peg (Aja)
10. Home at Last (Aja)
11. The Steely Dan Show
12. Janie Runaway (2VN)
13. Hey Nineteen (Gaucho)
14. Haitian Divorce (Royal Scam)
15. The Things I Miss The Most (EMG)
16. Parker's Band (Pretzel Logic)
17. Josie (Aja)
18. Kid Charlamagne (Royal Scam)
19. Don't Take Me Alive (Royal Scam)
20. My Old School (Countdown to Ecstasy)
21. FM (FM Soundtrack)
NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:
1. Cubano Chant: Nice, smooth opening for the band, allowing the members to flex a bit of muscle and get their chops working!
2. Aja: Outstanding, brilliant execution, with Keith Carlock channelling Steve Gadd and adding his own touches. The audience is already spellbound with this brilliant musician.
3. Time Out Of Mind: Nicely done, out of left field, not a tune I thought I'd ever hear, loved it
4. Godwhacker: Donald brings out the melodica, and the band cooks into high gear. Jon Herington provides the bed guitar track, allowing Walter to solo throughout the tune. The girls, all stunners as usual, bring their b/u vocals into high gear. The tune gets an "extended mix" to allow some of the players to solo, including Cornelius Bumpus, Jim Pugh, Michael Leonhart and Walt Weiskopf.
5. The Caves of Altamira: What a surprise! The horns opened the song, of course, and "blew" me away! (Sorry, couldn't resist.)
6. Blues Beach: The catchy number of the new album, a fun tune, great harmonies, with Carolyn Leonhart taking the solo line during the extro section
7. Babylon Sisters: I'm dying in my seat at this point. Watching and hearing Carlock count it in, I'm beside myself (no, I had'nt sees any previous set lists so didn't know it was the next tune). I SO love this song. And the girls' "you gotta shake it baby" harmony was bang on.
NOTE - By this time, the band had already received 4 or 5 semi-standing o's after the tunes.
8. Slang of Ages: Donald, who by this time was riffing with the crowd, introduces Walter, who does a great job on the tune. Afterwards, he introduces every band member to raucous applause and approval. Someone from the crowd screams, "SHOW BIZ KIDS"!, and two second later, they begin:
9. Peg: Regular crowd pleaser, well done, Herington interprets the Graydon guitar solo differently each time.
10. Home at Last: I'm beside myself again. Such a brilliant tune, Ted Baker is bang on with his intro, the band smokes, the audience is in heaven.