Steely Dan

I'll be honest, I had no idea Steely Dan existed until 'Ricky' showed it's head on the Top Forty. After that I was a fan. What great music.

I happened to find and ad for a Steely Dan concert in Melbourne and jumped at the chance. The cost, who cares!

The show was held at the Rod Laver arena in Melbourne and I had a ticket that didn't have me on the floor. I'm not falling for that again. As it turned out, only one fan got up and danced. Maybe I should have?

The show featured Donald Fagen and Walter Becker with a ten piece backing band: Drummer, bass, guitar, keyboard, a four piece brass section and two female vocalists.

Having a list of songs over so long a period to choose from, I had no idea what to expect. I was happily consoled that no new material was performed. I was most happy about this choice by the band, as I have come to the conclusion that everything after 'Nightfly' should be offered as a ritual burning sacrifice. To put a finger on it: There's no soul to the recordings after 'Nightfly'

While I'm on the subject of redundant material, the spotlight falls squarely on Walter Becker. What is he doing playing playing guitar? I liked his bass playing, but could only groan at his attempts at playing solo guitar. He's a fine rhythm player and great duo guitarist, just don't give him a real solo part. To me, a good solo should be melodic. Not so with Walter, every solo, in any song sounds the same. No imagination!

The band worked hard, but for some reason the band sounded flat.

The guitarist had the worst job in that he had to play all of the solos that all of the session guitarist before him had to perform. He did all right, but I didn't feel an edge. Most of the notes where there, just no edge.

The whole band suffered from this flatness. The drum solo in Aja looked great but sounded flat. Just no accents! The guitarist most of the time was just above the average level, he never stood out except for 'Hey Nineteen', when he really nailed the line and had presence.

Walter for the most part just shuffled around, played the same solo all night, and sang one song with the help of the backup vocalists.

Donald was more physical. My main gripe with him was that he seemed to lean to the right and have is head pulled back most of the time. You could almost assume that he was blind and that became a little uncomfortable at times. Donald 'Lost it' at one point and told a fan to keep his request to himself, "We are doing all right so far!"

'Do It Again' was good in that the arrangement was different.

I'm glad I went, but somehow, I expected more!

Am I too greedy?