Steely Dan Oakdale Theater Wallingford CT Wednesday April 27, 2016 Reviewed
Steely Dan brought 50 years of entertaining to the gritty ‘burbs of Connecticut last night and with a near sell out crowd played the hits…as best they could.
Time has been a good friend to the Walter Becker Donald Fagen combo, it has allowed them to never have to get a ‘real job’ and their longevity forces you to cut them some slack. Whatever you have been doing for 50 years is inevitably show some wear- and their performance certainly did just that.
Fagens distinct vocal tone is there but its lost the highs and lows The highs now being handed ot the “Dan-ettes” his trio of ladies who hit tones that make dogs come for miles and who do that obnoxious soul roll that women singers feel the need to do. Drop the note move on, ya aint gotta work the scales to show me your range and lack of requirement for oxygen. But I digress….
Becker clearly stated at show start that they would be doing the hits- that they had nothing more to prove anymore other that to please their fans who have blessed them with this lifestyle. From that statement on I felt ripped off. The ‘hits’ are not what I came for. I came for the songs that reminded me of my youth and that are still played daily on my life loop. Sorry Hel, not tonight tonight youre getting FM, without the FM.
The hits were there but lets just say when your ‘backing singers’ are the ONLY singers on your ‘hit’ “Dirty Work”, you should be issuing a drink coupon to your patrons for the rip off. Perhaps Fagen coudn’t hit it anymore but if I wanted to hear a cover tune.. there’s always Google.
Its difficult for me to not rip Walter Becker apart. His podunk grampa jokes and endless rambling coupled with his blank expression made me wonder if he was just doing us a favor by showing up. Musically it was perfect- but I’m here for a live show, if I wanted just musical skills I got the disc. Now the die hards may chime in that this is his shtick- but I have never seen them live before so how the hell would I know. More importantly why should I know- every show even 50 years in should be treated as your first.
Now on to the brass. The Brass section owned the show with more charisma and energy than the duo offering a young mans spin on an old mans obligation. They kept it alive- hell they may actually be keeping Fagen alive.
Fagen looking like a cross between Bernie Sanders and Larry David has contorted himself into a tiny man. I love his voice and as I mentioned I miss the highs and lows. Lack of audience interaction was clearly noted, he left the babble to the ovesized Becker.
But they played the hits and the suburban fatties in the audience were chair wiggling through the entire gig- well until ‘Reeling In The Years’ when a conga line of John Deere drivers and their fake tan botoxed wine wives hustle fist pumped to the aisle. Lord help me I couldn’t even take my eyes off the atrocity. I was reeling for sure- this is my generation?
This being said we have to go back to the fact that this is FIFTY FUCKING YEARS of performance and slack is owed. I have longed to see them live for literally decades and I am so happy I did. I like recordings better. I can say I saw them live and made it out alive.
Here’s the hits
Black Cow, Aja, Hey Nineteen, Black Friday, Kid Charlemagne Show Biz Kids, Dirty Work Karaoke, Time Out of Mind, Daddy Don’t Live In New In That York City, Home At Last, Bodhisttava, Josie, Peg, My Old School, Reelin In The Years, Pretzel Logic