School’s Out: Steely Dan at the Susquehanna Bank Center, 6/28/08

A real treat (it’s true, my uncle Rory took me) was catching the Steely Dan Think Fast summer 2008 tour when it rolled into Camden Saturday night. A mix of mostly deep tracks and some hits, it was a fine show and I must defend Messrs. Walter Becker and Donald Fagen for pushing the envelope and not just trotting out the old staples (more on this later). The set list in question:

Everyone’s Gone To The Movies/The Fez/Becker and Fagen entrance
The Royal Scam
I Got The News
Show Biz Kids
Everything You Did
Two Against Nature
Hey Nineteen
Babylon Sisters
New Frontier
Home At Last
Parker’s Band
Green Earrings
Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart (Supremes)/band introduction
Don’t Take Me Alive
Kid Charlemagne

When trying to find a fourth to go with us to the show, the conversation I entered into a lot went something like:

“Wanna go?”
“I don’t really know their music that much.”
“Sure you do, you know ‘Rikki, Don’t Lose That Number” or “Reelin’ In The Years”, right?”
“Oh yeah!”

Of course, neither of those songs (or as jazz guys say, “numbers”) got played, including a big hit like “My Old School”. This seemed to create some snarky comments in the parking lot afterward, mostly about how there weren’t enough hits. I think it was refreshing to hear some deeper tracks like “Don’t Take Me Alive” and “Home At Last”. There are plenty of bands of a certain age out there that just trot out the bread and circuses and collect a princely sum. And that’s fine, but I think it’s more daring and artistically challenging to play some numbers that aren’t as popular. Maybe you’ll get a new appreciation for some deep tracks instead of wearing out the same old radio hits (that you’ll hear again if you wait ten minutes on the classic rock station anyway).

As it was, Steely Dan played for two hours and were whip-crack sharp. The vocal mix did seem to be a bit muddy, maybe it was the humidity or where I was sitting (on the far right side under the roof), but it was still a fantastic show. I have them as charter members of my list of “Bands That Could Play For Four Hours And Not Play All Your Favorites” with Radiohead and Rush. Even now I can’t decide what my favorite song is, although I was really glad to hear “Parker’s Band“, that’s a great number.

We will spend a Dizzy weekend smacked into a trance
Me and you will listen to a little bit of what made the preacher dance

(Here’s another great number: The Caves of Altamira)


2 Responses to “School’s Out: Steely Dan at the Susquehanna Bank Center, 6/28/08”

  1. 1 Ron July 1, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    I was there!

    The instrumentals in the intro were:

    Everyone goes to the Movies

    followed by:

    The Fez

    A real treat was Gaucho. I’ve seen Steely Dan 6 times now and that’s the first I’ve ever seen them play Gaucho. ALSO, Walter did the vocal, odd since Donald has a great vocal on the recorded version….way out of left field but just great.

    Oh, one song you left off the list…They played: “I Got the News” between “Royal Scam” & “Showbiz Kids”

  2. 2 dynowright July 1, 2008 at 5:53 pm


    I thought that intro music was familiar! Thanks too for catching that I Got The News omission, it was in my notes and I fixed it.

    Thanks for reading!

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