Wednesday, September 02, 2009

"Aja" performed by Steely Dan at Chicago Theatre -- the brand was remarkable and musically perfect

I used to listen to my "Aja" album til the grooves wore out. And I may know nearly every note and word. So I expected to really enjoy Monday’s concert that featured the super-duo performing the album in its entirety.

But I never expected such “sonic brand perfection” as I experienced.

Donald Fagen, Walter Becker – along with a full band and Dan-ettes back up singers – gave a remarkable and musically perfect show of their best record.

From the first chords of “Black Cow” and into the dime-dancing title track “Aja,” Fagen established his stage centerpiece. And even better, there was no audience chit-chat until the whole album was played. “Peg,” “Deacon Blues,” “Home at Last,” “I Got the News,” and “Josie” were each delivered better than the last.

Finally, Fagen welcomed us with “Hi ya, kids.” Then took us right back to the ‘70s with their brand of jazz-rock-blues fusion we came for. Jenny and I have adopted “Hey Nineteen” as our anthem. We also imagined if the group could ever play “Time Out of Mind” at places like, say, the White House. I thought the Dan-ettes put new attitude behind “Dirty Work.” And I waited patiently to the encore to sing along with “Reelin’ in the Years” at the top of my voice. (The only regret is that someone did indeed lose Rikki’s number.)

I have seen all the classic brand-name acts in concert, and this will absolutely go down as one of my top ever.

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