Scene and Heard

Steely Dan plays The Louisville Palace

Posted in Entertainment by sceneandheardblog on August 19, 2011

Steely Dan @ THe Louisville Palace

Steely Dan brought it’s “Shuffle Diplomacy Twenty ElevenTour” to a sold out The Louisville Palace on Wednesday evening. The air was filled with excited fans as well the sidewalk leading to the the Palace with fans desperately trying to purchase seats. The show was the toughest ticket to hit the town since My Morning Jacket’s cd release show earlier this year.


For most, it was the first chance to see the members of the class of 2001 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Steely Dan has sold over 30 million albums since releasing their first album , “Can’t Buy A Thrill” in 1972. The band was founded by two Bard College students, Donald Fagenand Walter Becker who has filled the band with session musicians through their history. The duo are musical geniuses who have selected many top session players such as Jeff Skunk Baxter, Michael McDonald, and Jeff Porcaro all who went on to successful music careers.


Fagen and Becker have always been brilliant in the recording studio, I questioned their ability to reproduce their music in a live setting. From the opening notes of “Your Gold Teeth” followed by “Aja” and an outstanding version of “Black Friday”, left little doubt that they could not only duplicate their studio performance but raise the music beyond the perfection of their albums.


Donald Fagen and Walter Becker were like conductors. They watched and listened to every member of backing artists,  The Mile High Big Band. Each musician played to please the trained ears of Becker and Fagen. The result was a wall of spectacular sound so beautiful that even Donald Fagen could not contain himself. He seemed completely absorbed in the music dancing and moving with the beat while playing keyboards. His voice was strong and on key throughout the performance.


The backup singers, “ The Embassay Brats “ gave him a break singing a beautiful version of “ Dirty Work” and filled in all of the famous backing vocals such as the night’s highlight on “Babylon Sisters”


Walter Becker seemed content to stay out of the limelight and insure the band was on target with every note. He allowed guitarist Jon Herington to handle much of the solo work duplicating and surpassing the original leads perfectly. His play on “Reeling In The Years” brought chills.


The two hour show was filled with their classics. The final songs “Peg”, “My Old School”, and encore “Kid Charlemagne” brought the house down. It was as loud as The Palace or any Louisville venue has been for quite some time.


I overheard one fan say as he left the building, “How awesome to see a show and love every song of it!” What is more awesome is to hear the songs performed at their musical peak!

Donald Fagen

Walter Becker