July 18, 2014
Winstar World Casino
Thackerville, OK USA
Review by Dave Gray
Photos by Dave Gray
Steely Dan Delivers Hi Fidelity Experience To The Masses
Steely Dan co-founders Donald Fagen and Walter Becker brought eleven of their closest musician friends to perform at the sold-out Winstar World Casino Friday night in support of their "Jamalot Ever After" tour.
The audience must have known what to expect from the band as this show had been sold out months ago. I, however, had no idea, as I had never had the chance to see Steely Dan perform live before. One word: brilliant! And that's not just because I was in a great mood from having won a few dollars in the casino beforehand. I have seen many a rock concert, but I am not sure I have witnessed such a collaboration of audio perfection on stage at one time in all my days. This band has been notorious in years past for tedious perfection in the recording studio, but to bring a thirteen piece band on the road and perform most of their greatest hits in a live setting was a feast for the ears.
The set opened with "Black Cow" a relatively deep cut from the "Aja" record, but then the band took off on a greatest hits musical marathon. "Aja" and "Hey Nineteen" followed and the party was on. And all of Steely Dan's friends showed up for this party tonight. "Josie," "Peg," and "Rikki (Don't Lose That Number)" were among tonight's greatest hits set list selections. Thankfully, the crowd eased back into their chairs and watched the band perform hit after hit of jazz/rock/funk musical wizardry, and I don't recall anyone leaving their seat during the nearly two hour performance.
Founder and lead vocalist Fagen stayed mostly at the keyboard tonight, but he also got up and sang a few numbers while playing his trusty Melodica, a breath-powered keyboard. The Three "Danettes" (female backing vocalists) provided audio bliss all night, especially during "Dirty Work," while Becker took over lead vocals and a Gibson Flying V on "Daddy Don't Live in that New York City No More." Lead guitarist Jon Herrington is phenomenal. He has been with the band since the year 2000 with his Gibson SG, nailing every tone and lick from all the hits from previous years. On a local level, the driving force behind the band is drummer Keith Carlock. He is a University of North Texas lab band graduate, and an up-and-coming great in the world of jazz/rock drumming.
The four-piece horn section showed their skills during "Bodhisattva" and "Time Out of Mind," and "Black Friday" and "Reelin' in the Years" were presented with amazing stunning audio clarity. Two thumbs up to the sound man for providing a 19.1 surround sound fidelity experience this evening. I am quite sure that this casino event center was not designed to be a concert hall, yet tonight's production was possibly the best sounding live concert event that I have ever been a part of. This was an easy listen and my ears thank you, Mr. Soundman.
"My Old School" warranted a standing ovation (OK, I lied earlier), and "Kid Charlemagne" rounded out the set, which was over before I knew it as Becker and Fagen drifted off stage left, hopefully to return to the metroplex again soon. Until then, I can only hope to witness and hear true greatness again. Horns Up!