Steely Dan Returns To The Beacon Theatre For A Nine Show Residency
Gallery: Night Two – The Sights and Sounds of Steely Dan Aja
Photos by: David Zeck
Night two came and went on a residency at the Beacon Theatre with the yacht-rock band Steely Dan. The die hard fans, known as the “Dan Fans”, packed themselves like sardines into the venue, and we excitedly got to photograph the performance. If you’ve ever heard the name Steely Dan I’m sure you associate it with some sort of funky hippie powered performance. Your grandparents, parents, and friends have all talked about at some point in time. Movies have depicted the experience of seeing them in the flesh with rotating touring band members. You can even find the band as a centerpoint in John Mulany and Nick Kroll’s two-man show Oh Hello!
They’ve been around since 1972, with an extended hiatus from 1981 -1993. In between, several of the band members branched out into some solo acts, and at the end of the day their performances under the name Steely Dan, was a much better fit, solidified by their fan base known.
The one common thread throughout the band’s lifespan is founding member Donald Fagen. The 70-year-old New Jerseyan referenced co-founding guitarist, songwriter and producer Walter Becker Walter Becker’s death last September from esophageal cancer, late in the set, and fans alike still feel his loss. But he is well remembered in all the licks and strums on stage. The band continues to carry the torch with an 11-piece backup — including a four-member horn section — in his absence. The touring band is comprised largely of musicians that have been with them since their 2000 reunion album Two Against Nature; the album that won a Grammy and leans more toward the jazz-funk spectrum of things.
Steely Dan pulled off a nine concert residency at the Beacon is a feat for any conglomerate. Keeping the engagement, showmanship, and just plain ol’ stamina to produce an energetic two hour-ish performance of hits and jams spanning their career and keeping anyones attention.
Stage went pitch black with a blueish purple tint on the curtains behind a rousing thunder of theater claps with the finely dressed concert-goers there for a night of enjoyment, cool music, and funky good times.
The band mostly stayed glued to their areas sans a few songs where Fagen came off of his piano. Strumming, hard hitting, and going over the biggest hits over the span of their career, this set (as many) were geared toward the die-hard fans.
The funk was so evident and took us into not just a SD era but flashed genius of Eurythmics via their 80s funk era – think “Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves” and shake a hard stick, heavy keyboard, and bumping bass with a 3 deep background group of talented female artists with vocal ranges that make angels shy.
We were treated to drum solos, r&b funk, keyboard jams, guitar wah’s echoing the halls, and musicianship cultivated over four long hard and fun decades. Steely Dan’s concert was void of much sentimentality or elongated banter, packed tight with a string of classic and heart pulling tunes — including— masterfully meshed sounds playdoughed into tight, preserved, and cohesive jazz-rock.
Fagan and his merry men and women are building upon the legacy of a killer name, Steely Dan, and we all look forward to see what 2019 has in store for them. Stay tuned to all things Steely Dan over on their website and we hope to catch them on tour again!
Catch the remainder of this tour:
Sat., Oct. 20 New York City, NY Beacon Theatre The Nightfly
Sun., Oct. 21 New York City, NY Beacon Theatre By Popular Demand
Wed., Oct. 24 New York City, NY Beacon Theatre Countdown to Ecstasy
Fri., Oct. 26 New York City, NY Beacon Theatre Gaucho
Sat., Oct. 27 New York City, NY Beacon Theatre Aja
Mon., Oct. 29 New York City, NY Beacon Theatre The Nightfly
Tues., Oct. 30 New York City, NY Beacon Theatre Greatest Hits