Up on the hill, they think I'm okay. Or so they say.
Over the past weekend, as a really nice birthday present, we went and saw Steely Dan at Northrop Auditorium (complete with Fez!). I've been a fan of the 'Dan for a very long time and had seen them twice before (1996 and 2003). The previous concerts were at sports arenas, but I finally got to see them in a theater venue. Very cool.
On this tour, they feature one of two complete albums: The Royal Scam or Aja. On this show they did the latter. They actually played the album all the way through in order with pretty much the same arrangements and instrumentation. With the exception of "Josie," they did all the tunes in the same key as the originals; pretty impressive for Fagen after all these years. The rest of the show was mostly made up of the expected crowd favorites, though them doing "Show Biz Kids" was a nice surprise.
The band they tour with, as usual, is made up of top drawer jazz pros. The horns were great and the drummer, the same guy they've been using since their "rebirth" in the '90s, was fantastic as always. I thought the bass playing was very good (of course), though 'Dan songs were never vehicles for bass virtuosity like they were for the sax, piano, guitar, and drums. Then again, I couldn't always hear what they guy was doing since he was often buried in the sound mix. A friend who was there as well had a different impression of the sound so it obviously varied depending on where one sat.
In any case, the musicianship was incredible. One thing I like about their shows is the way that Becker and Fagen aren't afraid to let the other players strut their stuff. The guitarist did some great solo work and the piano player even got some time. An added bonus to these guys using many of the same players is how good the overall ensemble sounded. The group was really tight without sounding restrained or canned. So if you like these guys at all, do try and make one their concerts. At their age, it won't last forever.
OK, enough of that music crap, on to this week's new releases:
The Accidental Husband (2007)
Ballast (2008) Also on BD.
Echo (2008) Also on BD.
The General (1927) New to BD with an improved film transfer and multiple musical scores.
Logan's Run (1976) New to BD this week. This might be a good time to revisit this sci fi staple...Eric may want to do a podcast on it, so watch out!
Monsters, Inc. (2001) New to BD.
The Ugly Truth (2009) Also on BD.
Up (2009) As usual, DVD buyers get a choice of movie-only or loaded SE while BD buyers have to go for the 4 disc megaset...at least Amazon sold it to me for $20.