WEATHER »
Steely Dan at the Santa Barbara Bowl

Paul Wellman

Steely Dan at the Santa Barbara Bowl


Review: Steely Dan at the Santa Barbara Bowl

Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, Together Again on August 20


Considering the tumultuous history, personnel and otherwise, of Steely Dan, it’s a wonder the band is still chugging along. More impressive, though, is that the team of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen can still craft a live show that genuinely lives up to its iconic recorded counterparts.

Donald Fagen
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman

Donald Fagen

On Tuesday, the Santa Barbara Bowl welcomed back Steely Dan’s two founding mainstays for a nearly 20-song set that included highlights from across the band’s 40-year run. Joined by an airtight 13-piece backing band, the duo sprinkled the hits throughout the night, starting off early with “Aja” and a hilariously aside-filled “Hey Nineteen” and closing strong with “Peg,” “Reelin’ in the Years,” and “Kid Charlemagne” in almost back-to-back succession. Of course, as memorable as the band’s hooks have proved to be over the years, it’s Fagen and Becker’s chops — and quips — that have helped elevate the band to legendary status. As such, Tuesday’s show contained its fair share of sarcastic asides, bizarre non sequiturs, and dizzying solos. In the first third, Becker got to flex his blues-guitar muscles on “Black Friday”; later, Fagen dazzled on the melodica for “Time Out of Mind.”

Walter Becker
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman

Walter Becker

Of course, we could argue in defense of some forgotten favorites. (“Do It Again” was sorely missed; “Daddy Don’t Live in That New York City No More” easily could have been.) But for most diehards, this Steely Dan was still as good as any — and much better than the majority of their still-touring contemporaries.

Setlist:

1. “Blueport” (Gerry Mulligan cover)

2. “Your Gold Teeth”

3. “Aja”

4. “Hey Nineteen”

5. “Show Biz Kids”

6. “Black Friday”

7. “I Got the News”

8. “Time Out of Mind”

9. “Godwhacker”

10. “Daddy Don’t Live in That New York City No More”

11. “Bodhisattva”

12. “Razor Boy”

13. “Babylon Sisters”

14. “I Want To (Do Everything for You)” (Joe Tex cover)

15. “Josie”

16. “Peg”

17. “My Old School”

18. “Reelin’ in the Years”

Encore

19. “Kid Charlemagne”

To submit a comment on this article, email letters@independent.com or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email tips@independent.com.



event calendar sponsored by:

Transgender People Allowed to Serve in Military, Judge Rules

The presidential ban was blocked by four federal courts.

Police Suspend Public Sleeping Laws

The non-enforcement comes in response to a new court ruling.

Dyer Returns as Interim Fire Chief

When Eric Peterson steps down, Mike Dyer will fill in for County Fire.

Santa Barbara Bodybuilder Wins Mr. Olympia Competition

At 43, Shawn “Flexatron” Rhoden ties for the oldest champ in the contest's history.

Renovated Cabrillo Ball Park Now Open

The park got new exercise equipment, multi-use grass turf areas, and an upgraded softball field.