Seeing Steely Dan at the Beacon is a long-standing Libby & Matthew tradition. Since 2011, when we bought tickets to Rarities Night and were treated to the only performance EVER of “The Second Arrangement,” we’ve made it a point to meet in the city and see The Dan perform a hometown show.
Our show was “By Request.” We requested “The Second Arrangement,” but I would have been happy with “King of the World.” Matthew bought me a Beacon exclusive tee-shirt to add to my collection.
Our seats were Becker-side, between a man-spreading Steely Dad and a humorless woman who talked about how she hoped they played “Aja” (they always play “Aja”) and then talked about how Rikki Lee Jones helped her get through her first divorce. As the jazz trio started, she talked over that (“Oh, who are they? I didn’t see that that there was going to be jazz. I heard Steely Dan started an hour and a half late the other night, well, you know these union guys….”
I did not get the sense that she was ever going to shut up, so I loudly announced that I needed a drink and Matthew and I relocated to the back of the balcony, where we sat during last October’s “Greatest Hits” night on the Rockabye Gollie Angel tour.
Earlier in the day I mentioned to Matthew that my life goal was to one day buy out all the seats around me and sit alone, reigning over the other concert-goers like the Queen of Steely Dan so that I didn’t have to hear people run their mouth the whole damn time (what kind of a jackhole talks through a whole concert?) I got my wish. Not a single other person sat in our section. Marvelous!
But Don & Walt were running late. The crowd was getting restless. People were yelling, demanding they come out on stage, chanting “Steely Dan! Steely Dan!” One man screamed that he was going to miss his bus. Baby Boomers, stop acting like children.
I haven’t been to SPAC in about 15 years, but I was absolutely not going to miss seeing Steely Dan in my own backyard. My friend Thor was my date, and although the forecast was foreboding, we arrived armed with umbrellas, ponchos and chairs so that we didn’t have to sit on the wet, muddy ground.
My biggest worry with SPAC was that since we had lawn seats, the sound wouldn’t be that good. Those fears were quickly assuaged when Steve Winwood took the stage. He couldn’t sound more clear if I was listening to a CD in my car. Continue reading
I got in a Twitter fight the other day with some guy I went to grad school with over who “Rikki” in Steely Dan’s “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” is. Common lore is that it’s a Bard classmate of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, author Rikki Ducornet, who claims to any half-baked rag that will listen that Fagen gave her his phone number at a party one time and, guess what? She lost it! Crazy, huh?
There’s just one problem with her story. Fagen won’t confirm, and at times has flat out denied her account on multiple occasions.
But of course, Grad School Guy insisted that he “believed Rikki” and attempted to repeatedly mansplain Steely Dan to me, a girl who’s first chapter is titled “Brooklyn (Owes the Charmer Under Me).” Not a good idea.
As I mentioned in my last post, my crime writing notebook, Gail, is nearly full. She had an interesting life; early character sketches became Stella and Miles in “Narc” (forthcoming in The Big Click) and “Rough Night in Little Toke” (featured in Hanzai Japan,) as well as the home for the starts of three possible novels.
Mona was an exercise in desperation and failed plans. Initially I had planned to build her signatures out of grey-tone sketch paper, but with space running out in Gail and no time to get to a store that would have a selection of paper for me to feel and test, I went with the normal sketch paper I had on hand. I had intended to use a French stitch, but the instructions I had in one of my books were vague at best, and by the time I had my paper punched, surprise, I realized I had to have five holes, not four as I had originally thought. Coptic it is!
Let me start by saying that I’m listening to a lot of Steely Dan as I write this, so if it comes off as rambling, dark and sarcastic, I apologize. Every time I put on a Steely Dan record, I find myself thinking why am I not spending every minute of every day listening to Steely Dan? Becker/Fagen are to my 30s as Morrissey/Marr were to my 20s, a constant, reassuring soundtrack. Every time I listen to an album, I discover something new to love about a song I’ve heard a thousand times before. (How could I forget about “Caves of Altamira?” Was “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” always this brilliant?).
Matthew & I saw our third Dan show at the Beacon on Wednesday; last time we saw them play Gaucho in full and when they played “Josie” I thought my heart would explode. The first time we saw them, they busted out “The Second Arrangement.” And I’ve seen Donald Fagen play with the Dukes of September Rhythm Review, as well as seeing fellow Dukes Boz Scaggs & Michael McDonald on their own tours. (Also, I am kind of in love with Donald Fagen and wish he would write a charmingly sleazy song about me, more “Slinky Thing” than “Cousin Dupree.”)
But Wednesday night, they opened with “Black Cow” (one of my favorites) and played “FM,” which made me so insanely happy that I screamed. They played “Josie” too, and “Peg,” and “Black Friday.” If they had played “What a Shame About Me,” I might have died of happiness.
In addition to the show, Matthew and I took a few days to work on some writing. The way I’ve been barreling through notebook pages, I’m on Dutch’s last signature, and he’ll only last another week, at most. And Gail, hale and hearty as she is, is nearing the end of her line, with only a signature left before she’s retired to the bookshelf.