SHOW NOTES: Steely Dan at the Beacon Theater, or Do Not F*** With Don & Walt

129483_34.99Seeing 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.

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I Got To Write For Yacht Rock!

LOOK AT HIS ADORABLE FACE!

LOOK AT HIS ADORABLE FACE!

I’ve been a disciple of the webseries Yacht Rock for years (thanks to Matthew, of course).  It helped re-awaken my love for smooth music, plus it’s funny as hell and I think that JD Ryznar is super-cute.  (I think my love of midwestern guys as firmly been established on this blog).

So naturally, when the guys of Yacht Rock got on Twitter to promote the new Beyond Yacht Rock podcast, I stalked them until one fateful day when JD messaged me to tell me that he enjoyed my Record Saturday pick.  I seriously fangirled, everybody.  Like, embarrassingly so.  We got chatting more, and I sent him a copy of The Big Rewind.  And when they started The Captain’s Blog, I offered to write for them.  He accepted my pitch, and the essay, titled “I F**king Love Steely Dan & You Should Too” was published earlier this week.

It was, to put it mildly, a hit.  It’s also the most honest thing I’ve ever written, coming straight from the gut.  I really do love Steely Dan that much.

The essay is here.  It contains extremely vulgar language and threats of violence, so if you’re my Dad, please don’t read it.  You’ve been warned.  They are always seeking content, so send them a pitch!

I’ve also got a piece on The Smiths, Meat Is Murder at the RS-500, an amazing blog that’s compiling stories inspired by every single album on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums list.  It’s been a great week for my music journalism career!

SHOW NOTES: Steely Dan, The Dan Who Knew Too Much Sunday, July 10 at SPAC

(Not my photo; alas, I was in no man's land.)

(Not my photo; alas, I was in no man’s land.)

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.
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In Praise of Adult Contemporary Radio

I was not a cool kid.

Yes Please!

Yes Please!

While my sisters and peers were in love with Devon Sawa and JTT, I was crushing on Matthew Modine in Cutthroat Island and Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park.  While they were listening to Mariah Carey and Blink 182 on Fly 92, I was calling in to B 95.5, the adult contemporary station, in hopes of hearing George Benson’s “Turn Your Love Around.”

When I discovered The Smiths and Siouxsie & The Banshees in high school, then Tom Waits in college, I could finally feel cool.  Sure, it was a hipster-goth kind of cool, eschewing the flair-leg jeans and trucker

Bask in my total fucking coolness (or don't, who cares.)

Bask in my total fucking coolness (or don’t, who cares.)

hats of the early-2000s for Doc Martens and cabby caps.  I discovered a lot of incredible music during this time period, aided by some awesome mix CDs from great people.

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Who Says Who The Muse Is?

Steely_Dan_-_Photo_Cred_Danny_Clinch

Papa Don & Uncle Walt

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.

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What The Heck Is #RecordSaturday?

I love sharing music with people.  It compliments both my generous and my bossy nature (“Seriously, you’ll like this Steely Dan song, I swear….”) and for years, it’s what propelled my love of making mix tapes.  To be able to give someone a song that reminds you of them is a profound gesture, a portable party, a way of saying “You Are Rad.”

So I created RecordSaturday as a group listening party, since my 900 friends on Twitter probably can’t fit in my apartment.  I live-tweet an album from my collection (@libbycudmore) every Saturday night at 8 p.m., with stories about my personal connection to the album, cool record facts and a theme — I shared pictures of my best girlfriends with Cyndi Lauper’s She’s So Unusual for Galentine’s Day, and a Star Wars theme alongside Men At Work’s Business As Usual.

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Steely Dan, New Notebooks, and Other Dark Sarcasm

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.

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