Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Steely Dan Shows off Stellar Musicianship at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Steely Dan Shows off Stellar Musicianship at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre

Article excerpt

"St. Louis is not entirely, utterly and completely the home of the blues," Steely Dan guitarist Walter Becker opined about 20 minutes into the band's performance Wednesday night at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre.

"But it sure is a tall pole on a high hill on a windy day on the way there, and that's good enough for me."

Steely Dan, meanwhile, which also includes keyboardist/vocalist Donald Fagen, Becker's musical partner of nearly 50 years, plus a crack 11-piece backing band, is not so much a current act, having released no new material since 2003's "Everything Must Go," one of just two albums to surface following a 20-year recording hiatus.

But it's good enough for Dan fans, many of whom have returned time and again to see the band since it resumed touring in 1993.

Any why not? However much the group relies on past glories and set lists similar to previous tours, featuring generous helpings of greatest hits and just enough deep cuts to keep things interesting, Steely Dan carries off the old-wine-in-new-skins act better than most. The band's two-hour show boasted stellar musicianship, indelible grooves and a catchy tunefulness that belies the subtle complexities of some of pop music's most sardonic and subversive material.

Though the two principals were the evening's main focus Fagen throwing off a Ray Charles vibe as he wore shades, sang and grooved behind his keyboard, and Becker playing perhaps more lead guitar than on past tours and acting as the show's ebullient emcee they were not afraid to share the spotlight.

Early in the show, the pair turned the stage over to saxophonist Walt Weiskopf and drummer Keith Carlock, who fired off the whiplash instrumental breaks on "Aja."

The trio of backup singers Paulette McWilliams, Cindy Mizelle and Carolyn Leonhart weren't just foils for Fagen's vocals. They often sang along with him, boosting his range, which has lessened over time. …

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