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Steely Dan

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NEWS
November 12, 2009 | By John Timpane INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Could Steely Dan have grown a heart? The group's "Rent Party" tour slouches into the Tower Theater Nov. 19 and 20. It's an audience-oriented affair: The band performs entire albums (the sainted Aja on the 19th and the scarcely less-celebrated Royal Scam the next night) and takes requests. What? Whole albums? Requests? What have you guys done with my Steely Dan? Walter Becker, one of the two fellows (the other being Donald Fagen) at the heart of this floating jazz-pop orchestra, says it's not that big a change.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 26, 1992 | By Tom Moon, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Donald Fagen isn't assigning any blame, but he doesn't think it was coincidence that he spent most of the '80s battling an epic case of writer's block. In 1980, when he and Walter Becker dissolved the songwriting and production entity known as Steely Dan, Ronald Reagan was about to become president, Off the Wall was Michael Jackson's biggest album to date, and MTV was still on the drawing board. The decade that followed wasn't pretty. The unchecked greed that motivated big business couldn't help but affect the arts, where suddenly statistics on chart position and market share were celebrated over content.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 25, 1993 | By Tom Moon, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Ever since Eric Clapton's incredible career resurgence, a parade of rock veterans has returned to share suddenly mature perspectives. Sometimes, the artists' newly sensitive lyrics are accompanied by a previously unheard musical sophistication: Just in time for his third-act revival, Joe Rock Star learns to play more than the three basic chords. But what about those whose probing, fully developed (even adult) music was underappreciated the first time around? Must they radically alter their approach just to demonstrate that they've "evolved"?
ENTERTAINMENT
July 22, 1996 | By Tom Moon, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
A strange thing happened at Camden's Waterfront Entertainment Centre on Saturday. Every time Donald Fagen said something like "Now we're going to go way back, to prehistoric Steely Dan," the crowd went wild. But when the chestnut was finished, it was met with only polite applause. It was as though the prospect of hearing Steely Dan's old songs was more exciting than the actual execution. The nine-piece that supported keyboardist Fagen and guitarist Walter Becker brought the music to life with professional confidence, and that was part of the problem: At times, the rearrangements sounded as if they were lifted from some Las Vegas revue in which all the irony and droll humor had been drained from the songs.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 22, 1993 | By Tom Moon, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
So a few songs were in a lower key to accommodate Donald Fagen's aging voice. And the frontmen - Fagen and the man he introduced as his "partner," guitarist Walter Becker - took their jobs as "hosts" a little too seriously, with nerdy-guy chatter that no doubt resonated with the abundance of nerdy guys in the audience. And some rearrangements of old songs, particularly "Reelin' in the Years," were horrific examples of how to mess with people's memories. The grievance list goes on. But Steely Dan still matters.
NEWS
June 30, 2008 | By David R. Stampone FOR THE INQUIRER
Steely Dan had no real agenda to push Saturday at Camden's Susquehanna Bank Center, which didn't stop the two-hour set from offering breezy entertainment on a muggy night, suitably showcasing some of the band's more reggae-tinged tunes among its clever jazz-pop fare. Such included the opening vocal number, "The Royal Scam," title track of the 1976 album it repeatedly dipped into. (In performance, that record's "Everything You Did" and "Babylon Sisters," especially, got the Jamaican lilt.
NEWS
August 25, 2003 | By A.D. Amorosi FOR THE INQUIRER
Since the buttoned-up duo behind Steely Dan - Donald Fagen and Walter Becker - have loosened their reserve in the last few years, their once-rare concerts have become regular visits. At Saturday night's sold-out gig at the Tweeter Center in Camden, the pair's formerly sterile soul-jazz blossomed. The glossy sheen of Fagen's Fender Rhodes keys had an ominous, fuzzy tickle. Becker's guitars fluidly plucked and clucked their blues runs. The two didn't even wear suits, opting instead for casual dress in league with their 11-piece band and an overall breezy funk.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 27, 2000 | By Tom Moon, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
In the chronology of rock-and-roll careers, second acts - for those lucky enough to get them - have a familiar arc. First, there's the big reunion announcement. Then the parties involved try to return to their carefree days by writing songs that are either oblivious to everything that's happened musically since the band's heyday or that desperately try to glom onto the latest trend. The comeback album whimpers. The tour pleases only the faithful. And before long, the participants find themselves back in their gated communities, enjoying early retirement.
NEWS
August 20, 1992 | By Tom Moon, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Just how ahead of its time was Steely Dan? Tuesday night at the Spectrum, more than 10,000 people stomped and sang along to the bitter, vindictive "My Old School," from the group's 1973 Countdown to Ecstacy album, and there was nothing nostalgic about it. Here, delayed by 20 years, was the intelligent, precise music we were told would never be played live. Here were guitar solos that retained the spirit of the originals, but were even more daring, and vocals ad-libbed as soulfully as classic blues.
NEWS
August 21, 2006 | By Patrick Berkery FOR THE INQUIRER
A ticket to Steely Dan's show Saturday at the Tweeter Center was a pass into an all-included trip into the charmingly twisted jazz-pop universe of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker. It featured a well-rehearsed, sonically brilliant hit list of nearly everything you'd want to hear, including "Green Earrings," "Don't Take Me Alive," "Hey Nineteen," and many others. (Sadly, "Deacon Blues" and "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" were M.I.A.). It also gave you that inimitable package of blue-eyed soul crooning (and snow-white hair)
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NEWS
November 21, 2014 | BY JONATHAN TAKIFF, Daily News Staff Writer takiffj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5960
THANKSGIVING week is primo time for benefit concerts with a serious reunion component. Take, please, this Sunday's get-together of local alt-rock notables at the Ardmore Music Hall. A show top-billed by the rarely together Huffamoose, and featuring seasoned singer/songwriters Jim Boggia and Ben Arnold, and (Huffamoose offshoot) the Fractals. No, there's not a turkey among 'em. So, what's the deal? 'Tis the season when musicians and patrons feel generous of spirit, happy to put out effort and bucks for a worthy cause.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 24, 2013 | By Shaun Brady, For The Inquirer
Walter Becker and Donald Fagen bonded as diehard jazz fans at Bard College in the late '60s, and, judging by their two-hour set at the Mann Center on Saturday night, the pair at the core of Steely Dan remain aficionados nearly 50 years later. Their eight-piece backing band, dubbed "the Bipolar All-Stars" for the band's current Mood Swings tour, bookended the show with big-band renditions of Gerry Mulligan's "Blueport" and Nelson Riddle's TV theme from The Untouchables . Throughout the evening, the band's four horn players, all active jazz and studio musicians, were given ample time in the spotlight to flex their virtuosity in the midst of the band's jazz-laced hits.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 11, 2012 | By JONATHAN TAKIFF, gensleh@phillynews.com
Rob Morsberger is one of the best rock/pop singer/songwriters you've never heard on recordings or seen in concert. There is still time to make amends, but urgency is suggested, as the guy is "living with an illness that could rapidly derail me at any time," he acknowledges with admirable nonchalance. This weekend, Morsberger performs two shows in the area — Friday night at Kennett Flash in Kennett Square and Saturday at Psalm Salon in Overbrook Hills, where talent booker Jamey Reilly calls him "an artist we love.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 17, 2012 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
WILMINGTON - The division between ancient and current music sometimes barely exists: Those involved with speculative resurrection of centuries-old sound need not work that much differently to bring new music into being. So nobody should be surprised that the small, Wilmington-based chamber-music group Mélomanie had no audible problems mixing ultra-polite Telemann with Variations on a Theme by Steely Dan by Mark Hagerty, performed Saturday at Grace United Methodist Church here (repeated Sunday at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill)
NEWS
August 30, 2010 | By Tirdad Derakhshani, Inquirer Staff Writer
If you are Cy Waits , bf of hotel inheritress Paris Hilton , your head must be spinning. And not just from the booze. Fast-backward to Tuesday. Paris' crib in L.A. Noises! You rush outside and hold a gun on alleged burglar Nathan Parada until police come. Hero! Wednesday, you're promoted to head of nightclub ops for Wynn and Hilton ! Hray! But Friday, in Las Vegas, mwa mwa mwa mwa (fail trombone), you're driving with your lady in the car and - busted! You are, for DUI. Paris?
NEWS
November 12, 2009 | By John Timpane INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Could Steely Dan have grown a heart? The group's "Rent Party" tour slouches into the Tower Theater Nov. 19 and 20. It's an audience-oriented affair: The band performs entire albums (the sainted Aja on the 19th and the scarcely less-celebrated Royal Scam the next night) and takes requests. What? Whole albums? Requests? What have you guys done with my Steely Dan? Walter Becker, one of the two fellows (the other being Donald Fagen) at the heart of this floating jazz-pop orchestra, says it's not that big a change.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 11, 2009 | By Dan DeLuca INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
On each of the four nights that Bruce Springsteen plays the Spectrum over the next two weeks, he and the E Street Band will uncork one of his landmark albums from start to finish. On Tuesday, it'll be Born to Run, the 1975 opus that landed the Boss on simultaneous covers of Time and Newsweek. On Wednesday, he'll do Darkness on the Edge of Town, the 1978 guitar-driven salvo whose shouted exhortations have been cathartic kick-starters at Springsteen shows for 30 years. He'll reprise Born to Run on Oct. 19, and the next night he'll punctuate his final Spectrum show with Born in the U.S.A.
NEWS
August 10, 2009 | By David Hiltbrand INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
In some cities on this summer tour, Steely Dan is reproducing some of its classic albums, like Aja, Gaucho, and Royal Scam, in their entirety. Other stops are all-request nights, with fans predetermining the content online. Atlantic City got none of that Saturday night. Hey, what are we? Minced clams? So this was an unadorned outing for the venerable rock band. But the capacity crowd at the Borgata Event Center didn't seem at all disappointed by the Dan's 90-minute hopscotch through what front man Donald Fagen ironically termed "our illustrious career.
NEWS
November 24, 2008 | By A.D. Amorosi FOR THE INQUIRER
Everyone treats "neo-soul" like a dirty word. Shame, that. Sure, the genre had funny hats and too many Fender Rhodes piano interludes (I'm looking at you, Jamiroquai). But the Drambuie-soaked ambience of R&B's simmering heat, hip-hop's rhythmic cool, jazz's gymnastic breeziness and their combined attitudes made the world safe for geniuses of modern soul such as Raphael Saadiq, Cee-Lo Green and Maxwell. Maxwell is the 35-year-old crooner/composer who between 1996 and 2001 released three cinematic classics of neo-soul, then dropped out for a while after that.
NEWS
June 30, 2008 | By David R. Stampone FOR THE INQUIRER
Steely Dan had no real agenda to push Saturday at Camden's Susquehanna Bank Center, which didn't stop the two-hour set from offering breezy entertainment on a muggy night, suitably showcasing some of the band's more reggae-tinged tunes among its clever jazz-pop fare. Such included the opening vocal number, "The Royal Scam," title track of the 1976 album it repeatedly dipped into. (In performance, that record's "Everything You Did" and "Babylon Sisters," especially, got the Jamaican lilt.
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