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Steely Dan at Merriweather

Heidi Shenk "Merriweather" "music" "Steely Dan"

We kicked off our lineup of concerts with Steely Dan at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia on Tuesday night. Steely Dan has long been one of my favorite bands. My dad used to put their album Pretzel Logic on the record player for me to listen to. I have good memories with Steely Dan as well.

In high school, my parents and I took a three week long road trip out west to Seattle and down the Pacific coast to California. The album Gaucho brings back that trip every time. When we stopped at my aunt and uncle's house on Seattle's Bainbridge Island, my aunt had only recently bought a fun little blue Civic. Knowing that I had just acquired my driver's license, she let me have a little test drive. Before we left, my uncle rushed out of the house and said, "Wait! You need some driving music!" He passed a cd through the open sun roof and I asked, "What is it?" "Just put it in the stereo," he said. So I did and was greeted by Babylon Sisters, the opening song on Gaucho. That song was one of my childhood favorites, and I had not heard it for years as my parents had somehow lost their copy of the album. My uncle burned the cd for me and it was my soundtrack the whole way down the Pacific coast. While staying in Mendocino, California, we found a super cool coffeehouse. We popped in for some coffee and appropriately we were greeted by Babylon Sisters yet again.

So Tuesday night, we headed to Merriweather for a show I had long been awaiting. We met up with the same aunt and uncle that have since moved to the area. Merriweather is an amazing outdoor amphitheater famously known for its spot in the woods and its fantastic natural acoustics. Designed by architect Frank Gehry, it has hosted some of the most famous bands and musicians of our time. Some have even used it as a recording space due to it's fantastic acoustics. We packed a picnic to enjoy on the lawn before the show-- one of the bonuses of the venue-- and soon the show was underway.

Sky at Merriweather as the sun sets.


Yup, blurry, but one of the only photos I took during the show.

The Miles High Big Band who played with Walter Becker and Donald Fagen were first class musicians. They opened with a big band style jazz intro before Becker and Fagen took to the stage. In addition, The Embassy Brats, their backup singers, had some amazing talent. I used to want to be a backup singer for Steely Dan-- I thought it would have been a fantastic gig. Both Becker and Fagen were just as amazing as I had hoped-- Becker with his smooth, seamless, and odd-timed guitar riffs and solos, and Fagen with his distinctive vocals and incredible piano playing ability. While I was shocked that the two most popular crowd favorites were My Old School and Reelin' In the Years, I got my fill of what I wanted with tunes like Aja, Hey Nineteen, and Time out of Mind. And they even played Babylon Sisters. :)

Set List:

Your Gold Teeth
Hey Nineteen
Everything Must Go
Black Friday
Time out of Mind
I Got the News
Show Biz Kids
Babylon Sisters
Dirty Work
Papa Don't Take No Mess (James Brown cover)
My Old School
Reelin' in the Years


Kid Charlemagne

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