Archive for the Live Concert Category

Steely Dan in Boca Raton

Posted in Live Concert, Music on June 16, 2009 by rsalit

Steely Dan performed at the Mizner Ampitheater Saturday evening (6/13/09) to an almost sold out audience. With a full horn section (baritone, tenor, trumpet and trombone), 3 back up singers, an additional keyboard and guitarist, Messrs. Fagen and Becker gave a solid performance. With 9 strong studio releases and solo work to choose from, they selected material from most of those recordings as well as a few songs from their solo work. They demonstrated why they are pretty much the only people who do what they do – write melodic, lyrically interesting, rhythmically complex, sophisticated popular music. They were in command of the material and made their intricate arrangements look easy.

All of the musicians were top notch and played with precision and made the most of their solos. In particular, the drummer and second guitarist (Jon Herrington) increased the level of intensity whenever they were given the spotlight.

Steely Dan is playing entire albums on some of the dates for this tour (Tour info). Those shows should be interesting but seeing them play a mix of material was great. I’d recommend seeing them.

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Second gig results

Posted in Live Concert, Music on December 31, 2008 by rsalit

We played our second gig Friday, 12/19/08. It was not quite the thrill of our first gig in November but in some ways was more satisfying. We were paid (albeit a pittance) and, instead of the audience being comprised mostly of friends and family it was a mix of our friends and people the venue’s management invited as a holiday party.

Our initial sense of it was that the show was not as good as our first. One significant factor was that the sound quality was inferior because the vocals were mixed too low. However, after listening to the recording I made of the show, the performance was really much better than our first. The music was more powerful and there were less mistakes. That’s encouraging as it means we are learning and getting better.

Moreover, it seems our attitude is changing about the band. While we are far from viewing our band as a professional, working band, i.e., a venture that generates income, we are more focused on what will work in a club setting. In some ways, that’s created some divisiveness within the band as we all have different interpretations of what will work and what others will like. With all of the band members having different musical backgrounds that seems inevitable. Nevertheless, it seems that one of the best attributes of our band is our ability to compromise. We are all willing to play each other’s songs even though they may not be our favorites. We also can agree on some songs which do not work.

My Morning Jacket Live

Posted in Live Concert, Music on September 2, 2008 by rsalit

My Morning Jacket visited South Florida for the first time and played the Fillmore Miami Beach at The Jackie Gleason Theater Friday night (8/29/08). I’ve been getting acquainted with MMJ over the last month with their last two studio CDs, Z and Evil Urges and their double live CD Okonos: The Concert. With some familiarity with their material I had heard some things about their live performances but didn’t really know what to expect. One  MMJ exceeded my expectations and then some.

Right now, they are a band at the top of their game. Jim James, lead vocalist and guitarist, puts on an interesting performance, dancing, staggering, wearing capes and at several points, putting on his head what appeared to be a towel. His singing barely cuts through the mix but he’s very effective and the harmonies are tight. The drummer, Patrick Hallahan, seems like a man possessed, driving the band and combining with the bass player, Two-Tone Tommy, to lay down a tight, heavy bottom. Their songs have a variety of influences (country, rock, reggae) and the set list is well  constructed, mixing up so the 2+ hours show so that it is never boring. Most songs work up to a crescendo demonstrating that the songs are well worked in and the band is able to build upon the themes of each song.  There were a few songs in the middle of the show which seemed a but weaker but, really, that’s about the only criticism I have.

This is a band that is comfortable with and in command of their material . They are one of the better live bands touring. Go see them if you can.