Pax (funcrunch) wrote,

Musical happiness

On Saturday night boyziggy, Mike F and I saw Steely Dan perform at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley. I've always loved their music, and was glad to feel healthy enough to attend the concert despite suffering from a cold. I'd never been to the Greek despite going to law/grad school practically across the street from it back when I first moved out here in '92. It was nostalgic walking past the building for the Jurisprudence and Social Policy program that I was in ever so briefly. But I digress.

We arrived about 20 minutes before showtime and found a spot on a rather steep slope on the lawn. I had trouble making myself comfortable, but soon settled in and enjoyed the excellent organ music of the opening act (which I've forgotten the name of, tragically - check Mike's site for a better review soon hopefully). Then Steely Dan's amazingly talented backing band started in with some instrumentals. Fagen and Becker took the stage with their backup singers, and launched into a thoroughly satisfying evening. They performed five out of the seven songs on my favorite album, Aja; watching the sax/drum instrumental section of the title song alone was worth the price of admission. I'd recently watched a documentary on the making of that album, with mike20; seeing so much of it performed live gave me an even greater appreciation.

I also found several new tunes I liked, as I wasn't actually that familiar with their catalog besides Aja and the Decade of Steely Dan album. I ended up purchasing the album Gaucho the next day, along with the title track from The Royal Scam, which had a riff I found truly infectious. In a good way.

Though the Dan didn't opt to perform my very favorite song, "Deacon Blues", they did end their encore with "Do It Again", which MF and I performed live at Jelly's a couple years ago; you can watch it on my YouTube channel.

Going to the concert while sick did take its toll, and I didn't manage to practice the bass on Sunday. So I was glad that when saizai came by Monday night to pick up some video files, he brought his ocarina, which gave me the excuse to take out my bass and jam with him. We're both beginners at our respective instruments (you can see Sai's first song on his own YouTube channel), but I had a blast, figuring out a simple bass part to "Hava Nagila" which he'd recently learned. Then he sight-read "Black Orpheus", which is my actual assignment from last week, while I played the part for it I'd worked out earlier. I also found the videotape of me singing backup for that song at the Berkeley Arts Festival back in 2001. I once started to digitize my performances from that era, which are mostly on VHS, but didn't get very far; perhaps I should revisit that project...

(Yes, the new icon is me playing bass with no pants on. You can get a closer look on Flickr. Perfectly worksafe.)
Tags: bass, concert, singing

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