The best of them prompted the impulses and muscles that produce a loopy, lasting grin to take on a life of their own. During a couple of them I went through stretches when I was so in the moment that I literally couldn't stop smiling.
I've seen monster bands like AC/DC, the Stones, U2 and Springsteen, and as much as I got off on them they never hit me in quite that way. I'm generally not all that much for nostalgia, but the concerts that stuck with me most were put on by performers whose music I'd fallen hard for as a kid but assumed I'd never get to hear live.
One of them was essentially an oldies show by a Canadian singer whose star had largely faded, in the U.S. at least, by the time I got out of grade school. But the string of fabulous pop and rock songs
By the time I was in a position to go to concerts, especially out of town, the band had long since disbanded and there wasn't all that much of a market for Cummings south of the border. And so when my wife and I jumped at the chance to catch him in 1995 at a club show in
It happened again when Cummings,
I'm no seer, but I fully expect to have had another relapse into hard-wired musical giddiness by the time you read this. As I peck at the keyboard on Saturday morning, the forecast says the weather will mesh perfectly with the setting when Steely Dan takes the stage on Beach 11 at Presque Isle.
I've had epiphanies of sonic bliss at two previous Steely Dan concerts, in 2006 at the
My connection to Steely Dan began like most of my musical discoveries of the early and mid-1970s, with my big brother leaving one of their albums on the turntable of his little stereo in our room. He was a reliable guide, so I paid attention.
I imagine I got sucked in because the songs are catchy and tuneful, most of them, with quirky twists and accents. Over time I came to appreciate the consummate musicianship and how
None of the usual labels -- pop, rock, jazz -- fits snugly, but they're all in there. In any event, I was hooked, and whenever they issued a new album I'd hustle to one of the record stores where you got your musical fixes in those days.
I clearly remember one such visit, early in 1975 when I was 13. The store displays were pushing Led Zeppelin's double album, "Physical Graffiti." I'd get to that a few years later, but I was there for "
Steely Dan -- which started as a band but quickly boiled down to Fagen and bassist/guitarist
With Becker and Fagen gone their own ways and the years reelin', there was really no reason to expect Steely Dan to regroup, let alone tour. Then they did, 13 years on, and they killed it.
I skipped the
So I resolved that I'd check out this summer's sequel as long as the chosen band wasn't beyond the pale. When my colleague
For me, it's more like karma than nostalgia. It's not that often when past and present line up just right.
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