Concert Review – Steely Dan – Mann Center for the Performing Arts

Posted: September 24, 2013 in Exercise, music, Nerd Herd Running, Physical activity, Steely Dan, Walking

So, Supportive Partner Woman and I hopped in the car and headed to Philadelphia to see the Steely Dan show at the Mann.

The Mann Center is a Philadelphia landmark. established in 1935 as a summer home for the Philadelphia Orchestra. Since 1935, it has sat in Fairmount Park, still hosting the orchestra, among many other shows.

This was not our first visit to the amphitheater (built in 1976). We once caught John Williams conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra as they performed many of his movie classics. This was the first time, however, we needed an ark.

The weather was threatening all day, but it held as we headed down to Philadelphia. We swung through University City and paid a visit to Bobby’s Burger Palace. Excellent food, and I could even eat it. I opted for a Palace Classic (burger with American cheese, tomato and onion. SPW went with a crunchburger and a chocolate/vanilla malted milkshake. We split an order of onion rings. Food was fabulous, and the restaurant was located next to a Chipotle, so it was like quick service nirvana.

Following dinner, we headed through the hood and up to the park. Parking was a reasonable $15, and we weren’t far from the venue. We packed up our disposable ponchos and headed in. For the summer concert series, the Mann was passing out a series of collectible baseball cards.

Regardless, we found our seats and settled in. The skies grew gloomier and showtime came and went. The Deep Blue Organ Trio took the stage as a warmup act and played some phat blues. Comprised of a guitarist, drummer and a big ole’ Hammond B-3.

They played about three or four songs, then it was time for the main event. The skies had opened and a steady rain was falling. Yours truly and SPW were huddled under cheap plastic ponchos from Walmart, gazing at some douchenozzle’s giant-ass golf umbrella.

The band, known as the Bipolar Allstars,  took the stage first, launching into a very jazzy cover of Gerry Mulligan’s Blueport, they were joined by cofounders Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, along with the three backing vocalists. They launched into Your Gold Teeth, followed immediately by Aja. There was a slight break at this point, as Becker launched into a monologue before segueing right into Hey, Nineteen.

This parade continued uninterrupted through 20 songs, ranging from newer songs like Godwhacker and classics like Time Out of Mind, Black Friday, Josie, My Old School and Reelin’ in the Years. The obligatory encore was Kid Charlemagne.

The band was exceedingly tight, as can be expected for playing together so long. The horn section, comprised of Jim Pugh on trombone, Michael Leonhart on trumpet, as well as Walt Weiskopf and Roger Rosenberg on the saxophones were amazing. Their brassy, sassy sound brought a level of depth to many of the songs, especially My Old School. The percussion, provided by jazz notable Keith Carlock, was a little heavy at times, but Carlock showcased amazing skill on par with any rock drummer I’ve ever seen. John Herrington on the guitar brought a certain edge, along with virtuoso skill.

All in all, an amazing show that would’ve been improved without a big ass gold umbrella right in the sight lines.

My current project is the Nerd Herd Banned Books Virtual Half Marathon. I did the first 4.8 miles today on the Lancaster Junction trail. Weather was fine, and the trail was actually kind of deserted. Wildlife sightings included innumerable cows and sheep, some goats, multitudinous grasshoppers and a quasi-curious woodchuck. Oh, and a pony!

I completed my 4.8 miles in 1:29:46. I’m getting a little faster, so that’s a good sign. The ankles are still not cooperating the best, but hopefully they will come around.

I’ve got two more legs to go to complete the half… so I’ll be back with those results in the next couple of days.

Song of the Day: Janie Runaway – Steely Dan

Currently Reading: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 

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