With the four-decade old band’s signature cheeky style, Walter Becker promised the audience that at the end of the evening, “You’ll know you’ve been rode hard and put away wet.”
He welcomed “the patrons of the arts and those from the Valley, you know who you are: Tarzana, Woodland Hills, Reseda. I know you by name.”
This was the first time Steely Dan was performing with a full orchestra, conductor Thomas Wilkins said. The band is in the middle of its The Dan Who Knew Too Much Tour.
Donald Fagen didn’t say much, beyond welcoming the audience, but provided vocals on most of the tunes. The second half of the evening was a raucous set of songs including “Green Earrings,” “Aja,” “Caves of Altamira,” “Hey Nineteen,” “The Royal Scam” and “Deacon Blues.” By “Josie,” nearly everyone in the audience was on their feet. Fireworks accompanied “Bodhisattva,” and the evening finished with “Kid Charlemagne.”
The opening, a fundraiser for the music education in Los Angeles, raised a record $1.7 million and highlighted some of its beneficiaries. The orchestra played music composed by Anderson Alden and Katya Richardson, graduates of the Composer Fellowship Program.
Alden’s “Lift” and Richardson’s “Fanfare for Orchestra” were followed by the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts vocal ensemble singing “Children Will Listen” from Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods.” The song was selected a while ago, but in light of the shooting in Orlando it was appropriate, Wilkins said.