Steely Dan, Doobie Bros. Open Classic West Fest

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Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen at Dodger Stadium, July 16, 2017 (via The Classic Facebook page)

The big news of the opening night of the Classic West festival at Dodger Stadium was—no question—the first appearance by the Eagles since the death of founding member Glenn Frey. As we reported in our companion recap, the new lineup—featuring core members Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit—was joined by Henley’s son Deacon, country great Vince Gill and, for a brief guest spot, Bob Seger. By all accounts, the band was triumphant in its 23-song set.

Read our recap of the Eagles’ set 

But by the time the reconstituted Eagles took the stage on July 15 the audience in Los Angeles had already witnessed first-class sets by two other giants of classic rock, Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers.

Steely Dan fans immediately noticed the absence of co-founder Walter Becker, who reportedly had to skip the show due to what’s being reported as an “undisclosed illness.” Donald Fagen, the other key SD co-founder, reportedly managed to lead the band without a hitch considering the absence of his musical partner. Also missing in action was longtime guitarist Jon Herington. The renowned jazz guitarist Larry Carlton sat in with the band and performed the solo on the final song of their set, “Kid Charlemagne.”

The Doobies—whose lineup still features founding members Tom Johnston and Pat Simmons, as well as longtime member John McFee—opened their set with “Jesus Is Just Alright,” the gospel number featured on their 1972 album Toulouse Street (and which had previously been recorded by the Byrds). Their 15-song set also included early hits and album tracks like “China Grove,” “Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me),” “Long Train Runnin’,” “Takin’ It to the Streets” and “Black Water,” before the band returned for an encore of “Without You” and “Listen to the Music.”

Watch the Doobie Brothers perform “Listen to the Music” at Classic West

Steely Dan took the middle slot on the show, opening their encore-less dozen-song set with “Bodhisattva,” from 1973’s Countdown to Ecstasy. Like the Doobies they packed their show with hits and radio staples such as “Aja,” “Hey Nineteen,”“Josie” and “My Old School,” as well as deeper album cuts. They left off with the ever-popular “Reelin’ in the Years” and, as noted above, “Kid Charlemagne.” Much of the set was drawn from the band’s Aja and Gaucho albums. Not performed, the classic “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number.”

Here are the set lists from the two opening bands. Tonight is part two of the extravaganza, this time featuring openers Earth, Wind and Fire, followed by Journey and then Fleetwood Mac. Best Classic Bands will, of course, provide a full report as soon as possible.

Steely Dan Set List
Bodhisattva
Black Cow
Hey Nineteen
Aja
Time Out of Mind
Green Earrings
Dirty Work
Babylon Sisters
Josie
My Old School
Reelin’ in the Years
Kid Charlemagne

Watch Steely Dan perform “Josie” at Classic West

The Doobie Brothers’ Patrick Simmons (R., with Tom Johnston) at Dodger Stadium, July 16, 2017, via The Classic Facebook page

Doobie Brothers Set List
Jesus Is Just Alright
Rockin’ Down the Highway
Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me)
Dark Eyed Cajun Woman
Spirit
Sweet Maxine
Eyes of Silver
Clear as the Driven Snow
Takin’ It to the Streets
The Doctor
Black Water
Long Train Runnin’
China Grove

Encore:
Without You
Listen to the Music

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Related: Our interview with the Doobie Brothers

Here’s “Kid Charlemagne” from Steely Dan’s Classic West set

And one more from the Doobies, “China Grove”

Best Classic Bands Staff

Best Classic Bands Staff

The BCB team brings you the latest Breaking News, Contests, On This Day rock history stories, Classic Videos, retro-Charts and more.
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