Day 615: Voices

As I voiced in yesterday’s post, my son Aaron and I had tickets to see Steely Dan in concert last night.

Rather than just using Wikipedia’s voice to explain who Steely Dan is, for this post I’m choosing the voices at Steely Dan’s Facebook page.

Here’s what I just found, there:


Here’s something else I found there, much to my surprise. Somebody voicing this, about the concert:

save your money and buy a cd or dvd. they show up over a half hour late in sweltering weather, don’t do all their hits, fagan off key, songs overpowered by horns and drums, no driving rhythm, walter becker not featured much at all. waste of time.and money, had to sit behind some 40ish losers that spent the whole concert dancing and clapping. i remember steely dan from college. shadow of their former selves. 5 thumbs down

I’m surprised by that person’s voice, because:

  1. I don’t usually read negative reactions to Steely Dan’s impeccably musical performances.
  2. That negative opinion was posted weeks before the concert we saw last night.
  3. I’m wondering who, in the world,  has 5 thumbs.

Now, I COULD have voiced some opinions like that about last night’s concert, because some “facts” of that review are correct, as follows:

#1. Steely Dan started late.  

My guesses about that last night, which I voiced to Aaron, included:

  • An opening act always delays the headliners. Because they were a jazz combo, Bobby Broom and the Organi-sation did not include any singing voices, but their instrumental voicings — playing standards like Superstition and The House of the Rising Son — were extremely enjoyable. Here’s a photo I snapped, while Bobby Broom, etc. were playing, before Steely Dan appeared:


  • An amazing rainstorm — with loud, booming voices of thunder —  passed through the Boston area, just as Aaron and I prepared to leave for the concert, and I voiced my opinion that the storm might delay the start of the concert. It certainly delayed our leaving and freaked out several inhabitants of our home. I tried to capture the strength of the storm and the reactions of one of our cats, but I wasn’t very successful:

IMG_8787 IMG_8802

#2. The weather was sweltering.

It was pretty hot, at first, at the outdoor venue last night. However, the thunderstorm cooled things down, a little, inside the Bank of Blue Hills Pavillion (which has gone through several name changes, in my lifetime). So I was comfortable enough to sing along and otherwise voice how happy I was.

#3. They didn’t do all their hits.

Well, of course they didn’t!  If Steely Dan had played all their hits, I probably wouldn’t have been able to publish this post until tomorrow!  What I’m trying to give voice to, here, is this: Steely Dan have had so many hits and so many great songs over their long career, that last night’s concert would have been too long for me (instead of too short, for that five-thumbed reviewer on their Facebook page) if they had played them all.

Although, come to think of it, the musicianship — including the backup voices — were all so great last night, I might have been thrilled to hear everything, instead of just these songs:

  1. Aja
  2. Hey Nineteen
  3. Black Friday
  4. RIkki Don’t Lose That Number
  5. Show Biz Kids
  6. Time Out of Mind
  7. Green Earrings
  8. Razor Boy
  9. Bodhisattva
  10. Daddy Don’t Live in that New York City No More
  11. Babylon Sisters
  12. a non-Steely Dan blues number, which I had trouble recognizing (damn!) during  which Walter Becker voiced one of his incomparable monologues (which Aaron enjoyed, very much) as he described a dream involving jungle animals and cars, which led into an introduction of all the band members, including the back-up vocalists).
  13. Josie
  14. Peg
  15. My Old School
  16. Reeling in the Years
  17. Kid Charlemagne (encore)

4. I sat directly behind somebody who kept standing up and dancing.


And while I wouldn’t have used the same judgmental language our anonymous reviewer from Facebook voiced, above, I did get annoyed by this, at points throughout the concert.

How did I let go of that annoyance last night, so I could enjoy myself?

  • I voiced my annoyance to Aaron. This included pretending I was going to throw an empty cup of lemonade at that Babylon Sister (whose name might have been Rikki, Peg, or Josie, for all I know) after she stood up for the more than Nineteenth time.
  • I bonded with another sister, sitting directly in back of me, who voiced this quick, positive response to what I said to her: “They always sit directly in front of me!” (which, by the way, includes the cognitive distortions of all-or-nothing thinking and over-generalization). The happy-looking woman, in back of me, replied, “Better THAT than having to be with her!”
  • When Rikki/Peg/Josie/Whatever-her-name-was turned around and looked at the crowd, I demonstrated my displeasure, as best I could, by making faces at her.
  • I decided to embrace and accept what I could not control by taking photos of her, including the one shown above and these, too:

IMG_8826 IMG_8827 IMG_8828 IMG_8829 IMG_8830

As you can see, her male companion (whose name I can’t speculate about, since Steely Dan didn’t sing any songs with guy’s names, last night) (and who didn’t look old enough to be her Daddy From New York City) joined her, near the end of my photo-taking session.

I need to voice this, though:  I joined in with them, soon after that, as we all stood and danced, for the last few numbers.

Let’s see, are there any other points, from the Five-Thumbed Review, above, that I want to challenge?

I guess not.

To sum  up, Aaron, I, and many, many, many other people last night, in the Blue Hills Bank Pavillion, enjoyed a great Steely Dan concert, last night. Was it perfect? No. Is this review perfect?  No.

Is it all good enough?  What do you think?

So, is it time for me to end this post?

Not quite.

I decided yesterday that I would do something here, today, much scarier — to me — than a raging thunderstorm.

I started that process yesterday, soon after I returned home from meeting an old friend at the coffee house of a local library:



… which reminded me of my trip, earlier this year, to Boquete, Panama (see here, here, here, here, here, here, and here).

If you were to give voice to the suspicion, right now, that I’m stalling, you would be correct.

Here’s what I decided to do, yesterday. In order to move forward towards my goal of singing at an Open Mic, I posted a YouTube video of my playing and singing Pretzel Logicsoon after I returned home from the library.

Now, I could voice some excuses (managing expectations) for what you are about to hear (and I could also post more videos in this post, to make this more invisible on WordPress) … but WTF!!!

(you can find that video here, if you really want to)

I just hope no five-thumbed reviewers hear that voice of mine. (But if they do?  So What?!)

Thanks to Steely Dan and all the other excellent musicians and singers we saw and heard last night, to reviewers everywhere (no matter how many thumbs they have), to everybody else who had a voice in creating today’s post, and to you — of course! — for expressing your voice however you choose, here and now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, quiz, taking a risk | Tags: | 25 Comments

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25 thoughts on “Day 615: Voices

  1. yeoldefoole

    I will if you will!

  2. Sounds like you had a great evening with your son and that was quite a post ths morning.

    A couple of years ago, I came to the realization that performers cannot be stellar every night they hit the stage….they are human, get colds, tired, and just have “off” nights.

    I mentioned that I’ll be seeing Steve Forbert on Thursday evening. I saw him for the first time in 1980 and have probably attended 30 or so shows. One, two years ago was very disapointing and I thought he was just getting old and losing his passion and decided I wouldn’t bother to see him again…I even blogged about it.

    Last year, the next time he came through the area, I gave in and went with a friend…and it was the absolute best show I ever saw Steve perform…go figure.

    I’ll report back after Thursday…

    • You make some really important points here.

      Nobody is perfect, including celebrities! Plus, we do get disappointed in others and sometimes give up on them.

      I guess these are all aspects of being human.

      I look forward to your report (as I always look forward to your comments).

  3. Five thumbs up on your performance!

  4. I’m glad you were able to have fun and enjoy yourself despite all of the things that didn’t go right, the delayed start and all of the other annoyances listed that you encountered.
    And I don’t know what the original song sounds like – but your version sounds ready for Open Mic Night! 🙂

  5. Wow. Pretty good! And love the choice of the tune!

  6. Most important things first, Ann. You sound quite good. You are ready for open mike night, most certainly. Sing with confidence, my friend, no hesitation. You can accompany yourself on piano, too. Nice work! And on a tough song, yet. Wow. I bow.

    Less important things, and I didn’t think I’d say that about a Steely Dan concert … of course they can’t do all their hits because of time constraints and energy limits. That Facebook poster was way off on that one. The dancers in his (and your) way, though … Here’s Bialczak’s rule, written more than once in the Syracuse daily. Everybody is allowed one song to stand and dance and be in the way out of sheer love and enthusiasm. That’s just being considerate. And then the flip should switch, and the rule of majority should take over. If most of the people are standing and dancing, those sitting are out of luck and should remain mum and enjoy it the best they can. If most of the people are sitting, though, they should have the right to politely ask and expect the standers/dancers to sit down after that one song of enthusiasm. And ask ushers to enforce the rule of majority if needed. The concert world would be a less stressful place if this caught on, no?

    Your concert set lists looks wonderful. I’m glad Aaron enjoyed Walter’s dialogue!

    Great post, my friend.

    Now you go sing, sing, sing!

    • I loved loved loved every word of this comment, Mark. Thank you for your appreciation, rules, and assignments!

      • Me and my darn tendency toward assignments, Ann, when the heartfelt intention is more toward, ah, the hint of suggestion.

      • No need for concern about how you give voice to your intentions, Mark. Your heart comes through, loud and clear.

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  8. You’re so brave, I would never dare do that. I used to dread parties in case I got the forfeit ‘to sing in one corner’. Well done!

    • I won’t argue with you, Hilary; that did feel quite brave. I get nervous about singing (even though I love it so). Thanks for your encouragement!

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