10 Years and 180 Degrees Later…

It’s funny how certain events can impact your life on many different levels.  A moment can be memorable for a specific reason at the time of occurrence, and later turn out to be a pivotal event in ways you never dreamed possible.  Confused?  I don’t blame you.

Let me explain:

I have long been a fan of the group Steely Dan and their music.  They always pushed the boundaries of musical styles with their esoteric concepts and random literary references in their lyrics. The quality of their studio musicians and recording techniques was always second to none. In short, they excelled at what they did, and that was a major factor in attracting my ears.  Fortunately, my son Chris also developed a discerning musical ear as he grew up, and became an ardent fan of Steely Dan, as well as many other bands across various styles.

Two Against Nature cover Steely Dan

In 2000, Steely Dan began touring in support of “Two Against Nature”, their first studio album in 20 years. Needless to say, we were ecstatic to hear of the tour, as this would be a chance to finally hear these incredible musicians in a live setting for the first time.  So I waited patiently for the tickets to go on sale, paid the ridiculous Ticketmaster blackmail fees, and secured two tickets to see “the Dan” at DTE Energy Music Theater (formerly known as Pine Knob.)

So, on June 25, 2000, a thirteen year old Chris and I made the pilgrimage up I-75 to Clarkston, MI for an amazing show – the first “real” concert experience for Chris.  We had pretty good pavilion seats in the center section about halfway back to the lawn area.  We checked out the stage setup through our binoculars before the show, as well as the sound and lighting boards located a few rows over from us.  Steely Dan Orchestra 2000Donald and Walter had assembled an A-list ensemble of players and breezed through a broad selection of their tunes – from the classics of the 70s to material from their most current release. One of the big highlights for Chris and I, was the extended drum solo by Dennis Chambers during the tune “Josie”.  It was an amazing display of both sheer physical endurance and a finely-tuned musical sensibility. We were both in awe.

When the show was over, we slowly shuffled our way out of the venue, reflecting on the amazing performances and sonic feast we had just consumed.  In fact, I think we kept the car stereo silent all the way home, out of reverence for what we had been witness to that evening.  I remember looking over at Chris as he was falling asleep on the two hour drive home, and thinking how lucky I was to have shared an amazing musical experience with him at DTE.  Little did I know, ten years (to the week) later, we would both be back at DTE sharing another amazing experience together, in a way neither of us could have imagined on that night.

Part II of the story.