The Dukes of September supergroup is a crowd-pleaser
CMAC – August 11, 2012
By Michelle Picardo
An excited crowd at CMAC was not let down by the supergroup trio of Donald Fagen, Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs as their latest successful endeavor, The Dukes of September treated the audience to an interesting mix of hits from their respective bands and favorite tunes made famous by other artists.
If you didn’t read your ticket and notice the line below “The Dukes of September” moniker you would still have figured out that this was a “Rhythm Revue” and not a Steely/Doobies/Boz Greatest Hits show. Featuring a band of top-notch rhythm players, an energetic horn section and a couple soulful female vocalists, the three stars were ably backed. With Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen acting as the evening’s emcee, he introduced his compatriots throughout the show, including Doobie Brothers’ Michael “White Lightening” McDonald, who roused the audience with spot-on versions of “I Keep Forgettin,” “What a Fool Believes” and “Takin’ it To the Streets.” The first Steely Dan track came about five songs in (a little too long for some) in the guise of “Kid Charlemagne” and ignited the crowd.
Tunes by the likes of Buck Owens, Willie Dixon and Chuck Berry kept things fresh while back-up singer, Catherine Russell tore through Janis Joplin’s classic “Piece of My Heart.” While Russell and Carolyn Leonhart were more than capable of busting out the soulful pipes, perhaps the show relied too much on them while the three superstars on stage were doling out their hits in a pretty selective and sparing fashion. Alas, again, this was a revue and thus must be appreciated as such. That said, when Boz Scaggs finally got around to “Lowdown” and “Lido Shuffle,” everyone was on their feet and thrilled to hear these hits. Fagen kept his end of the bargain with a few more Steely Dan tracks including “Hey Nineteen,” “Reelin’ in the Years” and “Peg.”
All in all, when you have stellar musicians with pedigrees like Fagen, McDonald and Scaggs, you’ll pretty much appreciate whatever these three Dukes decide to play! And the audience at CMAC certainly did.