Michael McDonald

August 7, 2006
Chastain Park Amphitheatre
Atlanta, GA

Michael McDonald:

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From my diary:

"We got to Chastain Park just in time for me to photograph Michael McDonald's opening set. It was a soundboard shoot and I've never done that with the new camera (which has to be sent back yet again). Since it was daylight I was able to use the 2x and do alright. The humidity seemed to show up a bit as the images are ever-so-slightly hazy but they're usable. .

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Michael McDonald is not exactly thrilling live but I will say that this was the most entertaining he's been of the 3 times I've seen him now. He cut loose a bit, especially once he got into that pile 'o' Motown covers. The crowd ate it up and sang along. His big finale was (of course), "Takin' It To The Streets"."

Steely Dan:

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From my diary:

"Steely Dan is one of the best sounding bands in the world. They're pristine in fact. The problem is that there's no real spark or energy beyond the fact that they're performing the records in front of you. Their current drummer, Keith Carlock, is the exception. He's an amazing jazz style drummer that can tear up any other genre that gets in his way too. He's one of the best I've ever seen and watching and hearing him is always a pleasure.

The set list was typically frustrating for a passive fan. I love the Steely Dan songs that I love but the real fans love everything. I was glad to hear the best heroin-shooting song to ever grace the top 40 ("Time Out Of Mind") and the usual SD favorites ("Hey 19", "Kid Charlemagne", "Bodhisattva", "Deacon Blues", etc). I, personally, didn't need to hear the majority of Aja, although I was in the minority that held that opinion.

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The whole night I kept laughing at Donald Fagen's mannerisms and look. I think Ray Charles' body might need to be exhumed to make sure that he hasn't switched bodies with Donald Fagen. Maybe Fagen's actually in Charles' grave. Maybe Ray's just having some fun with everyone 'cause it almost seemed like he was up there doing a Donald Fagen imitation with Walter Becker and crew tonight. If you had Ray Charles and Donald Fagen side by side, it'd be hard to tell them apart at 20 feet or more. It was rather odd.

The highlight of the whole night was when Michael McDonald came back out to play some of the songs he did with Steely Dan back in the '70s. "Peg" was cool to hear with McDonald doing his trademarked "deep yelps". He also sang a verse of "Do It Again" ("just like we did it in 1974"). As the crowd was so dense, we decided to ditch at the main ending. We went and picked up my camera and heard the encore of "FM" as we walked by the school between the venue and the car."


All photos copyright Chris McKay /