Michael McDonald, Boz Scaggs, and Donald Fagen close down the State Fair
RECAP BY STEVE COHEN AND GENNA DEPREY
PHOTOS BY STEVE COHEN
The Minnesota State Fair concert season ended with a bang this year. The 2010 Grandstand hosted many of rock's greatest from Rush to Weird Al Yankovic to KISS. Monday night's fair season finale with the Dukes of September was was a night to remember. Donald Fagen (Steely Dan), Michael McDonald (The Doobie Brothers) and Boz Scaggs led this rock, soul, and blues supergroup. With rain falling steadily even as the crowd entered the Grandstand, it seemed unclear whether there would be a show at all. Most of the concertgoers sought shelter in bathroom hallways, wet and cold, but hopeful. Finally the rain subsided after a 40 minute delay and the show was back on.
Opening the show to the instrumental strains of Don Covay's little known 1965 hit "Sookie Sookie," the three Dukes arrived on stage and shared vocals on Lee Michaels' 1969 hit "Heighty Hi," setting the tone for the cover-filled evening.
While many folks came to hear more of the Dukes' individual career hits, their revue-style cover choices were inspired and eclectic. Boz Scaggs' lead vocal on Teddy Pendergrass' "Love TKO" was not only surprising, but great. Mike McDonald's soulful renditions of Ray Charles' "I've Got News For You" and the Band's "The Shape I'm In" were equally outstanding. Donald Fagen kept his covers to mostly hippie-era rock bands with The Grateful Dead's "Shakedown Street" and the Band's "King Harvest."
The principals dipped into their own back catalogs for a selection of hits more familiar to the audience. Fagen sang his 1982 solo hit "I.G.Y." and Steely Dan's rock radio classic "Reelin' In The Years." Scaggs played his monster 1976 hit "Lowdown" and McDonald brought perhaps the most nostalgia with the Doobie Brothers' "Takin' It To The Streets" (a duet with backup singer Cat Russell), "What A Fool Believes," as well as his 1982 solo hit "I Keep Forgettin'."
While backup singers Catherine Russell and Carolyn Leonhart were talented, having each of them sing a lead vocal took away from the actual Dukes of September leads we wanted to hear.
While it would have been enjoyable hearing McDonald sing backup on on any of the Steely Dan songs he'd contributed to (e.g. "Home At Last," "I Got The News," "Bad Sneakers," "Peg"), that wasn't going to happen. The rain delay's sacrifice of three songs ("Love Train"/The O'Jays, "Something In The Air"/Thunderclap Newman and "Help Me Rhonda"/Beach Boys) was a minor one, as we got 22 other greats in an eclectic mixture of rock and soul nuggets as well as 1970's and 80's hits.
Sookie Sookie [Don Covay] (1965)
Heighty Hi [Lee Michaels] (1969)
Don't Mess Up a Good Thing [Fontella Bass & Bobby McGuire] (1965)
Shakedown Street [Grateful Dead] (1978)
You Never Can Tell [Chuck Berry] (1964)
I Got News for You [Ray Charles] (1961)
Green Flower Street [Donald Fagen] (1982)
Miss Sun [Boz Scaggs] (1981)
I Keep Forgettin' [Michael McDonald] (1982)
Rock Steady [Aretha Franklin](1971) k
King Harvest [The Band] (1969)
Rag Mama Rag [The Band] (1969)
The Shape I'm In [The Band] (1970)
Love TKO [Teddy Pendergerass] (1980)
I Love the Life I Live [Muddy Waters] (1957)
Cadillac Walk [Mink Deville] (1977)
What a Fool Believes [Doobie Brothers] (1978)
I.G.Y. [Donald Fagen] (1982)
Lowdown [Boz Scaggs] (1976)
Takin It to the Streets [Doobie Brothers] (1976)
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