Two years after their previous tour, singer-songwriters Donald Fagen, Michael McDonald, and Boz Scaggs are on the road again playing each other’s hits and classic covers as The Dukes of September Rhythm Revue.
This super group put on a fabulous two-hour non-stop set in Toronto on Sunday night at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre with Fagen leading the show as part emcee introducing songs and providing insight on the original artists and cover materials. The evening could have continued on longer without any complaints as the band pushed out melody after melody of timeless music. The predominantly over-40 crowd was definitely energized from the opening note until the final chord was struck.
Formed in 2010, the group’s concept is simple – to simply show great musicianship, give the audiences a wide range of song materials of past hits from their careers and mix in an array of classic hits from other artists to create a beautiful night that was literally music to the audience’s ears.
The presence of the three music icons together was special as each belted out tunes from an extensive catalogue of rock, R&B, blues, old funk, and jazz. It certainly brought back a lot of great music memories for me as a child. But I wasn’t the only one as the songs definitely connected with those in attendance with such popular songs as Gladys Knight and the Pips’ version of Heard It Through the Grapevine, Hey 19 by Steely Dan and a pair of renditions of Doobie Brothers hits What a Fool Believes and Takin’ It to the Streets.
Other favourites included another Steely Dan tune – one of five in the show – Reelin’ in the Years, Scaggs’ Lowdown and of course the smooth sound of the soul anthem Love TKO originally recorded by Teddy Pendergrass.
The band’s harmonies were perfectly executed with the back up members each having their well-deserved time in the limelight in the form of solos mixed in throughout the set. Guitarist Jon Herington stood out as he performed exceptionally well with all the guitar solos while Catherine Russell and Carolyn Escoffery on vocals stunned the crowd with their soulful voices.
All in all, it was great musical journey that combined refreshingly new renditions and traditional versions of classic songs. For me, and I’m sure many others that night, it brought forth a feeling of nostalgia and took me back to another time filled with great memories.