The Dukes of September, comprised of of Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen, the most famous Doobie Brother (Michael McDonald) and famed session guitarist and singer-songwriter Boz Scaggs, brought their rhythm revue show to the Paramount Theatre in Denver on Tuesday.
The group covered a wide array of artists from Chuck Berry to the Lovin’ Spoonful, Sly Stone to Ray Charles.
Fagen, who acted as the MC for the evening, drew chuckles from the audience when he would introduce a song as, “You remember that great Janis Joplin song, ‘Piece Of My Heart?’ Well, we’re not going to play that.”
They would, however, play an obscure arrangement of the song by Aretha Franklin’s older sister, Erma.
Fagen, with his Muppet-like gyrations, brought the audience to its feet on four Steely Dan songs. He delivered with the help of Scaggs and session guitarist Jon Herington to reproduce the flawless sounds of “Kid Charlemagne,” “Hey 19,” “Reelin’ In the Years” and “Peg.”
Silver baritone McDonald brought the house down with the Doobies’ 1979 hit “What a Fool Believes,” and Scaggs played his biggest single hit, “Lowdown.”
It was a perfect balance of a show with that kind of star power. Heavy on Steely Dan songs, just enough Michael McDonald, though maybe Scaggs could have delivered one for the road with some “Lido Shuffle.”
Evan Semón is a Denver freelance writer and photographer and regular contributor to Reverb. See more of his work.