"Most if not all of it is Vintage" Steve Winwood, SPAC, Sunday, July 10th.
The classic rock guitar god blew the crowd away as he hammered through hits like 'Higher Love' and 'Gimmie Some :Love'. While Steely Dan did play for an impressive two hours, Steve Winwood clearly stole the show and gained much appreciation from the fans during his short but sweet set.
It was threatening rain all night at SPAC Sunday. However, the weather surprisingly held despite downpours nearby. The temperature was perfect as Steve Winwood graced the stage shortly after 7PM. The rocker didn't let age slow him down, he blew up the show with impressive piano and guitar work that awed everyone in the crowd. While Steely Dan was fun and performed a full set much longer than Winwood, they didn't have complete power like he did over the crowd. Both bands were great in their own ways, and concert goers were clearly renewed fans of both groups.
The 68 year old Steve Winwood jammed heavily on the piano as he gracefully played highlighting such songs like 'I'm a Man' and 'Pearly Queen'. Another highlight of the night was when he performed Blind Faith's song 'Can't Find My Way Home' earlier on his set. It was great seeing the legend on stage once again at SPAC, this time opening up for classic jazz group Steely Dan. The older crowd continuously stood up after each song and by the end, mostly everyone was dancing and grooving especially when he performed 'Higher Love'. Even though Steve Winwood's set was much shorter than Steely Dan's with just nine songs, he proved to be one of the best guitar and piano players in the business Sunday night. Of course, Winwood's voice is a perfect match for the music he plays. His vocals did not miss a beat throughout the set.
It was also great seeing Winwood at SPAC Sunday because not too long ago former traffic group member Dave Mason performed at SPAC. The venue received a heavy dosage of the band this past week on different occasions because both Mason and Winwood played the venue on their own time. By the end of Winwood's performance, everyone was grateful they were able to see a guitar legend like Winwood.
Shortly after 8:30 and a break in between groups, Steely Dan came on stage with their own impressive atmosphere. While Steely Dan's show wasn't perfect, mostly because of a lot of talking by Walter Becker, they still jazzed up the night. With a great band behind them, Walter Becker and Donald Fegan were able to play off great hits like 'Aja' and 'Reelin' In The Years'.
Like every jazz group, each musician in the new Steely Dan band was able to have their own spot. This was especially the case with the backup singers which included the highlight of the group, Carolyn Leonhart. The girls sang impressively when the two band leaders gave them free range on one of Steely Dan's earlier tunes 'Dirty Work'.
One of the negative things about Steely Dan's performance Sunday night was that Becker constantly chatted with the crowd. While communication with the crowd is always great as well as adding humor, Becker almost over does it. It was becoming an annoyance towards the end of the show, but despite this, his guitar work made up for that. It was obvious his heart was in a good place, as well as having lots of respect for his fellow musicians on stage. And that's what being in a jazz group is all about.
Even though the concert at SPAC Sunday night was a bit of a low key one with not many people in the audience as there was for Phish or Dead & Company, it was still a delight to see two classic rock groups together on stage. While their music was extremely different from each other, as well as the groups themselves, both Steve Winwood & Steely Dan gave the crowd great performances that they can remember.
Setlist for Steely Dan @ SPAC Sunday July 10
1) Black Cow
3) Hey Nineteen
4) Black Friday
5) The Caves of Altamira
6) Kid Charlemagne
7) Two Against Nature
8) Dirty Work
10) Daddy don't live in that New York City no more
12) I want to (Joe Tex cover)
15) My Old School
16) Reelin in the Years
1) I'm a Man (Spencer Davis group song)
2) Pearly Queen (Traffic Song)
3) At times we do forget
4) Can't find my way home (Blind Faith song)
5) Them Changes (Buddy Miles)
6) The Low spark of High Healed Boys (Traffic song)
7) Higher Love
8) Dear Mr. Fantasy (Traffic Song)
9) Gimmie Some Lovin (Spencer Davis Group)
9) Gimmie Some Lovin (Spencer Davis Group)