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Old Men Rockin’ Out – The Dukes of September Rhythm

I started out my advertising career in college promoting concerts; doing low budget ad campaigns for bands that ranged from Molly Hatchett to The Dead Kennedys to The Beach Boys. One of the greatest perks of the job were the free concert tickets, which helped establish my life-long love of live performance.

And of course since we love to see the bands we grew up with, that means I go to a lot of concerts that feature, what I like to delicately call, classic rock.  While I am guessing I would probably really enjoy a Lady Gaga or Kanye concert, I have instead chosen to listen to the musical stylings of groups like Steely Dan, Sting, Elton John,  Bruce Springsteen, and other performers that were at their prime a decade before Beyonce was born.  I have no interest in a mosh pit anymore; instead I like to spread a blanket out on the lawn at good winery and listen to the kind of artists that don’t mind if their crowd is buzzed on fairly earthy Pinot.

A few years ago I realized just how fast we and music age, and how the times had changed.  I was attending a Neil Young concert at the Schnitz in downtown Portland.  At one point I went into the men’s room.  In my early days at concerts the men’s room could be a better party than the concert; joints and a variety of other drugs freely passed around.    But a Neil Young concert now is a different scene; ancient, pudgy,gray haired rock fans whose drugs of choice have switched from pot and coke to Enablex and Viagra.  Fat 70 year old bald guys with inexplicable gray ponytails wearing thick frameless granny glasses,  clad in ancient skin tight Zeppelin t-shirts. Ah. but I kid my middle-aged brethren….

This week we were in Santa Barbara for the holidays, and I was excited to attend my first concert at The Santa Barbara Bowl.  This is an incredible outdoor venue on the outskirts of the town (where they also serve several fairly outstanding Central Coast wines). On Tuesday night the Bowl sold out for “The Dukes of September Rhythm”, a new band that features old pros Donald Fagen. Michael McDonald, and Boz Skaggs.

“Boz Skaggs is still alive”, my nephew said incredulously when I told him we were going to the concert.  Yes he is, and he still sounds great doing Lido Shuffle.

In any case…..a great concert I would recommend to anyone old enough to remember when Linda Ronstadt was skinny, hot, young, and the most popular peformer in the world.  The  “Dukes” have an incredible big band, and they did many of their respective greatest hits, plus a full range of R&B and rock favorites.  Donald Fagen was especially impressive, sounding much the same he did in 1977 as half of Steely Dan.  The Dukes are touring for the rest of the summer.  Here is a tour schedule:  http://www.ticketmaster.com/Dukes-of-September-tickets/artist/1456324




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