Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Friday, October 30

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« Wicker Park Fest - Saturday in Review Giving the Suburban Music Scene a Shout at House of Blues »

Review Mon Jul 27 2015

Reelin' in the Years with Steely Dan at Ravinia

The cultural melange of the late 1960s contributed mightily to the history of rock music, producing out-size heroes and legends whose names we all recognize. But of the more durable acts is one whose longevity seems, on the face, somewhat surprising. Almost a month on from the pomp of the Grateful Dead's farewell blowout at Soldier Field, another odd artifact, Steely Dan, quietly sold out Ravinia's expansive grounds for a pair of concerts that served well to highlight other aspects of the 1960s and '70s music scene.

The creative engine of the group, the partnership between Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, was born when the two met at Bard College. After a stint in New York, the pair moved to LA, where work began on their debut album, Can't Buy A Thrill. With the success of that album, the Steely Dan partnership was cemented, and a unique sound was forged. Unlike many of their contemporaries, Steely Dan veered sharply away from the boogie based psychedelia and oft-indulgent noodling of other bands of similar vintage. In its place were multi┬Člayered melodies, intricate studio production, and hyper-literate, often inscrutable lyrics that wove seamy vignettes of '70s hustlers and hucksters. No pie-eyed longhairs twirling through these songs, but the weird guy in the corner at the party with the clench-jawed grin and leather jacket. It was a formula that worked well on record, and served the band as it transitioned to a purely studio act in the mid-'70s and released a string of successful records through 1980's Gaucho. The band was silent through the 1980s, but the '90s saw a trickle of new material and renewed focus on touring with top-notch pick up bands to back the band's core duo.

Saturday night's show at Ravinia seemed an appropriate for the band. Not necessarily known for on-stage pyrotechnics, it was a rock-solid revue of many of their major works throughout their career. The band turned in a consummately professional performance, with standout performances by drummer Keith Carlock and guitarist Jon Herington. Highlights of the classic-heavy set included spirited renditions of "Aja" and "Bhodisattva," and an interesting arrangement of "Show Biz Kids." The satisfied crowd of graying rockers shuffled to the lots, shuttles, and trains having enjoyed an act that has managed to stay vital and remain a touchstone to music's shared history.

GB store

Josh / July 27, 2015 9:31 AM

Not really fair to characterize the audience as a crowd of graying rockers. That was probably the most diverse crowd I've ever seen at Ravinia, across ages and races.

Zach / July 27, 2015 10:33 AM

^ I don't know about least in the pavilion, I could count the number of people younger than 40 on one hand. Maybe the lawn was more diverse.

Gary Berman / July 27, 2015 12:13 PM

Would have been much more enjoyable if walter hadn't taken 35 minutes to introduce the band

midik / July 27, 2015 3:08 PM

reeling in the dik

rikki don't lose that dik

black dik

kid diklamagne

C Lo / July 27, 2015 11:53 PM

What a garbage review. Go back to boys' town.

GB store

Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

GB store


Featured Series


Transmission on Flickr

Join the Transmission Flickr Pool.

About Transmission

Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Sarah Brooks,
Transmission staff inbox:



Transmission Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15