Steely Dan at 3Arena: Everything you need to know

What will they play, how to get tickets, what time does it start and more for Steely Dan's Dublin concert on Thursday

Let's get the name out of the way first, shall we? It is rare enough that any band is named after a sexual appliance but (Scotland's Arab Strap aside) Steely Dan takes what you could safely describe as the big crispy biscuit. Cherry-picked from the 1959 novel Naked Lunch by Williams S Burroughs, the name comes from Steely Dan III from Yokohama, which is, as the novel has it, a large steam-powered strap-on dildo.

Steam-powered strap-on dildos aren't the first things that spring to mind when you hear the likes of Do it Again (okay, perhaps not the best example), Reelin' in the Years, Rikki Don't Lose that Number, Haitian Divorce, Deacon Blues and Hey Nineteen.

But this was the initial surprise of Steely Dan: the contrast between the name and the music couldn't have been more different. Instantly it seemed as if the core team of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen were attempting to blind-side the listener – no extreme noise terror for them but rather a decidedly off-trend blend of R&B, pop, jazz, wry, often oblique lyrics and some of the most impeccable studio production of the 1970s.

Becker and Fagen first met in 1967 while they were attending Bard College, a private liberal arts facility in New York State. By the early 1970s the friends were hired as staff songwriters for Los Angeles-based ABC Records. Problems quickly arose, however, when the label’s A&R office deemed Becker and Fagen’s songs too intricate for other ABC artists to cover.


By 1972 "the Dan" had released their debut album, Can't Buy a Thrill. The remainder of that decade was theirs for the taking, with five further albums (1973's Countdown to Ecstasy, 1974's Pretzel Logic, 1975's Katy Lied, 1976's The Royal Scam, and 1977's Aja) justifiably strengthening the perception of the group, but especially Becker and Fagen, as stubbornly unconventional and exceptionally melodic.

After the group split in 1981, it seemed as if Steely Dan's halcyon years were to be remembered only through the series of their unmatched 1970s output, but the duo surprised all and sundry by reforming for two further, perhaps suitably titled, records – 2000's Two Against Nature, and 2003's Everything Must Go.

With Fagen the sole flag bearer for the music (Becker died in 2017), expect a set list at the 3Arena that focuses on the acclaimed string of 1970s albums and a group of super-skilled musicians that can tell the difference between a paradiddle and a parachute, expect a seamless display of jazz-pop music.

The special guest is Steve Winwood, a former member of Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, and Blind Faith, one of the best white soul singers of the past 50 years.

What time does everything kick off?
Doors open at 6.30pm.

How do I get there?
Parking is available in the Point Village car park (you can book through Ticketmaster for €12) but better to leave the car at home and use the red-line Luas and get off at Point stop, or take Dublin Bus No. 151  to Castleforbes Road, the closest stop to the venue.

What about security?
Bags will be searched at the door. Bottles, cans, selfie sticks, large umbrellas, iPads and other tablets, video cameras, professional cameras, audio recorders, GoPros, large posters (A3 or bigger), large flags on poles, belt chains, laser pointers and anything that can be deemed a weapon are prohibited. So pack light to keep the wait in line as short as possible.

Are there any age restrictions?
U16s to be accompanied by a parent/guardian and the standing area is strictly over 14s. .

Accessible tickets
For special needs, please check the venue information page for details of facilities and companion tickets. Should you require further information please call the Special Needs Hotline: 0818-903001 (Republic of Ireland); 0333-3219996 (Northern Ireland & UK); 00353-818-903001 (International)

What songs are they likely to play?
Here is the set list from Steeley Dan's gig at Wembely Arena on Monday, February 25th:

  • Cubano Chant
  • Bodhisattva
  • Hey Nineteen
  • Black Friday
  • Pretzel Logic (with Steve Winwood)
  • Aja
  • Green Earrings
  • Black Cow
  • Time Out of Mind
  • Kid Charlemagne
  • Dirty Work
  • Peg
  • Babylon Sisters
  • Keep That Same Old Feeling
  • Josie
  • My Old School
  • Encore: Reelin' in the Years; A Man Ain't Supposed to Cry

Steely Dan, with special guest Steve Winwood, play 3Arena, Dublin, Thursday, February 28th, 6.30pm. Tickets from €89.50.