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Steely Dan - In Concert CD (album) cover


Steely Dan


Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.14 | 2 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars The American band Steely Dan released seven albums between 1972 and 1980, but quite soon they quitted touring, concentrating on the polished and sophisticated studio albums. Donald Fagen and Walter Becker reactivated the group in 1994 and released "Alive in America" next year. It was only in 2000 that a new studio album "Two Against Nature" saw the light of day. And on that same year they performed in New York, resulting in this 75-minute live album/DVD. My own relationship to SD is not a very strong one. I prefer a bunch of [relatively melodic] songs from their mid-to-late 70's albums and from "Gaucho", 1980. The comeback album I have never bothered to listen to.

The package has left musicians unnamed. Also the essence of the DVD itself is quite ripped-down: the concert just starts without any introductions, cameras concentrate on close-ups of the musicians, mostly on Donald Fagen since he's the vocalist. It goes on like this for a long time, no overviews of the band, the audience totally absent. It feels more like watching unoriginal, early music videos featuring just band playing. The picture quality is deliberately slightly unsharp.

Also, especially a couple of first songs, or actually each one (as many as 5) on the concert unfamiliar to me before, sound frankly quite boring. All based on a steady funk-ish beat. I'm not surprised to learn afterwards that they are from the then-new album. Amidst them are 70's songs, such as 'Bad Sneakers', 'Josie' and 'FM'. The performances are faultless and very faithful to the studio originals. Guitarist Walter Becker looks dead serious and joyless, and the large group, buried in anonymity as it seems at first, doesn't actually set the stage on fire either. Am I impressed? Surely not. I'd probably have better time with my self-compiled Steely Dan CD, reading a book simultaneously.

I felt a mild turn for the better in my reception, when Becker heartily introduces the group in the halfway. The song set (pretty average as a whole) at least features 'Babylon Sisters' and 'Kid Charlemagne', both on my SD fave list. And the three female backing vocalists are good looking. But this is one of those modest live DVD's that it's OK to see once but nothing more. I'm glad I only borrowed it from library.

Matti | 2/5 |


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