Steely Dan Back to the Road Without Walter Becker

Early last month, Steely Dan co-founder Walter Becker passed away at age 67. In a statement shared after Becker’s death, Fagen mentioned he would keep the project going “as long as I can.” The first Steely Dan tour following Walter’s passing began on Thursday night in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Steely Dan is going at it as a 12-piece and, at least for now, has not replaced Walter Becker. Guitarist Jon Herington is the group’s sole guitarist. The band opened the show in Tulsa with an instrumental dubbed “Fan it, Janet” with Fagen walking on stage to lead the group through “Black Cow.” Up next was “Aja” followed by “Hey Nineteen.’ Walter had used “Hey Nineteen” as a vehicle to banter with the audience and the band decided to go with a version similar to the studio recording rather than have another member chat up the crowd.

One of the first big surprises of the tour opener was the inclusion of Fagen’s solo cut “New Frontier.” Steely Dan purportedly last performed the song from Donald’s 1982 solo debut album The Nightfly back on July 20, 2013 as per Setlist.FM. Later in the set, Steely Dan dusted off “Book Of Liars” from Walter Becker’s 1994 solo debut album 11 Tracks Of Whack. Fagen sang his old friend’s tune as a photo montage of Walter was displayed. The Dan hadn’t performed “Book Of Liars” since October 22, 1995 according to Setlist.FM’s stats.

Thursday’s concert at River Spirit Casino in Tulsa rolled on with one hit after another including “Black Friday,” “Dirty Work,” “Home At Last,” “Bodhisattva,” “Josie,” “Peg,” “My Old School” and “Reelin’ In The Years.” Steely Dan’s backing vocalists, the Danettes, handled lead vocals on “Dirty Work.” The band then said farewell with a “Kid Charlemagne” encore with Donald leaving the stage as the theme from The Untouchables played. Steely Dan performed a similar collection of songs the next night in Thackerville, Oklahoma. 

Here's a fan-shot video of the song "Peg"

Mike Steele

Mike Steele

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