Calling Elvis

STEELY DAN: “Instrumental Overture” 1993 was the year Steely Dan became a touring band after a 20-year layoff. When they recorded their first album, Can’t Buy a Thrill, in 1972, leaders Donald Fagen and Walter Becker were surprised when their record company asked them to tour to support it. They were songwriters, not performers, and Fagen certainly didn’t see himself as a front man. The road provided no second takes, shoddy sound reinforcement and no particular allure for the band. But 1993 introduced a great band with a great sound able to project their great songs. Like the old Motown reviews, the backing band would come out and play ahead of the duo’s arrival on stage. All the nuance, dynamics, and deep colors of each song were performed flawlessly. This version of “Bad Sneakers” was not officially released and its inclusion would have enhanced the Dan’s surprisingly unimpressive Alive in America live album released in 1995. —John Stix

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