Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Steely Dan - Alive In America (1995)


Recorded in St. Petersburg FL, Irvine CA, Detroit, Chicago, Phoenix, and Charlotte NC, September 1993 and August-September 1994.

A lifeless live album. For those people, like myself, that discovered Steely Dan after they split in 1981, a tour and new album from a reunited Donald Fagen and Walter Becker was a definite cause for celebration. I tried to get tickets to see their show in Houston in '93, but something happened and those plans fell through. Even with an excellent backing band, the group offers nothing new here. It's just predictable live retreads of studio material with inexplicable, abrupt endings to each piece. C'mon, mix it up, guys! Curiously, the set includes Book Of Liars, a song from Becker's solo album, but doesn't include any of Fagen's (superior) solo work. The only people who should own this CD are die-hard Dan completists or people who saw the group live in '93 and '94 and want a souvenir. I don't really fit in either category.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #40 (Nov 4, 1995)

Acceptable: Babylon Sisters, Bodhisattva, and Peg (even though this song is hurt by the absence of Michael McDonald's tight vocal harmonies and Jay Graydon's guitar solo).
Don't translate well from studio to live: Reelin' In The Years, Kid Charlemagne (where's Larry Carlton when you need him?), and Aja (did they really think this was a good idea?)
Someone pass the defibrillator: Josie, Third World Man, and Sign In Stranger.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: Even though I would consider myself to be a Steely Dan fan, my memory of this disc is one of initial disappointment which, as we all know, usually means the CD quickly goes on the shelf and remains untouched for years.

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