While Steely Dan took more than a decade long hiatus beginning in 1981, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen initially decided to stop touring in 1974 and focus on recording. So when they reunited in the early-1990s and hit the road, nearly 20 years had elapsed since they performed live as Steely Dan.
The band launched its first tour in two decades on August 13, 1993 in Detroit. As always, Steely Dan featured a touring outfit of ace musicians including a horn section of Chris Potter and Cornelius Bumpus; vocalists Diane Garisto, Brenda White-King and Catherine Russell; drummer Peter Erskine; bassist Tom Barney; keyboardist Warren Bernhardt and vibraphonist Bill Ware III.
During a show at the famed Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California on September 12, 1993, Boz Scaggs also joined Steely Dan to perform “Black Friday” from Dan’s 1975 album Katy Lied to close out the first set. On this Black Friday, JamBase devotes Full Show Friday to video of the group’s visit to the Bay Area venue from their first tour back.
Steely Dan kicks thing off with an instrumental medley including “The Royal Scam,” “Bad Sneakers” and “Aja” with the first and last songs of the section being the title tracks from Steely Dan’s 1976 and 1977 albums respectively. The first set would also include favorites like “Bodhisattva,” “Josie,” “Hey Nineteen” as well as deeper tracks like Aja’s “Home At Last,” which was inspired by The Odyssey.
While on hiatus, Fagen and Becker continued to write and record and they would play a number of songs from their solo time including Fagen’s “I.G.Y. (What a Beautiful World)” from his 1982 platinum album The Nightfly and “Green Flower Street” as well as Becker’s “Book Of Liars.”
Scaggs joined Dan for “Black Friday” to close out the first set. Lyrically, one of Fagen and Becker’s strengths as a writing duo was their ability to create interesting characters often around historical events. In a way, they were masters of historical fiction.
Before the Friday after Thanksgiving gained the moniker Black Friday, the term referred to a 19th-century scheme involving the stockpiling of gold that left a number of investors broke. The song also references the 1929 stock market crash that led to the Great Depression, referred to as Black Tuesday, when a number of stockbrokers sadly jumped to their death. Interestingly, Dan performed “Black Friday” with Boz Scaggs at Shoreline a little over a week before the anniversary of the original Black Friday, which took place on September 24, 1869.
The second set got underway with the instrumental “Tuzz’s Shadow” and contained classics like “Deacon Blues,” “Babylon Sisters,” “Reelin’ In The Years” and “Peg” as well as solo material in Fagen’s “Tomorrow’s Girl,” “Countermoon,” and “Tea House On The Tracks” along with Becker’s “The Fall Of 92.” The concert would close out with the classics “My Old School” and “FM (No Static At All).” Check out pro-shot video of the entire show below:
[Originally Published: November 29, 2019]