Five times I’ve seen the Dan — more than any other rock band. Old rockers know the Dan is Steely Dan, the jazz rock band formed by east coast natives Donald Fagen and Walter Becker in 1972. Guitarist, bassist, and co-writer Becker died Sept. 3. He was born Feb. 20, 1950.
The last time I saw Steely Dan was two summers ago at the new Ascend Amphitheatre in Nashville, Tennessee. Opening for the Walter Becker and Donald Fagan and the Steely Dan Band was Elvis Costello and the Imposters, second on my list of most-seen bands — what a treat. While legions of fans knew Fagen and Becker for their studio perfectionism — the duo took a 19-year break from touring that ended in 1993 — the shows I saw in Cincinnati, Ohio; Nashville, Tennessee; and Louisville, Kentucky, proved the band could bring it to the live stage just as they did the studio.
Dan Katz, television news anchor for 14 WFIE, is as much of a Steely Dan fan as my husband and I are. Katz, who has seen Steely Dan four times, says, “Steely Dan is the soundtrack of my life. I still listen to them on a regular basis, and they always put me in a better mood.”
Since Becker’s death, Fagan has vowed to keep the music they created together alive through the Steely Dan Band and the group embarked on a small tour. Fagan also is staying sharp with his solo band, the Nightflyers.
Becker died just weeks before the 40th anniversary of the band’s largest commercial triumph — the release of Aja, which sold more than a million copies.
From Aja, “Home at Last” written by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen:
Well the danger on the rocks is surely past
Still I remain tied to the mast
Could it be that I have found my home at last
Home at Last