When Donald Fagen and Walter Becker re-formed Steely Dan in 1994, they didn't put out a new album. They undertook a tour of sports arenas, their first tour since the days of Countdown to Ecstasy. Since Steely Dan became stars after they retired from performing, many of their dedicated fans never got a chance to see the group in concert. Given those circumstances, maybe the uniformly positive reviews of the tour were predictable. But as Alive in America proves, the shows weren't earth-shaking. Certainly they were fun -- there's no denying it's a thrill to hear these songs in a live setting, both for fans and for Becker and Fagen themselves -- but essentially they were exercises in nostalgia. Alive in America is enjoyable, but it offers no new insight into Steely Dan as performers, or Becker and Fagen as songwriters. It's a gas while it lasts, but it doesn't leave any lasting memories.
|Label:||Giant Records / Wea|
Performance CreditsSteely Dan Primary Artist
Donald Fagen Vocals,Melodica
Warren Bernhardt Piano
Peter Erskine Drums
Bob Sheppard Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Cornelius Bumpus Tenor Saxophone
Dennis Chambers Drums
Bill Ware Percussion,Vibes
Walter Becker Guitar,Vocals
Tom Barney Bass Guitar
Diane Garisto Background Vocals
Brenda White-King Background Vocals
Chris Potter Alto Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Catherine Russell Percussion,Background Vocals,Human Whistle
Drew Zingg Guitar
Georg "Jojje" Wadenius Guitar
Technical CreditsDonald Fagen Producer
Warren Bernhardt Director
Roger Nichols Engineer
Drew Zingg Director
Phil Burnett Engineer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Alive in America based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
The only possible complaint about this disc is that it simply does not contain enough songs. Granted, when you have a library of music that encompasses around 100 songs it is difficult to include everything. But, as a huge SD fan, of course I would love a live CD with all my favorites (and that is pretty much all of it). The recordings are not mixed perfectly, but the sound is crisp and clear. I recently saw the boys live and the concert was LOUD! I guess there is no way to box that live sound that hits you in the chest and makes you actually feel the music. Still, a great album nonetheless, with a great mix of their catalog from the seventies. Definitely a perfect 5 out of 5.
I've seen Steely Dan in concert and can attest to their strengths in a live setting. This album grew on me over the years. The final track, Aja, in particular, is amazing to listen to.
The official reviewer must be constipated. Fagen, Becker & Company are awesome live performers and pioneers of their era. In fact, I prefer their live performances (and nuances therein) over their original recordings. Their arrival on the pop music scene in the 70's provided a wonderful and expansive addition to the repertoire of rock music.